Talking about Turkeys

  • November 21, 2013
  • Tera Rowland

thanksgiving-slp-activityTurkeys are a symbol of Thanksgiving in the United States and children are well aware of this. Rather than focus on the meal, it can be fun to think outside of the box when incorporating turkeys into speech and language planning.




A Bounty of Turkey Books

There are many wonderful picture books for Thanksgiving that feature turkeys. Some popular ones that will work well for generating some holiday lessons include:

  • Run, Turkey, Run – by Diane Mayr
  • A Plump and Perky Turkey – by Teresa Bateman
  • 10 Fat Turkeys – by Tony Johnston
  • The Great Turkey Race – by Steve Metzger
  • Turkey Trouble – by Wendi Silvano

Each of these could be used to brainstorm with children about holiday vocabulary. After a book walk, you can predict what will happen next. Allow children to take turns telling the story before they read it by simply looking at the illustrations. For older children, have a bag of vocabulary that goes with the page and make them randomly select them to include in their story telling time.  No matter how you do this, the stories are fun and will be a great way to try something a bit different.

Making Turkey Disguises Together

When reading about Thanksgiving, children may be upset and want to try to save the turkey from becoming part of the holiday feast. A fun way to incorporate this is to make disguises for turkeys. This hands-on crafting approach will allow for time to talk through steps, model what they are doing, and explaining their costume when finished. Begin by providing each child with the outline of a turkey to disguise. In the center of the table, have a large bin filled with different items for them to use like construction paper, wrapping paper, beads, sequins, tissue paper, stickers, and more. A great example of supplies and projects made is included on The Polka Dot Pencil Studio.

Take Home Project and Reveal

If time does not allow for you to make turkey disguises within your sessions, send home a small project to do at home. Include instructions for families to read. Be sure that they are clear and include translations for multilingual families that may need this. Give a brief introduction about the purpose of this craft. They will be helping their children to disguise/make a costume for their turkey so others will not recognize it before Thanksgiving. Provide a turkey outline and remind them that they may color them, add clothing to the turkey, or make anything else that would make it tricky to recognize this member of the feast. Assign a date for the creations to come back in and when they arrive begin with introductions of the guests and allow the children to tell their story and why they picked this disguise.

Some examples of this project are shared by Finally in First.

And last but not least, don’t forget to take this opportunity as a speech language pathologist to teach the art of appreciation during the Thanksgiving season.

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