Nature Craft for Toddlers/Preschooler: Turkeys



Nov 18, 2022

A perfect nature craft leading up to Thanksgiving is a Turkey made from autumn leaves! There is no wrong way to make this turkey and it can be decorated with an assortment of colors found in peak autumn. 

toddler arts and craft nature turkey

My 2 and 4 year old loved this project, and the best part was finding the leaves. We started this project by scoping out the yard for the best colorful leaves. I gave each of them a bucket and told them to fill their buckets with the prettiest of the leaves so we could make our nature turkeys. 

You can make just one turkey or challenge them to make a couple of different ones with different colors. Make sure to make one yourself! Part of the fun of arts and crafts for young kids is learning to be independent while you work on your own craft.   

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Items You Will Need To Make A Nature Turkey With A Toddler, Preschooler or Kindergartener

How To Create A Nature Turkey With A Toddler, Preschooler or Kindergartener

1. Collect colorful leaves

This nature arts and craft turkey is made of leaves! The more colors you have the better, so think yellow, green, red, orange and even brown. 

If you are lucky enough to have a splurge of colors around your house then great! If you don’t have enough colors or leaves perhaps a hike with your toddler or preschooler should be the first step of this project. 

Thanksgiving Craft for Kids using leaves
Colorful Leaves for Turkey Nature Craft

You will need about 10 colorful leaves. Maple leaves come in many colors and look great but also some leaves from a beech, cherry or oak tree for their elliptic or oblong shapes. Overall try to find colorful leaves in different shapes and sizes if possible. You can also cut leaves if needed to get the right shape.

2. Flatten the leaves and de-stem 

The leaves will be easier to work with if flattened. Find a heavy textbook and place the leaves in the pages. Close the book and put another heavy book on top. Wait an hour or longer and your leaves will be easier to work with.

thanksgiving craft for toddlers turkeys
Flattening the leaves

Your toddler, preschooler or kindergartener might be impatient, but this step is worth it!

Once the leaves are flat you will want to remove the stems of the leaf. A stem-less leaf is easier to handle when constructing the turkey.

3. Assemble your turkey

For younger kids, under 5, I would suggest constructing the turkey on a piece of paper. This gives them a base to start gluing the turkey’s feathers (aka leaves).

I helped construct the turkey without gluing first for both my 2 and 4 year old. Once they saw how it should look we took off the leaves and they started to glue the leaves that will be the feathers in the back. 

Toddler Arts and Crafts Thanksgiving Turkeys
Gluing on the Leaves

Once the back layer was glued on I helped them add the layers. For my 2 year old I would put the liquid glue on the back of a leaf and he would place it on the paper. My 4 year old was able to do it with a glue stick on his own.

For the body we found a smaller red oblong shaped leaf. We placed two on the green maple leaf.

If not using a construction paper for background you can use bigger maple leaves behind the body of the turkey and start gluing your leaves to the back of that to start. 

thanksgiving turkey craft for kids
Turkey with no paper background

4. Cut the turkey’s peak

Use a yellow leaf and cut to make a triangle. We used an edge of a yellow maple leaf. Glue this down on the bottom of the top body leaf. 

In our case the body was a red oblong shaped leaf. The yellow triangle was on the bottom half of the top leaf and hung down. 

Optional: If you want you can glue on googly eyes to your turkey. My 2 year old loves googly eyes and glued some to his turkey, just not in the right spot! I like to let them have fun even if the outcome isn’t anticipated!

5. Attach the feet

The feet can be made from the stems of the leaves. Place liquid glue or use a glue stick to make a line on your paper. Have your child place the stem of a leaf onto the paper below the turkey. 

thanksgiving nature craft for toddlers Turkey
4 Year Old placing the leaves before gluing

Congratulations! You now have created a colorful turkey made from leaves.

Now that you have your turkey make sure to check out Christmas Tree Ornaments!