Like it or not the holidays are approaching! When I think of Thanksgiving I think of the smell of delicious foods, spending time with loved ones around the table, and of course eating some turkey! For your littles, Thanksgiving is an exciting holiday, full of traditions they will come to love.
This activity is a fun way to incorporate the festive theme of Thanksgiving while also working on different fine-motor, language, and cognitive based skills appropriate for their age.
What you will need:
- Multi-colored cotton balls
- Tongs/tweezers for children (found at Dollar Tree orAmazon)
- An empty, clear plastic bottle with a wide top opening
- Construction paper
- Googly eyes (optional)
- Glue or tape
- Small bowl (optional)
What to do:
- You will want to cut out the turkey face and feathers from construction paper.
- Paste them on the container to resemble a turkey face with feathers coming from the top of the bottle. Googly eyes can be used if available:
- Get creative and make your toddler excited to “Feed the Turkey!”.Ex.: Say “Here is my friend Gobbles and he is very, very, hungry! Can you help feed him?”
- Show your toddler first with your fingers how to pick up cotton balls to put in his top.
- Next, you can show them how to use the tweezers or tongs to feed the turkey.
Skills This Activity Addresses:
This activity is a fun and creative way to incorporate various developmental skills required of a toddler, without them even realizing since they are “Feeding the Turkey!”
Fine Motor Strength and Coordination:
Your child is improving their fine motor coordination by being able to use their hands to pick up and grasp the small object (cotton ball), and manipulate in order to accurately get into the small opening of the bottle. They must also sustain a level of strength with their grasp to hold the cotton ball using tongs or with their fingers, before releasing it to drop into the bottle.
Ways to make it less challenging:
- If using tongs is hard/ hand is fatiguing, have the child pick up cotton balls using their hands to hold it.
- Encourage them to use only one hand and have them take rest breaks, to help establish hand dominance.
Visual Motor Coordination:
Additionally, your little one is working on how to coordinate their eyes and hands together during this activity, in order to pick-up and accurately place the cotton ball in an empty bottle. This is an important skill that helps them in basic self-care and play activities.
Ways to incorporate this skill:
- Ask them to pick up certain colors to place in the bottle.
- Put cotton balls in different areas on or around the table and tell them the turkey only wants to eat that “yummy” food.
- Use words like “open” and “close” to improve control over hand during grasp/release of cotton balls into the bottle.
Ways to make it less challenging:
- Use a bowl to hold the cotton balls so they can easily grasp them in a contained area with tongs/hand, since they easily slide away.
- Make the opening of the bottle wider by cutting off the top.Language and Cognition
There are many ways to incorporate these skills into this activity. Labeling everything is key for your toddler to know what things are and how they may be related to the time of year (Fall) and holiday (Thanksgiving). Basic cognitive skills can also be addressed during this activity.
Ways to incorporate language and cognition:
- Have your child identify colors by asking them to pick up a certain colored cotton ball, sorting the colors first before feeding the turkey, or telling them what color cotton ball they picked up.
- Ask them how it feels and say “the cotton balls are soft,” and the turkey feels “hard”.
- Use directional words like we’re picking “up” the cotton balls and “dropping” them “inside” the turkey.
- Ask the child what color they would like to feed the turkey next.
- Go over the different body parts on the turkey (eyes, beak, feathers, etc.).
- Describe turkeys and how they communicate, where you may see them.
I hope you and your toddler enjoys this fun fine motor turkey activity. Have a happy, safe, and healthy Thanksgiving!