Thanksgiving is a great time for your kids to exercise their creativity with fun, simple crafts. Whether you’re spending quality time during Thanksgiving break, or looking for something a classroom can do together for a holiday party, painted rock turkeys are a fun autumn craft idea.
Unlike those paper hand turkeys we all made in elementary school, which don’t really last long, painted rock turkeys are something parents can hang onto for the long term. They’re cute, creative, and versatile. Plus, there’s more than one way you can make them.
What You’ll Need
- Rocks. You’ll need smooth round or ovoid rocks, preferably ones that can lie down flat on a surface. You can usually find these at your local craft store in a range of sizes. Larger rocks are easier to paint on, especially for younger children.
- Acrylic paint. Acrylic paints work well for this project. We recommend fall colors like browns, reds, oranges, and yellows. Then again, if your kid wants a psychedelic tie dye turkey with purple, pink, blue, and green, why not?
- Paintbrushes. Use larger brushes for the solid base color, and smaller brushes for any fine detail.
- Googly eyes. Add some extra fun with plastic googly eyes.
- Construction paper or sheets of foam paper. Orange, red, and yellow are usually the most important colors for this.
- Plastic faux feathers. These can be used instead of construction paper to create tail feathers.
- Scissors. Children’s safety scissors work fine for this.
- Glue. We recommend Aileene’s Original Tacky Glue, or another similar product. Elmer’s doesn’t quite cut it for this, but hot glue guns or superglue might not be appropriate for young children to use.
- Magnets (optional). If you’re using relatively small rocks for these, you can also turn them into fridge magnets.
How to Make Painted Rock Turkeys
Here’s how to help your kids make painted rock turkeys for Thanksgiving.
- Select a rock. Each child can select an appropriately sized and shaped rock.
- Paint the rock. Brown is the usual color, but some kids are really imaginative. The idea here is that the rock is the turkey’s body. You can add as much or as little detail as you want.
- Let the paint dry. Before you start gluing things onto the rock, you’ll need to let the paint dry completely.
- Cut out the feathers (unless you’re using plastic feathers). If you’re using foam or construction paper, long and pointed oval shapes can be cut out to create multicolored tail feathers. Glue them down with a rounded end facing outward, and the points attached to the bottom of the back of the rock.
- Or, attack plastic craft feathers. You can also use plastic craft feathers for the tail. As with construction paper, you can glue them to the back of the rock. These may adhere better with hot glue, which adults can help with.
- Cut out the beak and waddle. Using orange or yellow construction paper, cut out a triangle to form the turkey’s beak. For the waddle, cut an irregular, wavy oblong shape from red construction paper.
- Glue on the turkey’s face. Two googly eyes, the beak, and the waddle can be glued onto the front of the rock in any arrangement you’d like.
- Add a magnet to the back. This is optional, but it gives the new rock turkey more of a purpose.
- Let the glue dry. After this, you’re done!
The Joy of Painting
Painted rock turkeys are a great Thanksgiving craft to inspire creativity and cultivate fine motor skills for young children. Many people discover the joys of painting and crafts while they’re young, a hobby that can continue throughout their lifetime.