Turkey Lesson Plans

Dover turkey

Turkey is so much a part of Thanksgiving that many people call it “Turkey Day.” Why not bring some turkey ideas into your classroom?

    • Read A Turkey for Thanksgiving. This charming story tells how Mr. Moose sets out to get a turkey for Thanksgiving. He is surprised when the turkey runs away. Your students may see the happy ending coming, which can make this a good book for practicing making predictions as we read.
    • Turkey Finger Puppets are another option. PBS has instructions to sew one, or go with Red Ted Art’s paper version. Use them for books like Ten Fat Turkeys or fingerplays like this one:

Five little turkeys by the barn door,
One waddled off, and then there were four.
Four little turkeys sitting under a tree,
One waddled off, and then there were three.
Three little turkeys with nothing to do,
One waddled off, and then there were two.
Two little turkeys sitting in the sun,
One waddled off, and then there was one.
One little turkey – better run away!
Soon it will be Thanksgiving Day!

  • Read Chicken Little and get to know Turkey Lurkey. Admittedly, Turkey Lurkey is sort of a bit player in “Chicken Little,” but turkeys rarely take center stage.


  • Turkey headbands are easy to make. U Create has templates to download (and an overwhelming number of ads — sorry). It’s fun, but you’re also working on scissor skills and following directions.
  • Turkey art projects can follow a simple system. Basically, you’re going to use a simple shape for the turkey’s head: a circle will do, or a bowling-pin shape if you want to include the turkey’s body. Add a red paper or felt wattle and wiggle eyes— the main requirement for success in projects of this kind. Now, choose something colorful to make the feathers:
    • paint handprints
    • coffee filters colored with markers and sprayed with water so the colors run
    • actual  feathers
    • painted craft sticks
    • feathers cut from paper
    • cut paper snowflakes (make them in the usual way but with turkey feather colors)
    • honeycomb paper
    • pine cones
  • Have students make place mats to take home for their Thanksgiving dinner, or to use at the school Thanksgiving lunch, with their turkey art projects.


  • Learn the traditional fiddle tune “Turkey in the Straw.
  • “Except for the Turkey” is one of the large genre of songs and stories focusing on the misery of the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. If your class is of the age to find this funny rather than upsetting, sing along.

  • “Turkey Tag” has little to do with turkeys, but it’s a good physical game for overexcited kids, and that’s something you might need at this time of year. We’d do this to a recording of “Turkey in the Straw” for fun and to increase the turkey connection.


  • Do some math with nutrition data on turkey. Compare the fat and protein content of turkey with other protein sources or with the data for other dishes often eaten at Thanksgiving dinner. Students should discover that turkey is a good choice, nutritionally speaking.
  • Gather newspaper grocery ads and have students calculate the cost of a turkey dinner in your community. You can divide students into teams to see which team can plan the most economical Thanksgiving dinner, compare the total cost of a meal at one store with another, or assign students a budget and have them plan a dinner within that budget. You can get lots of math this way, if you have students consider the number of people they’ll be feeding and the quantities of food in the advertised packages.
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