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Sponge Painted Turkey

Gobble Gobble! This Thanksgiving turkey is so cute to make and super fun to paint for young children to practice their fine motor skills. The technique of using a sponge to paint rather than a paintbrush offers new experiences and new fine motor muscles to be used by children to create this cute turkey!

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Create bright and beautiful turkeys

Turkey’s are traditionally associated with Thanksgiving. Their big, bright feathers complement fall colors with their bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Have children decorate their turkey features using this cool sponge painting technique. This activity is sure to start a conversation on color mixing in a group of children. 

😲Fun Fact: A turkey has about 5,000 to 6,000 feathers!

❗ New word alert! The “snood” is the part of a turkey that dangles down below it’s beak.

🦃 Did you know? Only male turkeys make the gobble noise and do so to let others know they’re in the area.


For this activity you will need:

Paper plate



Red, orange and yellow paint

Brown, red, and orange construction paper

Googly eyes

Glue stick

Learning Outcomes






Using a variety of materials to build with and express their ideas


Step 1:

Start out by cutting your sponge into strips. They should be large enough for a child to hold them in their hand.

Step 2:

Next, put a small amount of red, orange and yellow paint onto a paper plate.

Step 3:

Now, dab one sponge into the paint and then dab onto the paper plate. Alternate colors with each sponge until the plate is covered. Allow to dry. 

Step 4:

While the paint is drying on the paper plate, cut a body for the turkey from brown paper. Glue the body to the bottom of the paper plate.

Step 5:

Cut a triangle out of the orange construction paper for the turkey’s beak.

Step 6:

Add your googly eyes, the beak (orange triangle), and gobbler (or ‘snood’) and glue to the turkey’s body. 

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Encourage older children to plan out and create a pattern using the sponge painting technique.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Smaller hands may have a hard time gripping the sponges. Try adding a clothespin to each to ensure all children can hold the sponge using a pincer grasp.

Playful Questions

Have you ever seen a turkey before?

What type of habitat do turkeys live in?

Why do you think turkeys make the “gobble” sound?

What type of animal is a turkey?

What happens when we mix all the colors of paint on our turkey?

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