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Teaching About Turkeys During the Holiday Season

After giving thanks, when people think of Thanksgiving, they have turkey on their minds. A lot of students do turkey related projects around the Thanksgiving holiday, and at HEART we have a few creative ideas of our own to share about teaching about turkeys.
1)     Teach your students about some of the following fascinating facts about turkeys: turkeys have great memories, they like to swim and fly, they care about each other, they enjoy being pet, and if they know you well they might just give you a turkey hug. Teach them about the basic needs of a turkey. Then have your students color in a picture of a turkey and write a brief paragraph about what a turkey would be thankful for.
2)     Help your students get to know turkeys by sharing videos of turkeys (like this one and this one) from farm animal sanctuaries. Through the videos, students will be able to observe a turkey’s natural behaviors. You can also share the stories of actual turkeys who have been rescued and who are living at sanctuaries with your students. You could have them make biography posters of their turkeys. The students could include his or her pictures, his or her rescue story, and the species’ unique qualities.
3)     Turkeys are sweet sentient animals who want to be loved and cared for. Consider teaching your students about reverence and empathy for turkeys using these great children’s books: ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey and A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Diane de Groat. Both of these books are sure to warm the hearts of your students and help them to appreciate how special turkeys can be.
4)     Make eco-friendly turkey projects. After teaching your students about how special turkeys are you might consider having them make some cute turkeys out of recycled materials. We love these eco-crafts. The first one is making a turkey out of a reused toilet paper roll and the second is making a turkey magnet or puppet out of reused paperboard.
kids projects turkey
5)     Last but not least, if your students want to do a service project, consider having them collect money to sponsor a turkey at a farm animal sanctuary. Your class will receive a picture and a description of their turkey. Your students are sure to fall in love with their sponsored turkey, and it will be a service project they will never forget. If you happen to live near a Farm Sanctuary, kids could also be encouraged to visit their sponsored friend and observe his or her natural behaviors in person.
From all of us at HEART, happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy celebrating with friends and family, and taking the time to reflect on all you have to be thankful for. And remember, we can work towards making this a more fair and just world, to give others more to be thankful for too!

Photo Credit: Flickr / photommo

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