I’m not sure why so much of Thanksgiving is focused on the turkey, but it is. So many of the crafts to make and items to buy are of a turkey. Maybe it’s because of some sort of affection for it as the runner-up as our national bird, or because they’re so goofy, because of a desire to find one iconic image for the holiday, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, or because of a watering down of holidays for kids because we are trying to be politically correct. I haven’t seen anything to do with pilgrims in years.
My toddler has been lucky enough to see turkeys in the wild, but usually only as a brown blip we pass by in the car, so I decided to introduce him to the turkey. So in the wee small hours of the morning when the rest of my family was asleep, and I wished I were, I showed him some turkeys walking, gobbling and flaunting their feathers on YouTube. I later also showed them to my older son, talking about the way they move and their coloring (not the super colorful tail of our construction-paper crafts) and smiling at their funny ways.
When my older son was four, I had downloaded a turkey call app to show him what a turkey sounded like in real life, and to see if he could imitate any of the noises. I downloaded the app on my new phone for the toddler to hear. We listened to all the different types of noises: cackles, clucks, purrs, kee kees, yelps, and the infamous gobble. Who knew they had such a vocabulary?
Then, as a twist on the classic hand-turkeys, we made hand-turkey suncatchers. I traced my toddler’s hands on a piece of clear Contact paper with the back still on, added a beak, eyes and feet, and let him color them however he wanted. Of course, he’s not yet two, so he wanted to scribble side to side, which he is getting very good at. I then cut out the turkeys, peeled the backing off, and stuck them to the front door window. Having a second opportunity to do the project, I would look into markers or paint to make the suncatchers more … catchy.
Later, we practiced our gobbling, both saying gobble, gobble and a more realistic way involving flipping your tongue up and down over the inside of your top lip and feeling very silly. We also attempted to walk like a turkey, mostly with my toddler tilting his head and watching me waddling and flapping my “wings.” We’ll try that one again later.
My sons and I wound down the day reading the only remotely Thanksgiving book we own: Gobble Gobble Crash! A Barnyard Counting Bash, by Julie Stiegemeyer. It was amusing to count the animals and imagine that all the animals are conspiring against the farmer (a little Animal Farm-ish), but we will be making a trip to the library to expand our repertoire.