By Mikee Mapalo
Before we learned how to read and write, we were introduced to the 26 letters of the English language. For most of us, our first encounter with the alphabet was singing the ABCs. But the truth is kids need to learn a lot more than to slur letter names together in song (adorable as that may be) to prepare for kindergarten and beyond. They need to learn what letters look like—and which of the 56 uppercase and lowercase shapes actually indicate the same letter, among other things.
A powerful and fun way to teach your child upper- and lowercase letters is through play. There are a lot of educational toys on the market nowadays, but why add more plastic junk to the world (and shell out cash) when you can make your own homemade educational toys that are just as effective? That’s why we created this printable to encourage you to make your own fun and free educational Thanksgiving activity. It’s a DIY turkey letter-matching game that’s easy to put together and will help teach your child to match corresponding upper- and lowercase letters.
Our free printable consists of a turkey page with lowercase letters and a page of turkey feathers with uppercase letters. It also comes with a black-and-white version of the printable for easier printing, so don’t stress if you’re low on ink. Have fun!
- Cardstock paper (2 pieces)
- Colored paper (1 piece)
Step 1: Begin by printing out the free template on two pieces of cardstock. You can choose our full-color turkey letter-matching game printable or our low-ink black-and-white turkey letter-matching game printable.
Alternatively, you can print the turkey page on normal printer paper, because you’ll glue it on cardboard later on.
Tip: If you don’t have cardstock, print the letters on normal paper also, and glue them onto a piece of thin cardboard to make them sturdy. Cardboard from a cereal box tends to be thin enough that you can cut out the shapes without too much trouble.
Step 2: Next, carefully cut out the shapes from the template. If you find it hard to cut out the turkey, you can just use the whole page for the next step.
Step 3: When you are done cutting out the template, it’s time to glue the colored paper on top of the cardboard.
If you choose to use the whole turkey page, you can opt to skip this step. You can directly glue the whole page on top of the cardboard.
Step 4: Then glue the turkey template on top of the colored paper.
Step 5: Flip the cardboard and glue the envelope on the back.
Step 6: If you are not using the game with your child right away, slip the cut-out letters inside the envelope so that they won’t go missing. This way, they are well-contained and are ready to use in your next learning play session.
How to play
Now that you are done making your DIY turkey letter-matching game, it’s time to play! Invite your child to identify the letters of the alphabet. Then ask them to see how many upper and lowercase letters they can successfully match together. You can also practice each letter sound while matching the letters.
We hope this educational Thanksgiving activity will offer a playful and interactive learning opportunity for you and your child this fall season. Enjoy using our free printable and let us know how your learning session went!
We’d love to see how your craft turned out! Feel free to connect with us on social media to share some pictures.
Mikee Mapalo is a clinical psychology graduate student who loves graphic designing and creating arts and crafts content for kids. *Photos by Mikee Mapalo