Mini Turkey Unit

Mini Turkey Unit

We are knee deep in our North America Unit over here. It turned out to be longer than I originally planned. There are way too many fun things to do. We ended up adding a mini unit to study turkeys as a part of it (originally uplanned but very fun and child-led. I was actually prepping for this unit and the girls saw it while I was cutting it out so we had to start that night!

Turkey Fact Sheet

For this unit I grabbed Stephanie Hathaway’s Wild Turkey Nature Study. Most of our activities are from that resource including this fact sheet. The girls loved reading through this together and would often request that we re-read it throughout the day while it was up. I think I left out the materials an extra week since they were still gravitating towards them.

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble: A Year in the Life of a Wild Turkey by Cathryn Falwell

This book is so good! It walks through a year in the life of a wild turkey. It starts in the spring and works its way through the winter. It is incredibly practical and real life. After reading, we could easily track turkeys. We didn’t get to this past fall but hope to in the spring. There are so many near us!

Upon finishing the book, we grabbed our North America map and talked about where the wild turkeys are located.

How to Draw a Turkey

I love bringing art into whatever we do and this unit did it for us. It showed us how to draw a realistic turkey and it was quite accessible for my four year old but would be challenging for even an upper elementary student (or so depending on drawing interest and ability!) The tot, preschooler, and mom enjoyed drawing together.

Types of feathers (with real feathers)

Our sweet and thoughtful neighbor has been grabbing feather for the girls since this past spring as he sees them while out hiking, fishing, or hunting. He grabbed a few turkey feathers and we had to bring them out for our unit to identify what type of feathers they were.

Life Cycle of a Turkey & Turkey Identification 3-Part Cards

The three part cards included in this unit went through the lifecycle of the turkey and identifying male, female, and adult turkeys. We had a poster on the wall for both these items in addition to these cards plus a couple works on the shelves to reinforce both of these. Because of this, I went through all the cards on the same day and our preschooler matched both the pictures and words easily.

Life Cycle of a Turkey

The pictured work is a sequencing work so it works for a math and cultural work. It was fun for Little Miss to put the pictures in order. She had a poster she could reference to check her own work that acted as a control of error. The poster was a cicular representation of the life cycle.

Tom, Jake, or Hen

This is a turkey identificaion sheet that focuses on identifying the fully grown male turkey (Tom), a immature male (Jake), and a female turkey (Hen). We were very much pre-reading during this unit (pre-sandpaper letters too!) and so I would read this to the girls when requested. My preschooler enjoyed trying to identify them at random times. I hung this on the wall like a poster.

Anatomy of a Turkey

We had a poster on the wall with the anatomy of the turkey and then we had a matching/labeling activity on the shelf. She could reference the poster to check her own work. She chose this and the Life Cycle work a couple times each.

Tracing or Cutting Practice

Although it was a little challenging for our preschooler, she chose to use this as cutting work. She loves cutting work on the shelves periodically (she wont choose it weekly). This was a good challenge. She is learning that growth is difficult and can be frustrating. We were able to work through some emot

Fine Art

I love that this unit already included art for me. We had the drawing work (mentioned above) and it also included paintings of turkeys by Claude Monet and John James Audubon which bring in impressionism and naturalism. The later we haven’t had out in our art studies yet so we compared the differences between the two paintings. She also had the opportunity to create her own drawing using either painting as inspiration but she was a little burnt out on this activity (we had done this a lot in the summer and fall leading up to this) so she didn’t choose this long enough to create much.


This unit included the poems “Turkeys” by John Clare and “Funny Bird” by Anonymous. We read these during circle time on different mornings and it was on the wall to experience or re-read together. It wasn’t chosen more than once but they listened well to it the first time. (Both tot and preschooler!). There is copy work for the second poem. We weren’t ready for this yet but I could see myself pulling it out next year in a Thanksgiving mini (unless they request turkeys again!)

We really had fun with this unit. I feel like I saw this a lot BUT child-led learning SHOULD be fun!

More Units to Explore:

  1. Creation Unit
  2. Tomato Unit
  3. Dance Unit
  4. Fourth of July Mini Unit
  5. Butterfly Unit
  6. Sunflower Unit
  7. Mini Camping Unit
  8. Montessori Bug Unit
  9. Pumpkin Fun + Phonological Awareness