Tissue paper is my ultimate art material. Not only can kids tear it and cut it with ease, but they can also use it to make collages, explore textures and even “paint.” That’s why this Thanksgiving turkey is so much more than a holiday craft. Using non-colorfast tissue allows your child to get hands-on with science, while the underlying paper collage adds a geometry lesson too.

Tissue print

What You Will Need:

  • non-colorfast tissue paper in bold fall colors such as orange and red
  • two or three pieces of white card stock paper
  • one piece of fall-colored card stock paper
  • a marker
  • scissors
  • waxed paper
  • clear-drying school glue
  • a paper towel
  • water

Start with Some Math

  • Draw the shapes onto the white card stock. Your child will need to make a circle for the head, an oval for the body and six or seven smaller ovals for the feathers. Point to the shapes as she draws, and have her name them.
  • Cut the shapes out.

Kids' geometry

Set up the Science Exploration

Tear or cut the tissue into quarter-sized pieces. Your child can make them into geometric shapes or more free-formed organic versions. Have your child arrange the tissue on the card stock shapes.

Ask your child to predict what will happen when she drops a few drips of water onto the colorful tissue. Will the water just sit on top of the paper? Will it soak through?

Gently lift the paper to reveal that the color has come off of the tissue and moved onto the card stock. Ask your child what she thinks is going on here. Continue adding water to all of the tissue. You can soak a paper towel with water and have your child blot the tissue with it.

Let the wet tissue sit for at least 30 minutes.

Peel the tissue off of the paper. If some of it sticks, leave it on to add texture. As you take off the tissue, save it for later use. Ask your child if the tissue is as bright or the same color as it was when you first started the activity. She can tell you where she thinks the color went (and why there is suddenly color on the formerly white paper).

Color science

Put It All Together

When the tissue paper print shapes are dry, it’s time to puzzle together the turkey! Have your child try different arrangements of the circle and ovals until she makes her own “bird” on a piece of colorful card stock. Glue the shapes in place.

Draw on eyes or glue on two googly eyes.

Use the leftover, faded tissue to make a triangular beak.

Thanksgiving turkey

More Adventures in Learning

About Erica Loop

Erica Loop

Erica Loop is an arts educator and freelance parenting writer. She has an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology, and enjoys creating activities that bring literacy, math, science and other content areas to the arts. When she’s not teaching, she’s spending time with her newly-turned teen son and writing art activities on her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.

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