Practice Five Finger Breathing and Mindfulness with This Easy Turkey Craft

Have children practice this breathing exercise on their own fingers as well as on their turkey craft for a great chance to reflect and be thankful.

At-Home Learning is an early childhood education resource (for ages 2-8) providing families, educators and community partners with at-home learning activities, guides, and expert advice.


Mindfulness meets holiday cheer with this fun family craft. Crafting a turkey out of your little one’s hand will allow them to explore many foundational skills and learn how to use their fingers as a breathing tool.

A turkey craft made out of construction paper and feathers.
This fun turkey doubles as a craft and mindfulness exercise. | Vanessa Suzette McClaney

Five finger breathing is a mindfulness technique that teaches children how to pause and use their fingers to take five deep breaths. Because it can be done anywhere and anytime, this activity is especially useful when children don’t have access to physical items that make up a mindfulness toolbox. It also allows children to process big emotions, connect to the present moment and feel grounded.

Have children practice this breathing exercise on their own fingers as well as on the turkey craft for a great mind/body connection.

The Technique

SarahEllen, the author's daughter, practices five finger breathing.
SarahEllen, the author’s daughter, practices five finger breathing. | Vanessa Suzette McClaney
  • Start by placing one hand in front of you or on the ground.
  • Spread your fingers apart.
  • Using the pointer finger of the opposite hand, begin to trace up the outside of the thumb as you inhale deeply.
  • Trace down the inside of the thumb as you exhale.
  • Repeat this for the remaining fingers making sure to inhale as you trace up the finger and exhale as you trace down.
  • Pause afterward to reflect on feelings and repeat as needed.

Learning Goals

This activity will help your child:

  • Count numbers 1-5
  • Identify colors
  • Fine motor hand skills
  • Explore textures
  • Use breathing techniques to quiet the mind and calm the body
  • Make mind/body connections as they pertain to mindfulness

Materials

Crafting materials are laid out on a table.
To make your turkey, all you need is construction paper, feathers and a few other craft staples. | Vanessa Suzette McClaney
  • Construction paper (brown, red and yellow)
  • Feathers
  • Googly craft eyes
  • Popsicle stick
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Trace the hand. Place the child’s hand on the brown paper and spread their fingers.  Use the pencil to trace an outline.

An adult hand traces a child's hand over brown construction paper.
The craft starts by tracing the little one’s hand on construction paper. | Vanessa Suzette McClaney

2. Cut the hand outline. Use scissors to cut the hand outline. This will be the turkey’s body.

Children's hand cut out of brown construction paper.
The turkey’s body is ready! | Vanessa Suzette McClaney

3. Give your turkey an eye. Paste the googly eye on the thumb to form the turkey’s eye.

4. Feather fun! Glue feathers on the remaining four fingers. Gluing them on both sides of the paper will give a fuller appearance.

5. Little details. Using the yellow paper, cut a small triangle to form the turkey’s beak. Using the red paper, cut a small oval to form the turkey’s snood.

A small yellow triangle and red droplet shape cut out of construction paper.
A small triangle and drop shape make up the finishing details on the turkey. | Vanessa Suzette McClaney

6. Puppet or feet. Glue the popsicle stick to the back of the turkey. You may use just one for support or make the turkey resemble a puppet or use two to form the turkey’s legs. It’s your craft, be creative!

Keep the Conversation Going

  • Use your fingers to name things you are thankful for.
  • Use your fingers to create “I AM” affirmation statements (i.e. “I am kind.”)
  • Use breathing as a way to explore body parts and the different ways they function (i.e, nose, mouth, lungs).
  • Use extra feathers to practice more deep breathing by inhaling through the nose and exhaling from the mouth. Have fun by using only the breath to move feathers across the floor or a table!
  • Talk about feelings or write about them in a journal.

Book Suggestions

  • “Breathe Like a Bear” written by Kira Willey and illustrated by Anni Bets
  • “I Am Yoga” written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Vanessa Suzette McClaney Vanessa Suzette McClaney is a certified yoga instructor and wellness educator. Her professional experiences with early childhood development, coupled with her adventures as a mom, have made her passionate about making wellness accessible and practical for all. Follow her on her Instagram account Suzette Says.