Salt Painted Turkey Fine Motor Activity

Salt painting is not only a fun craft, but it also is a wonderful fine motor activity for kids just learning how to write and hold a pencil. The trick to making this activity work is to use coarse salt, cardstock paper, and to use gentle, controlled movements. Don’t be surprised if your kiddos make a mess while doing this activity at first. Over time, they will come to understand how tiny touches are the way to color their salt without making a mess. This activity also makes a wonderful exercise for teaching children how to use gentle touches as well as a fun Thanksgiving craft.

Create a turkey salt painting for Thanksgiving! Your kids will love this simple craft!


Cardstock paper | Salt| Paintbrush | Food coloring | School glue

Salt painting is all about precision, which makes it a wonderful fine motor activity for little ones. Without proper control, the activity turns into a giant mess (and for this reason, I don’t recommend doing it with kids that are younger than 4, or kids who are really, really careful).

We’ve tried this activity with sugar, but it doesn’t have the same results, so you definitely need salt.

Make the outline of your turkey onto card stock paper with the white glue. If you use regular construction paper, the water will tend to run too much, making it harder to create crisp, colored lines.

Cover the entire turkey in salt, like you would for glitter.

Shake off any excess.

Make several small cups of colored water (we did 4 for our 4 colors of food coloring).

Dip the paintbrush into the chosen color, then gently touch it to the salt lines. The color will spread, and you can keep adding paint until the entire turkey is covered in color.

Let the turkeys dry completely before allowing kids to take them home. Typically, it takes about 24 hours for this project to dry.

You don’t have to be limited to turkeys, you can also make leaves, pumpkins, apples, and other fun fall themes!

Planning for Fall? We’ve done all the work for you!

We now have interactive thematic lesson plans for toddlers (18-35 months) AND preschoolers (3-5 years)! Get ready for fun and learning with unit lesson plans for FALL. Explore a variety of themed hands-on activities! Easy to follow lesson plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners. For more information, click on the graphics below:

Salt Painted Turkey Featured

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  1. I love the turkey salt painting idea! Do you let the glue dry before doing the water/food coloring or paint it while the glue is still wet?