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!

Recommended Grade Level:

Turkey Salt Painting Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Salt
  • Food Coloring
  • Pipette

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.

Dip the paintbrush into water and blend with watercolor to soften. Saturate the brush with watercolor. Gently touch the paintbrush to the salt. The color will spread like magic!

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!

Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!

thanksgiving turkey salt painting process art for kids
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Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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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?

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