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SCENTED TURKEYs : A Multi-sensory THANKSGIVING extravaganza in 4 easy steps!

Turn your Thanksgiving holiday preparations into a multi-sensory extravaganza for all of your children, especially those with sensory processing challenges and/or autism. Tap into your child’s senses while constructing his/her Thanksgiving project and benefit during and after the project is complete. This easy project encourages your child get his/her hands dirty, while the entire family enjoys the whiff of holiday scents whenever they walk by the masterpiece. 

1. To begin, put a piece of colored construction paper on the table

2. Have your children paint their own palms and thumbs brown and their fingers different autumn colors like red, orange, and yellow.  If your child can tolerate it, ask them if you can paint their hands

3. Have them press their hands firmly onto the paper to create multi-colored turkey feathers. Add a sprinkle each of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or allspice to different fingers while the paint is still wet 

4. Glue on goggly eyes, a construction paper beak and hat, and other details after the paint has dried

This creative project will not only set the holiday mood in your home, but will address the following areas of sensory processing and fine motor skills:

  • The smell of the holiday scents will stimulate the olfactory system (sense of smell), as your child learns to identify the different smells

  • Accepting the feel of having paint on the hands will challenge the tactile system (sense of touch). It is more challenging to accept your touch, than for your child to paint his/her own hand

  • Pushing down each finger separately will improve finger isolation to boost fine motor coordination

  • Adding facial features on the turkey is a good way to work on spatial awareness (i.e. eyes are situated above the nose/beak)

Written by Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L and Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR/L, POTS Director

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