Monday, November 12, 2012

Toddler Activities: The Turkey with the Terrible Temper

By Deborah Pace Rowley
I remember my mother telling me the story of "The Turkey with the Terrible Temper" every Thanksgiving when I was a little girl. That means this story is over 40 years old. (You know how sometimes your age just really hits you. This is one of those times.) Anyway, I wish that I knew where this story came from so that I could give credit to the author, but I don't. We have told and retold this story so many times in our family and have created so many different flannel board illustrations to go with it that it is impossible to know where it all began.

Still, this story is too good not to share. I love telling this story to toddlers who struggle to control their emotions just like Tom Turkey does. Toddlers love to put up the red turkey when Tom gets mad and turns bright red. Then they can replace the red turkey for the red colored feather in Tom's tail. This story accomplishes two learning goals at once. First, it reinforces their growing knowledge about colors and sequencing in a story. But more importantly it reinforces the lesson we really want them to learn. They can control themselves when something doesn't go their way!
I remember hanging up the picture of the little turkey on our kitchen fridge and asking one of my kids about to launch into a major temper tantrum, "Well, hello little Tom Turkey. I wonder what color you are going to turn today?" Sometimes this reminder would be all that was needed to prevent a major meltdown! And sometimes it wouldn't.... but anything is worth a try, right? Over time the message began to sink in and before I knew it, my terrible two and terrible three year old had become a mature four year old who remained unruffled most of the time.

To make your own version of "The Turkey with the Terrible Temper" print out the story here. You can then make some flannel board turkeys out of felt or you can print out the colored turkeys and feathers that we have created here or by clicking on the photo below.
If you decide to use the free printables we have provided, we recommend that you laminate them or print them on card stock for extra durability. Tiff added magnets to the back of hers so that she could use them on a magnet board with Anniston. They would also be great hung on the fridge or even pasted into a simple book that your toddler could use to retell the story. Enjoy our version of the Turkey (i.e. Toddler) with the Terrible Temper!
P.S. Does anyone else find it ironic that my little turkey took a tantrum through most of this "photo shoot"? Her big sister even pretended to join in for one picture. Yep, this story is going to get told often at our house in the coming weeks. :) - Tiffany

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  1. Oh my... This is great! I am your newest follower and would like to invite you to add this, and more of your great posts, to my weekly Mom's library Link-Up.

    Thanks and be blessed,
    Julie @ Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

    1. Thanks Julie! We both love your blog!! Deborah even linked to you in today's post! :)

  2. I just printed it off & look forward to telling & retelling it next week. Thanks for sharing!


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