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Crafts And Conversation: Turkey Paper Fan With The DUCK Lab

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Get crafty with the DUCK Lab! Each Friday, trained research assistants from the UNCG Psychology Department’s DUCK Lab will guide at-home crafts for children ages 3 to 12. Parents can join too to learn fun facts about crafts that foster age-appropriate skills or learn about the DUCK Lab’s nonprofit child development research projects. 

This Friday, the DUCK Lab invites all school-age friends to join Kathleen and make a paper fan turkey to get in the Thanksgiving spirit! Follow along as Kathleen takes you through each step and see how expansive turkey wings are made from plain construction paper.

Parents, did you know?

This craft offers an opportunity for your children to illustrate their metacognitive abilities. Read on below for more info. about the connection between these types of activities and age-appropriate developmental milestones.

We also invite you to check out our child development research opportunities, which are now modified for the virtual world! Please click here to learn more or sign up to participate with us.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


  • Construction paper in various fall colors

  • Tape

  • Glue dots 

  • Googly eyes

  • Pom-poms or foam shapes for feet


  1. Cut a piece of construction paper in half, hot dog style. Then, take the two strips that you just created and tape them together to make one long strip of paper.

  2. Fold the long strip of paper from step 1 like a fan. To do this, fold in one direction and then the other for the entire strip of paper. The strip of paper should now look like an accordion or fan.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for two new sheets of construction paper. Then, gather each piece of construction paper together and trim  ½ inch off one (this will be slightly smaller than the first fan) and 1 inch off the other (this will be the smallest fan).

  4. Take each piece of construction paper, extend into a fan shape, and tape the two ends together.

  5. Repeat step 4 for the other two pieces of construction paper.

  6. Cut out a turkey body from a new piece of construction paper.

  7. Cut out a square shape of construction paper for the turkey’s tail.

  8. Glue the tail to the turkey body.

  9. Glue the fans from the smallest to biggest on the tail.

  10. Cut out a beak and glue it to the appropriate place on the turkey’s head. Next, glue googly eyes for the turkey’s eyes and a pom-pom or foam shape for the turkey’s feet.

The DUCK Lab: Paper Fan Turkey

Relation to Developmental Science:

As children grow older, their ability to think about their own ideas and strategies increases. In psychology, this is referred to as a metacognition. As older children think about their own thinking, they can effectively find the best way to complete a task. In the context of this craft, this might mean that older children will find an effective way to quickly cut their matching strips of various lengths or fold their construction paper correctly to create a fan shape. Younger children might instead have a hard time figuring out how to trim the strips or how to fold the construction paper correctly. This offers a good opportunity for parents to help children learn to problem solve.

*Great for older children!

The DUCK Lab is a partner in the nonprofit Child Development Research Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They conduct studies of social and cognitive development with 2- to 12- year-olds. Families who participate in their research studies are volunteers in the Greensboro community who generously offer their time to help support research and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

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