• Christy | the Practice Pro

#15 Practice with "Thankful" Turkeys

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

By Christy | The Practicing Pro


How do you instill in your child to be thankful for what they have? How can you help your children to notice ways that they can help others who might not have all that they do? How do you help them realize how fortunate they are to play a musical instrument and that not all children are so lucky?

For the Thanksgiving season, here's a fun Turkey Themed Activity to use in your home music practicing! You can also use it when it's not Thanksgiving too of course!

This Turkey inspired activity is the perfect thing to do to make doing your repetitions more fun! It will also give you the chance to be thankful for so many things, including playing an instrument.

Giving a child a sense of belonging

Children feel like they have something that makes them special when they can play an instrument and play it well. It gives them confidence! During practice, you can help them internalize these feelings and own them. Examples would be after they accomplish something watch carefully for a smile and when you catch one say "Wow - that made you smile - what a good feeling you have inside when you accomplish something like playing something on your violin so well!" or "I can tell you liked playing that song! Your foot was tapping and you made mine tap too!"

So much MORE than just an instrument

There are so many things to be thankful for that come from playing an instrument.

You have something that you can share with others to make them HAPPY!

Parents can notice the quality time spent with their children while going to and from lessons in the car. This can be a peaceful time to talk about their days, to listen to their Suzuki CD on the way to the lesson, and on the way home after the lesson to talk about all of the great things you observed as a parent in their lessons.

Suzuki parents that sit in lessons, take notes, don't use their phones in the lesson, but cherish this time in the lessons as a small bit of time to give their undivided attention to their child once a week.

Children grow up so quickly and this time is so precious! Children feel loved and see you valuing their lessons and progress so they will value it too. Children learn to value things by observing what you value.

You can show you are thankful for your child playing an instrument

Taking great notes in lessons and making amazing practice sheets and fun activities can really show your child by your example that you value their lessons and them playing an instrument. It's easier to return effort when someone shows they value something with their effort and time.

A personal example:

My daughter has a pile of notebooks of my handwritten notes that I took at her piano lessons each week. She has kept everyone and when she looks at the big pile of them with carefully taken notes and observations of just her playing the piano, she knows that I really care about her playing the piano and about her goals.

Taking a moment to be thankful

So many positive things can stem from our daily practice when we are clever practicing parents. Here is an activity to allow you to take a few minutes and make my Thankful Turkeys at the end of your home music practice. On each feather, you can write down something you're thankful for and as you practice then after your practice, attach all of the feathers to your turkey(s).

Parents model being "Thankful"

As a parent, you can model the types of things for which we can/could be thankful. Keeping your child's age in mind, help them to understand that there are certain things that we can also be thankful for outside of just things like our toys, or candy etc.

Whatever your child says they are thankful for, be sure not to judge what they choose. If you see they are struggling with this in any way, quietly say that you want to make the turkeys together and make one too they look like so much fun! They can practice for a feather for them and then one for you and back and forth. When it's your feather you can model things that are maybe more meaningful to guide their thoughts on your turn. Again, if this doesn't work though refrain from judgment. Just model quietly. They will learn better that way.

Examples for younger children:

I am thankful for:

my family

my clothes

my violin

my home

for food to eat etc...

Younger children are thankful for their immediate, physical things by nature.

This is a wonderful trait and you may even be surprised by the things that they express when they get a few responses in and they don't feel judged or like you expect a certain answer.

Examples for older children:

Older children can be more specific.

I am thankful for:

my grandfather, teacher,

my best friend

my country, school

playing the piano

for favorite foods etc...

Thankful Turkey - Downloads

Here are the Turkeys and Feathers that you can download and print out!

You can print as many feathers as you would like and make one turkey or a flock of them!

Pre Colored
Turkey - FREE pdf download
Feathers - FREE pdf download

To Color
Turkey - FREE pdf download
Feathers - FREE pdf download

How to use the Thankful Turkeys for practicing

Each time you complete a repetition or an item on your practice checklist, you get a feather! At the end of your practice, take the time to write something that you are grateful for on each feather.

Glue your feathers on to create your Thankful Practicing Turkey!

This is what I used:

  1. Turkey and Feather Downloads - printed

  2. Scissors to cut out the turkey and feathers

  3. Pen or Pencil to write on the feathers

  4. colored pencils/markers (optional if you choose to color your turkey and feathers)

  5. glue

Alternate Activity

If you are feeling frustrated that your child is not easily thankful, then try and work on it during practice times and also make it FUN! You can use this alternative activity as well!

With your completed turkey card, bring a thanksgiving treat to a neighbor and deliver the turkey as a card and the treat together.

Maybe try and find someone that you don't know as well instead of a close friend or family member! This teaches the child to reach out of their comfort circle and to see that some people live alone and might be lonely. It shows them first hand that not everyone has as much as them. When they can see that they can make others happy by sharing with them they grow to appreciate all that they have a little more.

Watch for future activities, from the PRACTICING PRO, before Christmas time all about "serving others" to help your child learn to be able to better express what they are thankful for. Christmas time is an easier time to do nice things for others and is a perfect time to learn and to go outside of your comfort zone and be creative.

You can print extra turkeys, or email this link and share them with your friends or cousins and do this activity together. Share stories and photos back and forth.

Please send me a photo of your completed Thankful Turkey so we can all share what we are thankful for!


INVITATION from Christy Hodder:

DIGITAL COURSE - Practicing Pro Academy

Speaking of amazing practices, let me tell you all about the digital course I built and teach called "Practicing Pro Academy". It is an at-your-own-pace, six-week online course for teachers and students that will bring you even more successful practices with your players! I am also with you in person the whole time with weekly Q&As to answer all of your questions. It only runs a few times a year so you don't want to miss the next time! I offer a free Masterclass to kick off each course. You can join the waitlist here.

Free PDF download

Checklist for an Amazing Music Practice

Your easy checklist to have successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.


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Already made Turkeys:

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