If you have kids, then by now you have likely heard of Elf on a Shelf, but this was the first year we learned about fugitive turkeys. Okay, Itsy BItsy didn’t actually call the turkey a fugitive, but it’s more fun to think of the turkey on the LAM from the law rather than just hiding out from, well, us.
As a kindergartner this year, Itsy BItsy came home with a fun project to disguise a paper turkey. She had SO much fun doing this and then telling all her classmates about her ballerina princess turkey that I thought, why not do our own fugitive turkey at home? So, I combined Itsy Bitsy’s class project with the Elf on a Shelf concept and our new Fugitive Turkey game tradition was born!
Now, everyday when Itsy Bitsy comes home from school she has to dress up her plush toy turkey in a new costume and “hide it” so it won’t end up as Thanksgiving dinner. BUT, if she forgets and doesn’t change the turkey’s disguise before going to bed, then I “find” the turkey and put it in the oven where it spends the night. She then rescues the Turkey from the oven the next morning. We are having a blast with this game!
Fat Mama Tip: I was surprised at how few plush turkey toys there are on Amazon. So … confession time … I bought a 9-inch dog toy And we are using doll clothes to dress it up. The doll clothes don’t really fit and the arms of the turkey don’t move, but we are having a blast with this new holiday game.
Itsy Bitsy is having so much fun with our new Fugitive Turkey game that she is even using her doll clothes (most clothes for her 18-inch My Generation dolls) to dress up her other plush toys too. She figures if her favorite lovie Poodle wears a disguise, it will help Turkey hide better and survive through Thanksgiving.
For the most part, we are using doll clothes, accessories, and random silly props that we already have. But, when I saw how into this game Itsy Bitsy was, I splurged on a few fun outfits. HOWEVER, since 18-inch doll clothes work … fairly well … for the turkey, everything I buy will be repurposed later for Itsy Bitsy’s dolls. Also, now I know all these doll clothes also … sort of … fit Poodle and other plush toys. So we are having a ton of fun with this new game and the clothes will be repurposed all year long .
I am also enjoying that this game is a fun way to introduce Itsy Bitsy to a new form of responsibility and empathy. While she has been responsible for cleaning up her plate after dinner and brushing her teeth for a while, it’s been difficult to know how to teach her about responsibilities with consequences. This game has been a fun way to introduce that concept.
If Itsy Bitsy chooses not to dress up Turkey or forgets to change Turkey’s disguise, then our poor fugitive friend finds herself spending the night in the oven. The exact place we are supposed to be helping her avoid. Now, Itsy Bitsy falling down on her responsibility to the Turkey has no real world consequences, but it does have a consequence to our game. And my child is very competitive. So this has been a fun teaching moment.
Do The Twist
In future years, I can totally see adding to this tradition by adopting Elf on the Shelf rules. Perhaps next year when Itsy Bitsy remembers to dress the Turkey, she will get up to fun mischief and cause silly bits of mayhem around the house. Or perhaps we can even take a page from the Easter Bunny’s playbook and leave Turkey Eggs around filled will fun surprises as a periodic “Thank You” for helping Turkey keep her fugitive status.
I think over the next few years, Fugitive Turkey will become a favorite holiday tradition in our house. I already am having fun with this year's version and thinking up new twists for next year is entertaining as well. What are some fun ways your family counts down to Thanksgiving?
Keep calm and gobble on!