Thanksgiving, widely known as a holiday in which to fill our belly to its very fullest in order to test our pants button holding power can also be an excellent time to teach our children about being thankful. Having physical evidence of the attributes, behaviors and material items we have and are thankful for can be very powerful. I think that for children especially, the actual act of thinking and writing down what they are thankful for is highly beneficial. It is all good saying that you are thankful for your mom, but writing it down? Well, then it becomes official.
I have also been using my tree as an opportunity to reward my kids with positive reinforcement. So often, I am bogged down with what they’re doing wrong like tracking mud in the house, feeding the dog apples and shoving pennies down the toilet. That I forget to notice the good like when my son opens the door for his little sister, or the fact that he feeds the dog every morning, or when my 2 year old daughter puts her finished breakfast plate on the kitchen counter. So for me, this Thankful Tree means so much because makes me examine the everyday positives in our lives.
This craft, which was inspired by similar crafts floating on Pinterest is great for children 2 years old and up.
- Brown Craft Paper – I found a roll at the 99-cent store. When I asked on Facebook where I could find a roll of brown butcher paper friends suggested teacher supply stores, smart n final, office supply stores, nursery’s and restaurant supply stores.
- Construction Paper – Since this is a Fall, Thanksgiving craft I suggest green, red, orange and yellow
- Painters tape – I like using blue painter’s tape (which can be found at any home improvement store) because it sticks well and is repositionable.
- Crayons or other do-dads for embellishment. Although we did not embellish our tree or leaves, I can totally see glitter or sequence or pom poms to fancy up the tree if you wanted.
- Have your children trace their hands on the colored construction paper. The hand cut out’s will be the thankful tree’s leaves. My son loved doing this all my himself; he loved cutting out his hand shapes too. My 2-year-old daughter loved coloring on the construction paper, which I then traced her hands on for her and cut out.
- Tape the top of the roll of the brown craft paper to where you’d like the top of your tree to be. Allow the paper to unroll to the floor, cut the bottom and tape the bottom.
- Sketch out the shape of your tree. I googled “tree stencil” for inspiration.
- Cut out the shape of your tree. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Secure the tree to the wall with painters tape from behind.
- Place the hand “leaves” around the branches.
Get Thankful and have fun!