The beautiful fall weather and wonderful fall activities always makes us anxious for one of our favorite holidays: Thanksgiving.  The fall season is a great time to talk about thankfulness with your child.  While this may seem awkward or more like a lecture, we believe it doesn’t have to be.  One of our favorite fall activities is also a great teaching tool.  Feel free to reserve this one for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We think it would be fun to get all your extended family and friends in on the action.  This is also an easy project to adapt.  You don’t have to follow this by the book.  Simply use what you’ve got around the house and start saying, “Thank You”!
What You’ll Need:

  • For the tree trunk, you’ve got a few options:
    • Brown paper and tape
    • Bucket, sand, branches and tape
  • For the leaves, you can use:
    • Real leaves
    • Assorted colors of construction paper and stencils
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Open space inside to set it all up

How You’ll Do It: 

  • First things first, assemble your tree trunk.
    • If you’re using the brown paper, cut it into long strips and crush and crinkle it to look like a gnarled tree.  Tape it up in a corner of your house.  Put the base of the tree at the crease of the corner, then have the branches grow out from there.
    • If you’re using the bucket, fill it with sand, dirt or rocks.  Then stick the branches or twigs you found securely in the bucket. Move it into a space where everyone will have to walk by it.
  • Next, start making your leaves.
    • If you’re using real leaves, there’s no need to craft further. Simply collect the leaves in a bowl or basket and set them near your tree trunk.
    • If you’ve got construction paper on hand, you can use stencils or simply trace a real leaf as a pattern.  Have your kids help you trace and then you can cut out the leaf shapes.  Gather them in a basket near your tree.
  • Finally, let the thankfulness begin.
    • Leave markers and tape with the basket of leaves near your tree.
    • Each night, before dinner or bedtime, have your kids come up with one specific thing they’re thankful for.  Have them write it on one leaf with a marker and then tape it on a branch of the tree.
    • At the end of the week, read out all that your family is thankful for.

The thankful tree is a great photo opportunity for your kids.  If you continue this tradition from year to year, it would be great to look back on years past and see how your kids have grown!  Don’t forget to snap a few pictures of what’s on those leaves and remember to be thankful every day!