Craft Time: The Thankful Tree

IMG_3361November! Leaves have changed into their brilliant colors and then made magnificent blankets underneath each naked tree. Temperatures are dropping, and many are donning their scarves, boots, or dare I say favorite spots teams colors. Fire places have began to crackle and ovens have started emitting the delightful fragrances of baked meals and desserts. Mugs are being held with both hands, and noses are breathing in steam.  Oh the loving traditions fall brings!

One tradition that seems to start in late October is hearing or seeing people talk or write about what they are thankful for. Now we all know that we should not just spout out our thanksgivings during one month a year and appreciate them through out instead, but lets face it… It’s hard! Especially when we get into the routine of waking, rushing kids out the door, do our duties throughout the day, come home, help with home work, make a meal, put a number of little ones to sleep, and then either crash on the couch or crawl into bed. While doing all these daily tasks it can be very difficult to shout out… “Thank you for the Sun! Thank you for the neighbor who picked up our trash can that fell over! Thank you that my child is learning in school! Thank you for freedom in this country! Thank you for health, love, hugs, music, rain, food, comfort, teachers, and so on.”

Part of why we have this month is to rejoice in our blessings. To share that we are thankful, and that luckily as humans we can have that in our nature. Children learn from those around them, and that is why teaching this particular trait is crucial. Pointing out the positive things on a daily basis helps children to learn to be optimistic and more positive.  When they say “I hate the rain!” A positive come back is, “But what does the rain help out with… Our planet, the plants, our food, and more!” Taking it further to point out a break in the rain. “Look at that, that cloud is letting us stay dry while we walk into school… Yay!”

Looking for the silver lining of any cloud is hard, but teaching our little ones will help them in the future with their feelings. It can help them get through tough situations and also help if they are experiencing depression.

So perhaps having a month to point out what good things are happening in your day can be a great way to start teaching your little one the lesson of being grateful.

IMG_3868There are many ways that people have done this.  We wanted to bring up just one this year and we’ll do more in the future to come! The Thankful Tree! This is a simple craft that requires some craft paper, scissors, and tape.

 

Gather your things:

  • This image above required the background to have (6) pieces of blue construction paper and (3) pieces of green.
  • The tree can be made up of one or two pieces of brown construction paper that were cut and taped together.
  • The leaves and sun were also made of construction paper, cut from a variety of colors.
  • You can also see that there are foam leaves on the example above. You can get them from a craft section this time of year, but make sure you get the kind you can write on, and it is also helpful if they have the sticky back.
  • You will also need tape and glue.
Tape the nine pieces of construction paper together three across and three down.  (6) blue and (3) green
Tape the nine pieces of construction paper together three across and three down. (6) blue and (3) green

Now get creative!

Let your kiddos help you to tape the background pieces together.  There will be three pieces taped together across and down, running lengthwise.  You will end up having a nine piece panel background that looks like a vertical rectangle.

DSC_5265Then start to make your tree.  I cut (1) piece of brown construction paper in half vertically.  then I placed the two short ends together and drew a tree trunk on it.  Afterwards, I let the kids cut out the trunk.  With the left over scraps, the girls cut thin strips for the branches.

DSC_5271Now you and the kids can glue down your tree trunk onto the background.  Remember to give some spacing between the branches for your leaves.

They can also cut out pieces to make a sun, clouds, flowers, grass at the bottom of the tree, or anything else their minds can come up with!

I cut out the leaves by layering four pieces of paper together, and then proceeded to make a simple leaf pattern.  I store them in a large ziplock bag, along with a pen and glue stick to we can add our leaves each day.  Sometimes there are days where we add a lot of leaves.

Now find a spot to hang up your tree and get ready to start posting your leaves each day!

Grateful Leaves

DSC_5279This part is where you start to see the craft come together, and many times you will be surprised what your kids might say.  Sometimes you may not like what they are, or wish that it was something bigger, but please don’t say anything discouraging.  You want them to willingly participate, and enjoy the process.  Also, it’s alright to be thankful for things you might not think are a big deal.  In his or her mind, small things can be BIG!  

You can leave up this tree until the end of the month or the end of the year. We left our tree up last year till the end of the year, and it was incredible how full it got, and really helped to make the holidays even more special.  IMG_3880

We hope that this craft is one that you will enjoy doing with your kids. We wish you the very happiest of November blessings Discover! Friends! Happy crafting!

For more Thankful Tree examples check out Discover! Children’s Museum Pinterest Thankful Tree board.