For the past two years, we have made a Thanksgiving Tree. Originally I made a tree out of cardboard and cut out intricate leaves to staple on. I loved that tree but after two years of use and (not so careful) storage, we had to say good-bye to it. This year my son is pretty capable with scissors, so I knew that I wanted him to help cut the leaves out, and I also knew that I wanted the tree to look different than before (just for a change) so we went a completely different route.
How to Make It
First we went into the yard to gather twigs and stuck them into a fall looking vase that I had lying around the house. The kids had a fun time romping around in the leaves finding the sticks =)
Then we came inside and I traced a bunch of circles onto construction paper. I knew that my four year old couldn't handle an intricate leaf pattern, so I thought circles would be best. Plus, I knew that they wouldn't come out as perfect circles anyways, so they would look a bit more leafy because of that. We had to take a few different sessions to cut all the circles out since there were so many of them. I had full intentions of helping with the cutting, but Trevor really seemed to enjoy it so I let him do it.
Next, we sat down to brainstorm things that we are thankful for. This is a hard thing for little kids. They kept just saying things that were around them (I'm thankful for...paper, windows, etc.) so I had to give them some ideas and help them think outside the box. We wrote one thing on each leaf, hole punched them (probably the most enjoyable part for the kids!) and stuck them on the sticks.
How to Use It
Every night the kids each take a leaf down and we talk about that thing/person and then pray and thank God for it/them. If it is a person, I have Trevor write a simple note to them saying that he is thankful for them. If it is a thing, we stick the leaf on a piece of paper on the refrigerator (that I drew a simple tree on) so we can remember the things we have talked about. I think it will be neat to look back at that paper years from now to see the kinds of things the kids thought to be thankful for at 2 and 4 years old.
If you want to see another tree design, or want a printable leaf template and an "I am Thankful for You" copywork page to give to the people you are thankful for, check out my post from last year!
What kinds of ways do you practice being thankful at this time of year?