Instead of just giving thanks one day in November, focus on being thankful all month long with this craft. Create this tree of thanks and ask everyone in your family — young and old — to add a leaf inscribed with something they’re thankful for every day of the month. Adding one new leaf to the tree each day encourages thoughtful expressions of gratitude and gets the whole family excited to watch their handmade tree grow.
- 1 roll of kraft paper
- Painter’s tape (or any tape that will not damage your wall)
- Green, orange, and yellow construction paper
- Glue (such as Elmer’s Glue-All)
- Freshly fallen leaves
- Tracing paper
- Green, orange, and yellow crayons
- Black marker
PART 1: THE TREE Step 1: Cut a 4-foot piece of kraft paper for the tree trunk. Bunch the paper together and use painter’s tape to secure the edge of the paper to the wall, wrapping it behind the center to hide the edge. Twist additional sections of paper and wrap them across the tree to add definition and shape to the trunk.
Step 2: Twist long sections of paper for the branches. Don’t worry about gluing or taping the strands, as kraft paper holds its shape well.
Step 3: Add the branches to the tree, working your way out from the center of the trunk. Each piece is lightweight and should only need to be taped to the backside of the trunk at one end and the wall at the other (loop a piece of tape around itself and put it behind the branch so it doesn’t show).
Step 4: Once your tree has taken shape, add some initial color before adding your gratitude leaves by cutting and creasing leaf shapes from construction paper. Kids can help with this step. Once finished, add a drop of glue to the end of each paper leaf and stick them on the tree.
PART 2: THE LEAVES
Step 1: Collect a few freshly fallen leaves (the fresher, the better!). If you have kids, send them outside to gather the leaves. Press the leaves between books if they won’t lay flat or if you won’t immediately be making the craft. Step 2: Put leaves under tracing paper and gently color onto the paper with a crayon, creating a rubbing of the leaf. Kids can do this step.
Step 3: Once you’ve colored the leaves, cut out the leaves, following the edge of the leaf rubbing. Have younger children trace around the outside of the leaf before removing the tracing paper to make it easier for them to see where to cut the paper.
Step 4: Ask everyone to write something they’re thankful for on the leaves with black marker. For the month of November, encourage family members to add a new gratitude leaf to the tree every day, so while the leaves are falling from the trees outside, yours will be covered with words of thanks indoors.
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