Today I made a thankfulness tree. I had seen a few of them last year and decided that I really wanted to make one this year. This was super easy, uses materials that you probably already have at home and can totally involve the kiddos if you want it to.
What You'll Need:
- A container to put your tree in. I used an empty pickle jar but you can use a mason jar, terracotta pot, anything that you already have.
- Sticks with lots of tiny branches. If you live in the armpit of Southern California like I do and are wearing a tank top and shorts like I am in this 95 degree weather, then you may decide to go to a craft store and purchase some branches (mine were $3.99 at Joanns) BUT if you are blessed with weather that is actually conducive to being outside, this is a great opportunity to go on a nature walk and find some sticks to use.
- Something to keep the sticks in place. I used some decorative sand that I already had. You could also use rice, popcorn kernels, beads, beans, anything that will help keep the sticks in place.
- Construction paper in fall colors (a different color for each family member is fun) cut into leaves (see template link below) or silk leaves
- A pen or permanent marker
- Optional: Decorations for your container. I used some lace I had lying around and a flower clip that my mom made for Makenzie. You can even just tie some cute fall ribbon around your container and call it done.
- Optional: Twine or string for hanging leaves. I just poked holes in the leaves and hung them on the branches which worked well for me. It may not work for you if your sticks & branches are fatter
If you want to decorate your container I would do this first. You can have your kiddos paint it, glue on some decals, tie a bow around it, whatever you'd like.
Next, you'll place your branches in the container and arrange them the way you'd like. Pour your sand, rice, beads, whatever you're using, into the container and rearrange the sticks further if needed.
This is the annoying part...the leaves. I started out hand cutting some fancy leaves but then decided it was too tedious and just used my Cricut to cut plain leaves. If your kiddos are old enough to cuton heir own, I found this printable that you could print on colored paper and have them cut the leaves out themselves. I like the idea of each family member having their own color but you can do it however you'd like.
Once you've finished cutting out your leaves, you'll make holes in them. I used a super tiny screw driver we had but you can use a needle, pointy end of a compass, anything that will easily make a hole in the paper. If you are using twine or string you'll also want to string the twine through the hole. And voila! You have a thankfulness tree, which makes a great fall centerpiece too.
How to Use It:
Each day, each family member takes a blank leaf off of the tree, writes what they're thankful for and hangs it back on the tree. I put ours on our dining room table so that we can do this during dinner and discuss the things we're thankful for. If you don't want blank leaves on your tree you can also just hang the leaves on the tree as you fill them out. At the end of the month I will put all of the leaves in a Ziploc baggie and label it with the date so that we can keep the leaves to look back on for years to come.
It's only the 5th of November and you probably have a lot of the stuff to make this now, even if you have to use some makeshift white leaves for today. We have only done it once but it's already been a lot of fun. We had just finished our devotions about heaven so her first thing she was thankful for was "to go to heben." I wrote her name on the back and dated it just for keepsake purposes.
If you do one I'd love to see it!