Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, One and All!

I found a wonderful craft activity that would be great for children 2+ to share with their parents. Here are the directions for creating your own "Tree of Thanks".

Creating a Tree of Thanks

  • Naked branches (Note: it would be a nice activity to go on a walk with the kids and let them pick the branches for themselves)
  • String or yarn
  • Construction paper or card stock for leaves (Note: these could also be prefab dye cuts, pre-cut by a grownup or with older kids you could make a leaf stencil for them to trace and then cut out the leaves for themselves)
  • Terra cotta pot or basket
  • Floral foam, gravel and or decorative marbles to support the branches in the container
  • Hole punch
  • First create the leaves, if they are already cut out then you can jump straight to the next step, otherwise trace a leaf shape (I recommend oak or maple) on your paper and cut out as many leaves as you'd like, at least 3 per person.
  • Next put the gravel into your chosen container and then add the branches in such a way that they are well supported, not slumping over and look like a small tree or shrub.
  • Then write what you are thankful for on each leaf. Older children can write this for themselves and younger kids may be encouraged to try. Parents can also take dictation for younger children and should of course add their own contributions of gratitude to the leaves. (Note: this portion of the activity helps develop print awareness and fine motor skills in pre-school aged children and written communication skills in older kids).
  • Finally, punch a hole in the end of each leaf and thread it with the yarn. To help with fine motor skills parents may wish to have the children tie their own knots in the strings before allowing the kids to put each of their blessings on a branch, being sure to share with every one else what it is they are thankful for as they do. Again, care givers should definitely include their own blessings on the tree.

In the end you will have a Tree of Thanks that not only has helped develop fine motor and communication skills, but more importantly makes a great centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table that focuses on gratitude and the true meaning of the holiday.

Now here are some great books to share with your family this Thanksgiving:
May your family have a blessed and wonderful holiday!

Be sure to check back here a week from today for the first installment of A Story A Day 'Til Christmas.

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