I’m so excited to share with you one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions: A Thankful Tree. Thankful trees are a creative way to spend time cultivating gratitude with your family this holiday season.
This beautiful tradition will help you focus on all your blessings while teaching your kids to show gratitude too. Plus, these trees make beautiful centerpieces from natural elements for your home during Thanksgiving.
Thankful Tree Idea
Ready to begin creating your own beautiful Thanksgiving tradition with these gratitude trees? Keep reading to learn how to create your own thankful tree and focus on gratitude with your family this Thanksgiving season.
Teaching Gratitude with a Thankful Tree
affiliate links can be found on this blog at no cost to you.
I love seasonal decorations with natural elements. Fall is such a beautiful and colorful season! Why not bring some of those beautiful colors into your home with your Thanksgiving decorations?
This thankful tree decoration is made from materials found in nature to add simple Fall beauty to your home this season.
How to Make a Thankful Tree
Here’s what you’ll need to create your own thankful tree:
- Fall colored leaves
- Small tree branch or branches
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Fine point metallic permanent marker
Once you have chosen your branches and leaves, you’re ready to get started! I recommend brainstorming all the things you’re thankful for together as a family (or quietly with a journal if you’re completing this project by yourself).
Another option for the leaves is, you could print and cut out, freehand leaves from cardstock. We opted for natural leaves so we could talk about the different types, sizes, and textures while collecting them on a nature walk.
Thankful Tree Ideas
Talking together about all that you’re thankful for this year is an important part of learning to express gratitude.
When you’re ready to begin, use the marker to write each thing you’re thankful for on a different leaf. Then, lightly hot glue the leaves onto branches.
Finally, I like to arrange my branches in a vase for everyone to enjoy over the holiday.
You can include rice, pebbles, water beads, floral foam, or torn paper to fill the vase and help your thankful tree stand tall.
Another beautiful Thanksgiving decor idea for your thankful tree is to add fairy lights to the branches. These beautiful lights add whimsy and magic to your thankful tree, making it an addition to your Thanksgiving decorations that everyone will stop and enjoy
Gratitude for Kids
Talking About Gratitude With Kids
As you begin talking together about all the people, places, and things you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving, remind your children to think about showing gratitude to others gently by asking questions that get them thinking about their answers.
Answers like “my favorite t-shirt” from your youngest child are really cute to include on your thankful tree. These kinds of answers are also a great opportunity to encourage your child to begin to feel more gratitude by asking them to think about it some more. For example, ask questions:
- Who gave you that shirt? Wow, that person must really love you.
- Do you like all your clothes? I’m so glad we have nice clothes to wear.
- What do you like best about your favorite shirt? Why is it your favorite?
Encouraging your kids to verbally express their appreciation as you brainstorm ideas for your thankful tree will help them learn to share genuine gratitude with others in the future.
You can also encourage your kids to find more ways to express their own gratitude like writing thank you cards or engaging in random acts of kindness for others.
Thankful Tree for Your Classroom
This thankful tree is the perfect Thanksgiving project for a Reggio, Nature-inspired, Montessori classroom, or homeschool. Begin by gathering your kids for a walk in the woods. Tell them you need to find the perfect “tree” for your project. During your adventure in the woods, you can observe and admire the changing colors of leaves, the crunchy sound they make and feel the change in the air this Autumn.
You might want to have your kids take along their nature journals or small bag to collect acorns, leaves, and pebbles. Then, they can write and draw all the interesting things they found in the woods while searching for the perfect branches.
Maria Montessori once said, “The Senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.” By engaging in learning activities that include natural elements like this thankful tree and spending time in nature (perhaps as you search for the perfect branches), you are providing your little learners with fantastic learning experiences and opportunities!
Thankful Tree Activity
Children, especially young children, need time in nature and opportunities to connect with the natural world. It’s an important part of early childhood development. With this thankful tree project, you can take advantage of those learning opportunities in a unique way that helps you to experience and enjoy this season of gratitude and thanksgiving together.
After choosing the perfect “tree,” you’re ready to get started on this thankful tree project. Begin by using the tools above to talk about gratitude with your kids and get them thinking about all the things they might want to include on their own gratitude leaves before attaching them to the thankful tree. If you run out of leaves, consider adding “gratitude rocks” to the base of your tree project this Thanksgiving.
If you’re looking for more opportunities to explore the natural world with your children through Montessori inspired lessons and projects, you’ll definitely want to check out all of these amazing Montessori education activities.
We’ve shared over 3 years of learning series filled with engaging themes, Montessori inspired printables, and learning activities your kids can explore and learn from this year.
Fall Nature Table Ideas
Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition for teaching your kids about thankful hearts and showing gratitude?
How will you teach your kids about the spirit of the holiday this Thanksgiving? Share your ideas and traditions in the comment section.
Gratitude is learning to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we have received.
I can’t wait to read about how you incorporate some of these special traditions into your own Thanksgiving celebration this year too.
Studies have shown that if you like this, you will also love the following articles. I have pulled them together for you right here!
How to Make a Gratitude Tree
This Gorgeous Thankful Tree is a Perfect and Easy Thanksgiving Craft and Fall Decor made with natural materials
- tree branches
- fall leaves
- Paint Pens or Markers We liked the Mattalic pens best
- Vase or Flower Pot
Supplies for this project can be pretty flexible so feel open to work with what you have around you! We chose to go with branches from a Beechnut tree that had fallen in a storm a few weeks ago.
For the leaves, you could plan to print and cut out, freehand cut out from paper or use natural leaves. We opted for natural leaves so we could talk about the different types, sizes, and textures while collecting them on a nature walk.
To write the messages we chose to use paint pens or Metallic markers, standard markers would likely work on most leaves as another option.
We used a large glass vase to hold our tree, you could use a flower pot, large pitcher, or fun decorative bucket.
You’ll just want to make sure you choose an item that has a good amount of weight to it so it will be sturdy with the branches in it and kiddos touching it.
You could always add marbles or rocks to the bottom to help weigh it down a bit more too.
You could punch holes and loop a ribbon through each leaf to hang them up or glue them into place. We had an adult use a hot glue gun to add the leaves on. That way at the end of the season we can peel the leaves off and use new ones next year for less waste.
You could cut out a paper tree and tape that to the wall to save a bit of space. Then simply tape the leaves in place.
We ask everyone in our family what they are thankful for in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and add new leaves each day and then read them off as one of the activities each day.