This month is all about thankfulness. It is a great time to talk to your kids about why you and your family are so blessed and how to be truly thankful for what you have. Using some sticks and some paper bags I created a tree that will give us an opportunity each day in November to talk as a family about why we are thankful.
I talk to my kids a lot about why they should be thankful, and I sometimes feel like it goes right over their heads. They are young, and what is important to my husband and I isn’t always what is most important to them. We did a project earlier this month where I found out my kids were thankful for things like Mario Cart and candy. I understand that at their ages they can’t grasp that those material things aren’t important at all. I wanted to find a way for us to talk about what IS really important instead of the “things” that we like. That is what inspired me to create this little tree. It is never too early for your kids to start leaning to be thankful. This thankful tree is a great way for us to start conversations with our young kids about why we are so blessed and why we are thankful for the simple things that life has to offer.
I came up with 30 things that we are thankful for as a family. The tree consists of 30 leaves each with an important word on it – something that we are thankful for. Each day in November we will be removing one leaf and talking about why the word on the leaf is important, why we are thankful for it, and how it affects our lives.
Here are the 30 words on our leaves and what we will talk about for each of them:
- Faith – What it is, why we need it, and how God will provide for us
- Kindness – How we make others feel when we are kind and why kindness makes our home happy
- Warmth – How we make our home and hearts warm and what needs to happen for it to stay that way
- Home – How lucky we are to have the comfort of home and all of the things it provides us
- Friends – List our friends and how they make our lives better
- Family – List our extended family members and discuss why the are each a blessing to us
- School – Why it so important to learn and gain knowledge
- Blessings – What we have with our family and why we are so lucky to have it
- Health – How important it is to be thankful for our health and how not everyone has it
- Strength – Both inside and out – how we are strong enough to do our work and have strong minds to cope with hard times
- Forgiveness – How we all make mistakes and forgiveness gives us a chance to do better
- Fun – How we are lucky to have fun times, great memories, and people to share them with
- Jesus – A discussion about how all 30 things to be thankful for are gifts from God
- Food – How we need nourishment to be strong and healthy
- Memories – How thoughts of the past fill our hearts with joy
- Tomorrow – The opportunity to work hard, do our best, and a promise of another day
- Today – To live in the moment and enjoy the gift that is today by doing our best
- Sunshine – How it starts each day giving us light and the ability to grow
- Laughter – How laughter makes everything better and a discussion about what makes us laugh
- Help – How sometimes we each need it and how lucky we are to have people on our lives willing to do it
- Furry Friends – A day to talk about our pets and what they bring to our home and lives
- Talents – How God provides us each with special ability’s and why it is important to use them
- Clothing – The warmth and comfort – why we need it in the cold and how we get it
- Hearts – A special discussion about how our hearts fuel our bodies to work and our minds to do good
- Bodies – How important our bodies are and how we should care for them each day
- Minds – How we show our feelings positively and think through out the day to accomplish things
- Rest – How our bodies and minds need sleep to start a new day and how we are lucky for our comfortable place to rest
- Parents – How parents don’t always say yes, but how they help children learn and grow
- Children – A discussion about how special they are and how lucky we are to have them
- Generosity – How we feel when others are generous and why we should be generous to others
I decided to make this tree to help us celebrate November and Thanksgiving but didn’t want to spend any money. I found things around our home to create a tree that would be natural and pretty enough o leave up all month long. We went outside as a family and collected some branches. They had the perfect little spots to hang our leaves on. To make our thankful tree I took a few sticks from outside and put them in a vase filled with kidney beans. The kidney beans main purpose was to help hold the sticks in place. I covered the top with some moss that I had on hand. To finish it off, I used a piece of burlap ribbon tied in a bow around the vase.
The leaves were cut from folded up brown paper bags. I put a hole in each with a hole punch and used a small piece of twine to hang them onto our branches. I wrote our 30 reasons to be thankful onto the leaves using a permanent marker. I love how the colors are natural and help celebrate fall. The full tree of leaves starts the month and as the days pass the tree loses it’s leaves. It is a great way to show and discuss the leaves falling before winter comes with your kids as well. This is symbolic and pretty piece of fall decor that will give us the opportunity to talk as a family each night about our blessings. We usually sit around the table after dinner and talk about the leaf of the day. The kids enjoy picking the leaf and I have been surprised at how long we end up sitting and talking together each day. It’s not too late to start this in your home this month. Just add a leaf for each day left or do a couple leaves each night – either way I hope you take some time to sit with your own families and talk about what you are thankful for and why!