Every year since my oldest daughter was born we have recorded the things we are thankful for in some way. There is something about stopping to write down the blessings in your life that makes them that much sweeter and more appreciated. We’ve done this in a couple different ways, but last year’s was one of our favorites and the kids can’t wait to do it again this November.
We created a huge 6 foot tree out of torn and crumbled paper bag pieces on our large sliding glass doors. (As I’m sure you can guess, they really liked ripping and crumbing the brown paper!) Then I cut leaves out of our scrap construction paper. We don’t have a lot of colorful leaves here in FL for our Pumpkin Man in October so it was so nice to see all the fall colored leaves on the doors even if they were fake!
Then each of us wrote things/people/places that we were thankful for on the leaves and taped them onto the tree. There were no “rules” for the leaves, everyone did as many as they wished for anything they were thankful for. We ended up using up all of our scrap paper and I had to cut another round from fresh construction paper.
I loved everything about this thankfulness tree. The large presence of the tree in a main area in our house brought gratitude to the forefront of our day. We were constantly reading the leaves and talking about the things we were thankful for. It made us much more reflective and appreciative of the wonderful things in our lives. And seeing their answers brought a smile to my face every single time I saw them. Every single time.
How do you focus on gratitude in your family? I have to say that having young kids around makes me much more aware and appreciative of all that I have in my life! I love how being a mom makes you slow down and really see the little and big things in life–you can’t really rush through life when you’re holding hands with a 2 year old.
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I really love this idea. Thank you for sharing it!
Thanks Rachel! It’s one of our favorites too!
What a terrific idea! This is a great family activity. I really like the idea of having something thoughtful for the table centerpiece on Thanksgiving I might have to improvise and get some real tree branches… I am also a former special education teacher too. Your site has a lot of great activities. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Caryn! I love the centerpiece idea too! There was one going around pinterest last year I had wanted to try, but could not find branches that would work. I love the idea of real ones, I hope you find some! Definitely post about it if you do–I will be following your blog, it looks fantastic! I’m so glad you stopped by!
Jackie Higgins says
This is awesome! I could use a large reminder like this in my house some days when I am feeling grumbly. We have so much to be thankful for. What a great way to focus on the positives. thanks for sharing.
It really is such a mood changer–I should do it in the summer too!!
Lisa Nolan says
I really like this idea, my special needs son enjoys writing now that his fine motor is improving. And the activity is simple enough for him to do, as well as to grasp the “what are you thankful for” concept, coupled with a tree and leaves (which makes it tangeable and realistic). Kudos!
Thanks Lisa! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!
Jen Fischer says
Pinned to my Be the Change board, which is focused on gratitude this month. Did you see that we are creating Thank You Postcards this month? So excited to see everyone focusing on gratitude and sharing ways they celebrate the important act of being thankful with their kids/families.
Love your 21 day post today!!! What a great idea to link to dinner–something we all need to regroup from time to time! Just saw your postcard one today and the photo of Wild Thing making them could not be cuter! Great idea!
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I love the way you built your tree – so cool!!!
Thanks so much! It started as the scraps from paper bags the kids were using for fashion design! From paper bags they begged me to get on a trip to Whole Foods instead of using our reusable bags…the best ideas usually come out of real life!
Eddie - The Usual Mayhem says
Love it! Pinned to my fall/autumn board. 🙂
Thanks so much!!!
Krissy @ B-Inspired Mama says
This is great! I’ll be linking to it in tomorrow’s Kids Co-Op post. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂
Thanks so much Krissy! 🙂
Loved this. Featured you on my site today! I included your image, but let me know if you’d prefer I don’t and I can remove it. Beautiful tree!!