It’s November and time to get ready for the next holiday, Thanksgiving. I like to talk with my son about what the holiday means in a way he can understand and what the holiday means to me. Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday as an adult since it involves no gifts, just sharing good food with family and friends.
One way we get ready for Thanksgiving is reading books about the holiday or about turkeys. Check with your local library for some great seasonal books. We also start talking about what we are thankful for and why we are thankful. One way to discuss thankfulness is by creating a Thankful Tree. This was a more involved project than usual for my son’s short attention span, so I broke it up into parts over the course of the day. We did the drawing and tracing at one sitting, he played while I cut everything out, and then he came back later to add the thankful words and sayings. I also decided to attach this tree to my refrigerator and made the hands magnetic and changeable. Besides being able to add different thankful words on different days, my son loves to play with magnets on the fridge door. You can skip the magnet part and just adhere the hands with tape to the tree.
- large piece of cardboard, brown paper, or similar, approximately 11″ x 14″ (I used a piece of brown wrapping paper from Ikea, but cardboard would have been sturdier.)
- several sheets of construction paper or foam sheets in autumn colors
- roll of magnet tape (AC Moore sells this for aobut $.80)
- pencil, markers
- glue, if you think you need it. I found that the magnet tape was sticky enough
- I used a piece of brown wrapping paper and hand drew, poorly, an outline of a tree with branches. A very basic tree, with fairly thick branches. I then asked my son to color it as he liked. He added some bark embellishments to the bottom.
- I then traced both of his hands on the colored foam sheets using a pencil, although construction paper would work as well. He traced my hand and his dad’s hand too.
- Cut out the tree and hands. The tree was a bit tricky for me since I used wrapping paper. It would have been easier if it was cardboard. I then used my son’s cut-out hands to trace and cut out more out of different colors.
- Cut off approximately one inch pieces of the magnet tape and adhere it to the back of each hand.
- Tape the tree to your refrigerator or other magnetic surface. If you prefer to not clutter up your refrigerator like mine, tape it to a door or wall and skip adding the magnet tape. Just tape the hand/leaves to the tree.
- Talk to your child about what he or she is thankful for and help them come up with words or short phrases that can be written on their hands. On the brown hands I used a white paint marker so it would stand out. On the others I used a sharpie pen, but a regular marker would work too.
- Decorate the tree with it’s leaves! We left a few blank so that throughout the month we can update what we are thankful for as Thanksgiving draws near.
You can read more about preschool crafts, activities and food on Diane’s blog, Knitting Zeal.