Thanksgiving Tree

The festive season is approaching! So before we get caught up with all the planning and rushing around I wanted to take some time to remember to be thankful for all we have in our lives and to share fun times with our family.

And what better way to do that than with some kids art and craft activities!

It seemed appropriate to be inspired by nature this year and with that, I bring you the Thanksgiving Tree kids craft. You’ll probably have the paper and a few items at home, but if not they are easy to buy. You’ll also need a branch or two to make your own tree! Use this time to take a stroll around your neighborhood or local park to collect small branches while brainstorming with your kiddo what you’re grateful for.

This is a fun way to give thanks for all that we have, you can also feel good knowing that doing art and craft activities with your kids is an important part of supporting your child’s early years development.

You can make this type of tree again for other occasions, for example, gold, silver, red and green shiny leaves for Christmas, Mandarin orange tree for Chinese New Year, heart-shaped leaves for Valentine’s Day and flower blossoms for Easter/Springtime.

This activity is easy to set up and has a low “messiness” factor!

So let’s get started!

What you need:

  • A small tree branch or two
  • Paper in Autumn colours
  • Pencil, scissors, hole punch
  • String or thread to hang leaves
  • Tall vase or container for branches
  • Scrap cardboard for leaf stencil (optional)
If you don’t have sheets of paper in Autumn colours you can make the leaves with plain paper and colour them in.

Step 1: Make your “tree”

Take a stroll around your neighborhood or local park to collect small branches while brainstorming with your kiddo what you’re grateful for.

When you get home, break-off or cut-off any long bits to make a nicely shaped “tree” from your branches. (Make sure the ends aren’t too sharp for little hands!) Position it securely in your vase or container.


Step 2: Make your leaf stencils

Make a leaf stencil from cardboard if you don’t’ want to draw free-hand. Leaves can be any shapes but just make sure they are big enough to write a word or two on them. Use a pencil to trace around your leaf stencil or draw your leaves free-hand.

Tip: Fold over the paper once or twice so you can cut out 2 or 3 leaves at the same time


Step 3: Cut out your leaves

This is also a project you can do over a few days or even weeks. You can start with a few and then add a leaf each day. Write down something you are thankful for that day!

Step 4: Punch a hole in your leaves

To extend the activity, we made leaf rubbings. (My hubby’s idea!) We placed leaves over different textures and rubbed over them with wax crayons. They looked great!


Step 5: Ask “What you are thankful for?”

Talk about different things that you are thankful for. Write one thing down on each leaf. Get the whole family involved!

It’s fun to discuss and explore the different things we are thankful for. If your child is still too young to write themselves, they can trace over your word or draw a picture. Or you can write words for them.


Step 6: Attach your string

Now cut your string into pieces to attach your leaves. Each piece needs to be long enough to tie the knot and still hang on branches. Repeat for each leaf you plan to make. You can also just tie a leaf directly to the branch.


Step 7: Now make your Thanksgiving Tree!

Carefully place your leaves on different branches. You can even glue or staple 2 or more leaves together to make a bunch of leaves. Store leftover leaves in a bowl next to your tree.

Tip: If the tips of your branches are really thin, you can put a leaf on through the punched hole without using string.


I created this activity and shared it with our friends at Sassy mama earlier this week. Be sure to check out their other fab contributors for fun holiday ideas.

If you enjoyed this activity you may be interested in trying out ActivityBox! You get 4 craft projects with step-by-step instructions and all the materials you need, delivered to your home every month. See what’s inside the Box.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Miss Julie