First published in 2007, but still one of my favorite Kidoinfo projects and love seeing how others have adapted it over the yeas.
This project has become a Thanksgiving tradition in our house. It’s a way to celebrate fall and remind us of the many relatives and friends we have to be thankful for. This project can be adapted for kids of all ages and it’s a nice way to teach kids the value of caring for others.
• 1 piece of posterboard (I used 30” x 40”) for the tree
• heavyweight white paper to paint on or colored contstruction paper for leaves
• paints, brushes, sponges
• markers, scissors, glue stick
• Draw a tree shape on large posterboard (or any paper size of your choice) and cut out tree shape (optional).
• You and/or kids can color it with paint, markers, crayons, oil pastels, etc.
• The first time I did this project, my boys were about two – old enough to hold a fat paintbrush or sponges dipped in paint. Have children paint whole sheets of paper in different fall colors. (Less-mess option: Cut leaves from colored construction paper.)
• Once the paper is dry, cut out leaf shapes. If your child can handle scissors, they can help cut out the leaves.
• Think of all the friends, family, caregivers, and neighbors for whom you and your kids are thankful, and write their names onto the leaves with a marker and glue them on the tree.
In theory you can save your tree from year to year and add/repair leaves as needed. I am not always good at remembering where I store things, so we have recreated this project a few times, and each version looks a little different.