My dear friend Candace wrote a great blog here about being patient and encouraging your kids in love, especially when doing crafts with your kids.

She challenged me to do fun things WITH my kids more often even if it means it might not turn out Pinterest-perfect.  That little lesson has been tugging at the back of my mind as we approach the holidays with my almost three year old. This is such a magical age of understanding and excitement. How could I not capitalize on this finite time of being little and awesome? Well, I was not really one to enjoy group projects growing up, if you know what I mean. I’m a bit of a control freak. Guys, it’s a struggle!

BUT, I’m letting go and picking my battles because God is gracious to my ridiculousness and teaches me His ways instead. Slowly but surely. HA!

So, I’ve picked some specific crafts this year to do with my daughter throughout the season to teach and play and hopefully start some family traditions. I honestly can’t wait to include the boys next year. It will be so much more messy.

My first attempt was a Thankfulness Tree. I had grand visions of a home decor-worthy tree to accent our living room with sweetness.

Ha!

I knew I was going to have to let go and let her love the craft without taking over immediately.  Laying out the paper and sketching the tree got…sketchy. PLUS the construction paper pack I bought didn’t have brown (WHAT?!) so I guess we have a Birch Thankfulness Tree.

Anyway, this really is a easy craft to do, whether you keep it up for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, use it the week prior, or even fill it up on Thanksgiving day with the whole family!

Here is what I did, but you could do this in so many different ways!

I purchased a standard poster board from the craft store along with a big pack of construction paper in various colors. You will also need a pencil, glue stick, tape, and scissors. But THAT’S IT!

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First, I set out a few pieces of construction paper (in white, but if you are cooler than me, you can really play around with the colors) and taped them together in a general tree shape. Next, I sketched a tree and branches with a pencil (not too detailed) and cut it out.

I then let my daughter use the glue stick. Oh, my!

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It was actually fine.

See?

After realizing I have no skill at drawing leaf shapes, I googled leaf drawings and traced a few different varieties onto lots of different colors. TIP: Fold the paper into quarters and cut the leaf shape only once to get four. This size ended up being perfect.

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My girl even helped fold the paper and draw leaf shapes too.

We had a great time.

Finally, I found a silver paint marker and wrote Psalm 107:1 on the bottom: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.”

There are a TON of great thankfulness verses! I chose this one because it was short and simple enough for my daughter to memorize.

TADA!

I hung it on the wall at about her height (mistake because her twin baby brothers have tried to destroy it, but it has survived.)

Now every night, we say the verse together. Then we write something she is thankful for on a leaf and tape it to the tree.

I’ve had to let go of the tree aesthetic–I let her choose where to place the leaves–but she loves it and is very proud of our craft.

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It has been so fun to hear what she is thankful for each day. To date, the list includes:

Apple juice, pants, lions, trees, Dad, Mimi, noses, pillows, and cars.

I encourage you to do this or something similar with your kiddos while they are small! It was SO EASY ! Even though I made it even simpler than I may have initially planned, I loved including my daughter in our craft. I think in the best ways, it is definitely Pinterest-worthy!

TIP: My mom had the idea to laminate the tree/background part so that it lasts for a few years. Then you only have to re-do the leaves. My mom is a teacher. Also, full disclosure, she made some of my leaves and hers look legitimately awesome. She has the gift. 

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Elizabeth P
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