27 Days of Thankfulness {A Thanksgiving Craft for Kids}

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I love Thanksgiving. LOVE it. Of all the holidays it is still the most sincere, least commercialized … at least, it can be if you set the focus from the beginning.

One thing our family is doing to honor the holiday is creating “Thanksgiving Leaves” as our table centerpiece. It’s a great way to add a touch of fall color to your home while helping your children focus on the meaning of the day … giving thanks.

How to Make Your Own Thanksgiving Leaf Centerpiece

Materials Needed

  • Construction paper in fall colors
  • Scissors
  • A container to hold your “leaves”

Instructions

  • Start by cutting out various shapes of leaves from the construction paper, enough to last from the first of November (or whenever you start the craft) until Thanksgiving Day. (You can buy pre-cut shapes if you want, but they aren’t hard to do yourself.) Be sure there are enough leaves for every child (and parents if you would like to participate as well).
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Cut out leaf shapes in several different varieties — it’s more fun for kids to chose their own and it adds variety to your holiday decoration!
  • Each day have your child share something that they are thankful for and write it on a leaf. It can be simple or profound, whatever works! I wanted to push our daughter to really think about our blessings, and not just list a new name each day, so we lumped family and friends all together on day one. This year, I think we are going to do it in the evening as part of our reflection on the day, and choose something that happened that day to record as our Thanksgiving blessing.

Decorating Ideas for Your Leaves

As you finish each leaf, you have a couple of choices:

  • You can put them up day by day on the wall or as tree hangings in a Thanksgiving tree, similar to this idea.
  • Or you can do what we did: put them in a container that you bring out on Thanksgiving Day. Scatter the leaves on your table as a centerpiece or at other strategic locations around the house and use them to reflect back on the blessings of the month, some that you may not have remembered had you not written them down.
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Here’s an example of the first thing my daughter said she was thankful for. We labeled it as #1 and placed it in our leaf container to display on Thanksgiving.

Additional Ideas to Consider Along With This Activity

If this activity sparks something in you to begin recording those blessings, consider starting your own thankfulness journal, along the lines of what writer Ann Voskamp recommends. (And yes, her book is amazing, but no, you don’t need to read it to keep a gratitude journal.) For us, it is a great prelude to the Christmas season, when we want to focus our children’s hearts more on what they can give, not just on what they will receive.

Thanksgiving is not just a holiday or a season. It is a mindset that can last all year round. What are you going to do this year to cultivate it in your children?

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Kristi is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer, and former public school teacher for English for Speakers of Other Languages. She grew up all over the United States as an Air Force brat, but moved to Columbia in the 1990s to attend Columbia International University, and has called the Midlands “home” ever since. Her days are kept full with the antics and activities of her children, homeschooling through Classical Conversations, participating in MOPS and church activities, writing, and leading her Columbia-based pregnancy loss ministry, Naomi’s Circle. Kristi is a contributing editor for “Rainbows and Redemption: Encouragement for the Journey of Pregnancy After Loss” (www.rainbowsandredemption.weebly.com) and a co-author (with the lovely Alexa) of “Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother“ (sunshineafterstorm.us). She shares her thoughts about parenting, loss, cloth diapers, homeschooling, babywearing, and how to integrate faith and life on her blog, This Side of Heaven (www.thissideofheaven.weebly.com).

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