One of the greatest lessons kiddos can learn is how to be thankful for what they have, but it can be a hard lesson to teach and a hard concept to grasp. Try out one, or all, of these crafts that focus on gratitude to start a discussion with the whole family on thankfulness and gratitude during this holiday season.
Materials: Medium-sized pumpkin, black sharpie (or any color of your choosing)
Instructions: Start at the top of the pumpkin and write “We are thankful for…” curving it around the stem. Each day, have each family member add one or two things they’re thankful for, writing your list in a spiral around the pumpkin. Start with the important things like family, friends, and pets and then add all the fun little things your family is thankful for: cookies, a favorite TV show, sleeping in on weekends. By Thanksgiving Day, your pumpkin will be filled with everything your family is thankful for. Use your finished pumpkin for a table setting decoration or have it on display for your family and guests to see and discuss!
Why I love it: It creates a daily discussion on thankfulness and gratitude. Talking as a family about all the things you’re thankful for creates an environment of gratitude and teaches kiddos to be thankful for all they have.
Materials: Printable leaves template, one 14-inch embroidery hoop, yarn, cardstock
Instructions: Starting with a short tail, wrap the yarn around the hoop, crisscrossing in all directions as you go. It’s great to start out with a medium weight yarn in an autumnal color. Wrap your hoop as many times as you want until it starts looking like it can catch some leaves! Cut the yarn and tie it to your starting tail in a knot. Add a second layer of yarn in another autumnal color or weight, repeating the crisscrossing. Print your leaves template on cardstock (or have your kiddos draw their own leaves on colored construction paper), cut them out, and keep a pen nearby. Write down what you’re thankful for or a special memory from the year and place your leaves between the yarn for them to stay put.
Why I love it: This is a great craft for the whole family to do together throughout the month. By Thanksgiving day, your leaf catcher will be full of leaves and you can read aloud what each family member has written. Plus, it’s colorful, simple and requires few materials!
Materials: Printable tree template; red, orange, yellow ink pads; pen or marker
Instructions: Print a tree template of your choosing by typing “tree template” into Google, which gives you so many options to choose from. Using your ink pads, have your little ones use their thumbprints to create fall foliage on their tree. Once their tree looks full and autumnal, have them start writing their family members’ names near the leaves. You can start with grandparents, great-grandparents, or any parent you’d like.
Why I love it: Teaching your kiddos about the members of your family and how everyone is connected is a great way to create togetherness and show them that families come in all different shapes and sizes and that there are so many family members that love them.
By Carlynn Arcese, Glazer Children’s Museum
Originally published in the November 2019 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.