It’s November and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching – my favorite time of year! I love the ideas I’ve seen all over Pinterest about having a “Thankfulness Tree” for our family during the month of November or playing an easy gratitude game. If you haven’t seen them, the idea is that family members add a leaf each day, writing on it something for which they are thankful.
These trees are such a sweet family building activity and I love the intentionality behind it. If you’ve read my past posts, you know that I really want to be intentional about fostering a spirit of thankfulness in my 17-month-old daughter, Sophie. So I set out to figure out a way I could modify this Thankfulness Tree idea for a young toddler.
I decided that to make it work, we would start the month with a full tree. Each leaf would contain a photo of someone or something that my sweet toddler would recognize and be thankful for. In fact, most of them are words that she “says” in her own way and will immediately know. Each day, she will choose a leaf (or I will choose whichever one she is paying the most attention to!) and we will say a short prayer of thanksgiving for that person or thing.
For example, I’m pretty sure the first picture my little Daddy’s girl will notice will be “Dada.”
So we will take the leaf off the tree and say a short prayer something this:
“Dear God, Thank You for Dada. Amen.”
And we may try to do something special for Dada that day – make a picture, cook his favorite meal, call him at work to tell him we miss him, etc. You get the idea. We’ll then place the leaf on the “ground” below the tree (since leaves fall in Autumn anyway!).
I included each family member individually, but you could easily include family groups instead (Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt and Uncle, etc.) Other than family members, here is what else I included on our list to make it to thirty days (in case you need some inspiration!):
- A couple of her friends
- Baby (her baby doll and absolute favorite toy)
- Baby (the one in Momma’s belly!) – this is the only one she won’t easily recognize on the tree, but it’s something I am trying to start talking about with her, so I wanted to include him or her!
- Some other ideas I thought of included “outside,” birds (because she spends lots of time birdwatching outside our window), her bed, paci, and other favorite toys.
Make Your Own!
Your tree can be as simple or complex as you would like it to be! For ours, I simply took some brown craft paper (postal paper I found at the dollar store!) and painted a bare tree.
I used my Cricut machine to cut some leaves out of cardstock, but you could easily cut out your own or use a template online to make the shapes. (Here’s a great one from Preschool Mom.) Then I used a paper punch to cut all my pictures into circles (but you could just cut them out however!) and adhered them to the leaves. I used sticky tack to attach the leaves on the tree so we could move them around.
I am really looking forward to sharing this special activity with Sophie during the coming month!
Looking for another way to plant seeds of faithfulness in your toddler? Check out this post about Planting Seeds of Thanksgiving in Your Little One.
Written by Alicia from Teacher Turned Momma