Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful Tree!

Our Thankful Tree is becoming one of my favorite activities to do with the kids!!!  This year I am finding as many "teachable moments" as possible to incorporate into this project!
To make your own tree, you will need:
1. brown packing paper (I got my roll from the Dollar Tree!)
2. brown paint, markers, or crayons
3. construction paper or leaf doilies (which i found at the Dollar Tree years ago, but can't find any more :/, so now we make our own leaves!)

First, tape your paper to the floor, and draw a tree on it!  Don't worry about how you think it looks.  ALL trees are different, and yours will be unique to your home!, it will eventually be covered in leaves :)
Next, confine any smaller children to a chair so that they won't run through the paint and drag it all over the house :D  Then, have your child(ren) paint/color their tree! 
I think this may have been the first year that T-Man was actually excited to do this whole project :D
It's ok if the paint or marker gets outside the lines of the tree because you'll be cutting it all out!
I knew that we would be making our own leaves this year, so while T was at school, I let Livie paint!  I had put her painting projects on hold for a bit because she was wanting to eat the paint more than putting it on the paper (*sigh).  Thankfully, this time, she loved dipping her brush in the water, and then the paint!
I drew leaves onto the paper, and then let T cut them out!  His teachers had recommended letting the kids cut at home, like cut anything and everything, so BAM! cutting we will do! :D  He loved it!  I think he's thrilled any time I let him use scissors!
He was really into doing each step of this on his own, by himself, and then presenting me with the completed project at the end with a flourish and celebration! ...I have no idea where he gets that from ;)
Next, we began talking about what it meant to be thankful.  This has continued to be a difficult subject to convey to tiny people, but T is doing much better with this concept.  We talked about things that we are glad that God has given us, things that we are happy we have, people who we love, and so one.  
So, I asked him what he was thankful for, to which he responded,
"going bowling!"
It's working, right?! ;)
So, we continued.
He listed more, and then wanted to write them all on his leaves!!! (More school practicing!!!!)
I watched in awe as we spelled the words together, and he wrote the letters all by himself!  Yes, some were backwards, and some were not made perfectly, but he was practicing, and improving, and I love it!
Next, tape the tree to the wall! (Please pardon the horrible pictures!  We recently rearranged the toy room and moved our tree spot next to the window :/ Great to look at, not great to take pictures of!)
Remember that other child being restrained and throwing every Cheerio available on the floor?!  There she is!  She's as thrilled as T, because although she wasn't physically involved, she watched and celebrated, and totally thinks she made the whole thing! :D  Man, I love that girl!
And, there you have it!  A Thankful Tree in a morning! :D 1 project, many steps, covering many learning concepts! :D  We will continue to talk about thankfulness and hanging leaves on our tree daily until it is covered with colorful blessings!