Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giving Trees {A Simple Kids Craft for Thanksgiving!}

With Thanksgiving approaching, there are many beautiful crafts and activities to do to show our thanks.  But along with giving thanks for all that we have, why not also do an activity about giving to others?  "Giving Trees" are a wonderful way for little ones to think of ways to serve others this Fall as as Thanksgiving draws closer.  Inspired by the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, along with wanting a craft to celebrate the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 17th), I came up with the idea of making a giving tree.  The base is made from a paper lunch bag, and on the leaves are written ways to give to others.  Simple and sweet!

One of my favorite children's stories!

The trees are very easy to make, and you only need a few basic supplies:

--a brown paper lunch bag (I used the larger size)
--autumn colored cardstock, cut into leaf shapes
--a hole punch


1) Open your brown paper lunch bag and set it on the table. 

2)  Grab your bag around the center and twist in one direction, while keeping the bottom of bag (your tree base) pressed firmly on the table.  While twisting center of bag, be sure the base will stand upright.  If you wish, you may tuck the corners of the bag so they are not visible, making it look round, instead of rectangular.

3) Fan open the top of your bag and make about 8 vertical slits with your scissors, down toward the center of your "tree trunk". These strips will become your tree branches.  They should be approx. one inch wide and 4 inches long (this craft is very forgiving so don't stress over counting and measuring!)

4) Scrunch each strip with your hands, twisting tightly in any one direction to form your tree branches.  You may wish to shape them by giving them a bit of a curve, like a real tree branch.  This is the fun part!

5)  Once all of your branches are formed, be sure to twist the tips of each branch very tightly, so that your paper leaves will be able to slide onto the branches easily.

6)  Cut some simple fall leaf shapes from your cardstock.  Punch a hole in the top of each leaf.

7)  Write various ways to give to others on each leaf.

8)  Marvel at the simple beauty of your Giving Tree...and then get givin'! :)

Here's a quick at-a-glance reference of each step:

That's all!  Easy, right?  They look really pretty placed in a group together (like a forest!), and would make a beautiful centerpiece for a kid's table on Thanksgiving.  

And, of course, you must read The Giving Tree together, to make this activity complete. :)  And, for my Catholic friends, if you wish to incorporate this activity with St. Elizabeth of Hungary's feast day, the Loyola Book of Saints (a wonderful book which arranges saint stories by theme!) has a lovely story about her life of giving, and Charlotte from Waltzing Matilda has a beautiful coloring sheet that you could use as well.

Happy Crafting!

Shared with:

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  1. What a great project!
    We do a thankful tree, but it's not as elaborate as that. I just paint a tree on a big piece of craft paper, then cutout leaves that we write the things we're thankful for on them.

  2. Thanks! Sounds like your tree was really great, too! I'm a sucker for tree crafts because I love trees so much. :)

  3. A very good idea for creativity with a child, I think that my son will come up with the idea of making such a tree.

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  22. What a delightful and thoughtful craft idea for Thanksgiving! I love how it incorporates the spirit of giving inspired by The Giving Tree. The simplicity of the materials and steps makes it accessible for children to participate and understand the importance of serving others. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming activity!
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