How to Make a Thankful Tree with Handprint Leaves

On Thanksgiving, we get the family together for a big, delicious dinner. We remember old times, and catch up on what’s currently going on in everyone’s lives. And, if we stick with tradition, we take time to reflect on the things we’re thankful for.

Unfortunately, the idea of giving thanks is often forgotten during the holiday festivities. But there are ways we can encourage our children (and other children in the family) to think about the good things in their lives. This “thankful tree” craft works nicely, and it’s also fun to make. Here’s how to do it.

What You Need

* Brown kraft paper
* Construction paper in orange, red, yellow and brown
* Pencil
* Crayons, markers or pen
* Scissors
* Cork bulletin board
* Thumbtacks or stapler with staples


1. Using the pencil, draw a tree trunk with branches on the brown kraft paper. Make it large enough to fill up most of the bulletin board. Cut out and tack or staple to the bulletin board.

2. Have a child trace his or her hand onto a piece of the construction paper and cut it out.

3. Have the child use a marker, crayon or pen to write his or her name on the handprint, as well as something he or she is thankful for. When finished, tack or staple the “leaf” onto the tree trunk.

4. Ask each child to make a leaf, or more than one if so desired. Arrange the leaves on the tree so that it is evenly covered.


* If you don’t have a bulletin board, you could attach your thankful tree to a door or wall. If doing so, use thumbtacks for best results.

* Adults can participate as well, but their handprints may be too large if you’re using a small bulletin board. To remedy this, you could simply cut smaller leaf shapes and have them ready for your guests to write on when they arrive.

* If you don’t have enough handprints to cover your tree, have children make leaf rubbings by placing a leaf under a plain white piece of paper and rubbing the side of the crayon over it. Cut them out and add them to the tree to fill in the empty spaces.

* Want a more authentic-looking tree? Place a small tree branch into a flowerpot and fill with sand, marbles or rocks so that it stands up straight. Use a hole punch to make holes in the handprint leaves and tie them to the branch with string or twine, letting them hang down a bit. You could even add a string of white miniature holiday lights if you like. This makes a lovely centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table!


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