Teaching and practicing thankfulness is so important and November is the perfect month to do this.
According to Harvard Health Publishing from Harvard Medical School, “giving thanks can make you happier. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
The Bible also has many verses encouraging thanksgiving. When we are thankful we feel more content, instead of feeling entitled or demanding. It helps us focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have.
Over the years our family has done a variety of things to practice gratefulness and thankfulness for what we have.
Check out these 3 DIY Thanksgiving decorations that can increase your happiness and add a lovely fall decor to your table: the Turkey Basket, the Thankfulness Tree, or the Thanksgiving Bowl.
Since I have been teaching art for the last 7+ years, I have noticed that many students are not able to comfortably cut out paper items. This is a great activity to help with scissor skills!
- Wooden Spoon
- Skewers or chopsticks
- Wire or glue
- Colored paper – red, orange, yellow
- Pencil or pen
- Cutter (optional)
- Print out of the feathers, beak, and wattle (see download below)
- Print out of “I AM SO Thankful for” (see download below)
- Container to hold the blank strips of “I AM SO Thankful for” paper and pen
Print out the feathers on the color of paper labeled at the top.
Cut them out.
Glue or tape them to skewers.
Wire the skewers with alternating colors to the other side of the basket. You can glue them to the basket with tacky glue or hot glue, if you want to.
For the beak: Cut it out, fold it on the dotted line, and bend in the 2 rectangular tabs.
Tape or glue the tabs so that the dotted lines are inside and the paper makes the top of the beak.
Draw eyes on the spoon, or draw some small eyes on a piece of paper and glue them on, or feel free to add googly eyes, if you have them. Glue on the beak. Attach the red wattle under the beak.
Wire the spoon to the front of the basket.
Print out the “I AM SO thankful for” sheet and cut the slips of paper out. Leave the slips of paper on the table in a jar or box with a pen or pencil. Write the things you are thankful for, fold them, and put them in the basket.
Watch your turkey grow!
- Print out of leaves
- Pencil or pen
- Colored paper – red, orange, yellow, green (see download below)
- Tree branch
- Something to stand the tree branch in (I used a jar with popcorn kernels in it.)
Print out the leaves on colored paper.
Cut them out and write what you are thankful for.
Tape them on the branches.
Another option is to gather real leaves, trace them, and cut them out.
Thanksgiving bowl or basket
If you don’t have time to make a turkey or tree, or if you or your family would like a little more sophisticated arrangement, try a bowl or basket. Add some pumpkins, squash, or colorful leaves for a fall centerpiece.
- Bowl or basket
- Leaves, squash, or pumpkins for decoration
- Colored paper – red, orange, yellow for printing (see download below)
- Pencil or pen
- Cutter or scissors
- Jar to hold the paper and pens
Print out the “I AM SO thankful for” sheet and cut the slips of paper out.
Leave the slips of paper on the table in a jar or box with a pen or pencil. Write the things you are thankful for, fold them, and put them in the bowl.
You can write things daily throughout the month and put them in the basket, stick them to the tree, or fill the bowl. We even invite guests to fill out some too.
We usually read some on Thanksgiving, but my kids still pull them out throughout the month and read them anytime.
Here are some categories to get you started:
Ideas of things to be thankful for:
- People (family, neighbors, friends)
- Shelter (buildings and places we like to go)
- Food (favorite foods, healthy foods)
- Clothing (favorite outfits, coats when cold, swimsuits when it is warm)
- Freedoms & opportunities
- Vacations & experiences
This is a tradition you can continue for many years to come!