This #SimplyHealthy DIY gratitude tree shop on teaching toddlers thankfulness has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
How do you teach toddlers to be thankful? With Thanksgiving looming just days away, it’s a question that has been on my mind. I want Bubbles to be able to put meaning to the holidays and not just look at them as a time that everyone gets together to eat.
I recently was flipping through the Healthy Living Made Simple app on my iPhone (it’s also available for the iPad) and I came across an article on teaching toddlers thankfulness. The app is a companion for the online magazine from Sam’s Club. It had some good information – plus a nice reassurance that it’s completely normal for your toddlers to not always remember to say thank you before opening a gift or to grumbling about what they have versus what they want.
We try to model thankful behavior to Bubbles every day. Saying “please” and “thank you” is a requirement, and we put effort in to showing her why we say those words. But it can still be a hard concept to grasp for young kiddos.
DIY Gratitude Tree
This week I decided to make a DIY Gratitude Tree to help reinforce the concepts we’ve been talking about. In the past, Bubbles has loved the countdown chains we’ve made prior to events or holidays, so I knew she’d look forward to daily interaction with the tree. Then it was just a matter of tying in the lessons on thankfulness.
Brown kraft or wrapping papper
White foam board
Glue dots (or other glue)
Marker or pen
I started by hand-sketching the outline of a tree and it’s branches onto the brown package wrapping paper we had in the closet. You could also use kraft paper, construction paper, or even trace it on the side of a cardboard box. After the tree was drawn, I cut it out and glued it to a piece of white foam board. (By the way, if you don’t have one of those little glue dot rollers, I cannot rave about them enough. They make projects like this so, so simple.)
After the tree was done, I used the leaf template I had created and printed out a bunch of leaves on colored paper in fall shades. Some of them I wrote subjects on that I knew I wanted to cover: family, our home, etc. And some of them I left blank.
Each day we’re adding a leaf to the tree. I left her choose a leaf at random; if it’s already filled in, we discuss the topic, and if it’s blank she gets to tell me something she feels thankful for. I didn’t fully glue each branch down (I thought it looked a little more “real” that way), so we either tuck the stem of a leaf behind the tree branch or use a dot of glue to attach it. We’ll continue to add a leaf each day until Thanksgiving.
Teaching toddlers thankfulness isn’t something that will happen overnight, but when you continually reinforce the concepts day after day – they will absolutely get it. Plus, with as hectic as the holidays can get, it’s also a great way for parents to take a moment to pause and remember what they’re thankful for, also.
Don’t forget to snag your own free printable leaf template! I’d love to know some of the things your kiddos come up with to write on the leaves and tell what they are thankful for.