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With Halloween behind us, it is time to start focusing on the next holiday… Thanksgiving! Though I have to admit, after my son celebrates a holiday which is basically to him a candy collection, it can be hard to get him to focus on being gracious and thankful for what he has in life (that isn’t candy!). I started racking my brain to come up with ideas to teach him about thankfulness. One day I was browsing through my latest issue of Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine via my iPad app. One particular article immediately caught my eye… But I’ll get to that in a minute!
Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple app features their bi-monthly magazine that is packed with amazing resources and tips on how to lead and continue a healthier lifestyle. Every subject matter is addressed from fitness, to diet, to family wellness and more. Plus you’ll receive all the latest information on health-related events at your local club.
Not a Sam’s Club member? No worries! You don’t need to be a member to download the app for FREE on iTunes. The app requires iOS 7.0 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Since I prefer to read my digital magazines on my iPad, I opted to download the Sam’s Club Healthy Living app on there.
Now back to that article I mentioned… It was titled Teaching Thankfulness to Toddlers by Tovah P. Klein. PERFECT! It was exactly what I needed to read for inspiration on how to teach thankfulness to my little guy.
The next day, she grumbles mightily about the meal you’ve prepared for her, shifts it around her plate, and complains long and loudly enough that you’re tempted to toss it in the trash and give in to her requests for junk food. Despite your best efforts to teach her thankfulness about the blessing of food on her plate, being overly picky and wasteful overcomes gratitude all too often.
My toddler was not eating his meals and constantly asking for his Halloween candy instead. After reading the article I knew it was time to remind him of his blessings of a roof over his head, a family who loves him, and of course, that he has full meals to eat every day and will never go hungry.
I remembered a craft my mom had taught my siblings and I when we were younger. It was creating a Thankful Tree! Every day we would write (or have our mom write) on a leaf from the tree what we were thankful for. It gave us the opportunity to think about our blessings every day, as well as let our family know what we were thankful for.
If you are in a similar situation as me, then today is your lucky day! Check out my tutorial below for the Thankful Tree craft to help teach your toddler thankfulness!
Thankful Tree Craft Tutorial
Construction paper (various colors of tree and leaves)
White poster board
Lay out all your materials and decide what colors you would like to use for the Thankful Tree. For construction paper choices, my son picked typical “Autumn” colors such as brown for the bark and branches, and then green, orange, red, and yellow as the leaves. You will glue your toddler’s tree to the white poster board.
Then take your child’s hand, and trace it on the colored construction paper you plan to use for leaves. Allow your toddler to show their creativity by choosing the colors of the leaves! My son’s favorite color is orange so of course his tree had to have orange leaves.
Not every branch will needs leaves, and of course there can be more than one hand-shaped leaf per branch. Let your toddler choose! This makes the Tree their own and unique to them. Once you’ve cut out enough leaves, it is time to glue them to the tree.
Now if your toddler is anything like mine, the phrases “I want to do it!” and “I can do it by myself!” often come out of their mouth. Of course my son wanted to do everything to create his tree. We compromised that I would cut the “leaves” out, while he put the glue on them and picked where they went on the tree.
Once all the leaves are glued to the tree, and the glue has dried, hang the Thankful Tree someplace where you and your toddler will visibly see it. We placed ours on the refrigerator! Each day ask your toddler what they are thankful for. You can write anywhere on the leaves what your toddler’s answer. We would write them on each finger of the hand-shape.
Each time we go to my son’s Tree for him to tell me his new answer for the day, we go over what he told me the previous days. We chat about the what he likes in our home, or what his favorite meal is that Momma cooks. It helps reiterate what he needs to be thankful for! The craft is just a fun way to teach your toddler thankfulness.
You can find issues of Healthy Living at the Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple website.