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Our Gratitude Tree

We made a gratitude tree out of a cardboard paper towel tube, a paper bowl, and construction paper to express our thanks for all of our blessings this Thanksgiving. This was such a simple craft and it really engaged the kids’ attention.


  • cardboard tube (either a paper towel tube, 2-3 toilet paper tubes taped together, or a wrapping paper tube cut in half)
  • construction paper (brown, green, red, orange, yellow)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft knife


1. Wrap and glue brown construction paper around one end of the cardboard tube so that you have covered the last 2 inches of the tub and the rest of the paper extends beyond the tube. You will cut this to make your branches–but wait so it isn’t in the way. Then wrap the rest of the tube in brown construction paper to cover it.

2. Cut strips of the first piece of brown construction paper about 1/2 inch of thickness to almost the top of the tube.

3. Roll up a third piece of brown construction paper and glue to the inside of the tube. Cut the strips of this paper to about 1 inch above the first piece you cut. You can make more layers of branches later, if desired.

4. Trace the circumference of the tube on the bottom of the paper bowl and use an X-ACTO (craft) knife to cut out the circle from the bowl. Insert the tube.

5. Shred pieces of green construction paper (fine motor skills!) and glue to the bowl to create grass.

6. Cut leaf shapes from the yellow, orange, and red construction paper.

7. Write the things for which you are grateful on the leaves. Younger kids can draw pictures. “I’m grateful for.. love, family, friends, my cats, Daisy Scouts, pen pals, my brothers, my sister, our aunt, grandparents, Papa who made the playset, the playset, that the playset wasn’t destroyed in the hurricane…” (You can see they really like the playset.) “…heat, power, our house wasn’t broken, we survived the hurricane, warm blankets…” (The hurricane was also a running theme) “…music, books, library…hey, the baby is thankful for ‘Library Lion’…” This lasted about an hour. I was amazed.

8. Glue the leaves to the branches. Add another layer of branches as necessary.

Share on Thanksgiving and continue to add to the tree!

Educational Connections:

  • History & Culture: Why did the pilgrims leave England? What were they celebrating at the first Thanksgiving?
  • History & Culture: How did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?
  • Emotional & Social: How can we show gratitude?
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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), All Ages, Featured, History and Culture, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal · Tags: , ,

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