Gratitude trees are common objects in many commercial buildings, permanently thanking donors for their contributions. Want your kids to develop an attitude of gratitude, freely remembering to say thanks? Why not try the same idea in your kids’ rooms, family room, or hallway, but on a smaller scale? Growing a gratitude tree can be a great teaching tool for getting kids to “think thankfulness”.
Trees for Fall and Winter
Find an easily accessible blank wall and paint a tree trunk and branches. (Paint instead of vinyl here…vinyl won’t withstand continuous use.) Doesn’t have to be elaborate or highly artistic, it’s getting the family involved, creating memories and a teaching tool that counts.
Have the kids add leaves with messages of gratitude, one a day, weekly, or when someone says thanks. Use red, yellow, and orange leaves for fall. Switch to different shades of brown for winter and green for spring….or just add bright colored leaves (or colors matching your decor) throughout the year.
Get creative! Use different leaves each month (and teach plant recognition at the same time. Think they’ll notice?). Hang paper ornaments from the tree using motifs of the holiday….hearts, shamrocks, eggs, flags, stars, bells, or wreaths. Kids would love to put a few turkeys in a tree!
Don’t have wall space? Use a tabletop tree instead, placing empty branches in a vase or other container. Leave a pen for writing messages and blank leaves ready to hang next to the tree.
Grass and Flowers for Spring and Summer
When the season changes, paint grass and stems on the wall to add flowers, butterflies or insects (that’s for the boys!). Each petal and flower center can contain messages of gratitude, for gifts received as well as service given.
Be consistent in using the gratitude tree or garden and after a while, kids will begin to say thank you on their own without your prompting. Just like watching a tree or garden grow, watch the transformation in your family as gratitude increases. You’ll be grateful you planted this tree!
When you get your gratitude tree or garden “planted”, be sure to share your photos with us!!