This week we are learning all about gratitude. We made this pretty fall Give Thanks Banner to talk about what we are thankful for. I love the way it turned out and would work great as a Thanksgiving decoration. It pairs really nicely with the Thankful Tree we made earlier this month. Can’t have too much thankfulness!
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This post is part of the Virtual Book Club for Kids! We would love to have you join in the facebook group where there is a new featured book and theme along with a lot of activities to go with it. Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the ideas by co-hosts! This week the featured book is Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, and the theme is Gratitude.
How to Make The Give Thanks Banner:
Materials for the Thankful Banner:
- brown paper bags (we used 3)
- this printable (you can also just draw the letters on the banner, or let the kids write them if they’re old enough)
- pressed leaves (if real leaves aren’t available, you can use silk leaves or paper)
- twine (or sting of your choosing)
- permanent marker or paint pen
Preparing the Gratitude Leaves:
We went on a walk to collect colorful fall leaves. If there are not colored leaves in your area, this project would also work well with silk or paper leaves.
If using real leaves, I recommend preserving or pressing them in some way. In our Thankful Tree activity we laminated the leaves. There are several different ways to press or preserve leaves (Red Ted Art has a great guide on methods to preserve fall leaves), but for this activity we chose to press them with wax paper.
I did this part when the kids were asleep because of the hot iron. First, I laid out a towel to protect the ironing board, and then laid a sheep of wax paper down. Next, I arranged the leaves on the wax paper, making sure none were touching (to prevent tearing), and laid another sheet of wax paper on top of all of the leaves. After paper towels on top to protect the iron, I irons for a few minutes until the wax was sealed. You can stop at this part and simply cut out the leaves, leaving a sealed border around them (this makes them more durable), but I decided to peel them off of the wax paper. This leaves a thin coating of wax on the leaves to preserve them for a while.
Making the Thankful Banner:
I prepared the base of the banners first. To do this I cut the bottom off of a brown paper bag.
Next, I cut along the bottom on one long side so get the folded middle part off. Don’t do this to the other side, because you’ll need that part later.
After that, I cut the top off (the part where the bag dips in), so the banner wouldn’t be curvy when finished.
Next, I cut the bag in half.
Then I cut down the center of the inside fold. This created four banner rectangles, each with a flap.
At this point I was left with 4 banner squares, each with a flap to hang onto the string. I repeated with two more bags, for a total of 12 banner rectangles.
Now it was time to get the kids involved! I had my 4 year old glue on all of the letters. If your child is old enough, they can write the letters on, but my son had good letter practice by making sure they were all facing the right direction.
We kept one rectangle blank to use as a space between the words.
After the letters were glued on, we hung the rectangles onto the banner and glued the flap down. This way they easily slide along the twine, so we could adjust them as needed.
Time for the Gratitude Leaves!
For the kids to practice letter sounds and for brainstorming purposes, I created a Gratitude ABC’s printable to use with this activity. We used it to try to think of something we are thankful for for every letter of the alphabet.
We chose our favorite leaf and wrote what we are thankful for on it (Family). We then glued it onto the blank square in the middle of the banner.
We continued talking about what we are thankful for, writing it on the leaves, and attaching them to our banner.
To attach the leaves to be banner, we either glued them on, or slipped the stem into the twine. You could also use tape.
And there you have it! A Give Thanks Banner to talk about gratitude with kids, that works nicely as a family-made decoration for Thanksgiving celebrations.
More Books on Thankfulness: