Tree of Thanksgiving

Here is our Tree of Thanksgiving we made.  As a family we wrote things we are thankful for on each leaf and hung them on the tree.  It is now sitting in the middle of our kitchen table and when we say grace we read the leaves and thank God for all of our blessings.  This is a project I loved from beginning to end.  Obviously the part I love best is giving thanks, but on a crafty note, I also really like how our tree came out.

Supplies: posterboard (for the tree), paint, cardstock (for the leaves), construction paper (to make template), ribbon or raffia, hot glue, scissors, hole punch, marker


To make the tree you first want to draw out a stencil of the basic tree design.  You want to have a bit of a dip in the center piece. (Don’t be thrown off by all the orange paper.  The stencil and the tree really are different pieces; we just have a ton of orange paper).

Use your stencil to make two copies of the tree on posterboard or foamboard, depending on what you prefer.  I used orange posterboard since that’s what we had on hand and I thought it would work well painting it brown.  You could certainly skip the painting step and just go with brown board.  Different colors will give you different looks.

You need to make a cut in the top of one and the bottom of the other.  And you will want the cuts to match up.  I just went to the halfway point on each.  It might have worked between if I cut only down 1/3 from the top on one and up 2/3 from the bottom on the other.

I then reinforced the pieces with hot glue so the cuts weren’t quite as important.  You just need the pieces to fit together evenly so that it will stand up.

Cut additional branches as necessary.  I added four branches, one for each middle space.

Then hot glue the additional branches in.

Paint the tree.  You just need to be careful because if it gets too wet the whole thing can fall apart.  We just painted it lightly and quickly.  Just know that as you paint the branch pieces might start to curl.  I just made sure to quickly paint the other side.  Then I used a hair dryer to help it dry a little before propping it up.  You could certainly skip the painting step.  However, I kind of liked how it made the branches curl up and change shape a little.  It also kept all the branches from all being lined up straight.

For the leaves I used my cricut to cut them out of cardstock.  You could also just as easily draw your own or search a stencil online.  And then I used raffia for the ribbon hangers.

Then we just hung the leaves on the tree, reading each as we went along.  Like I said before we keep it in the middle of the table and refer to it when we say grace.

God Made Everything

Earlier this week we focused on how God made everything we see, especially that God made the Earth for us.  Much of our day’s activities were based on First & Favorite Bible Lessons for Preschoolers.  The book does have very clear discussion prompts for you; however, we did vary from it and added to it.

First we brainstormed things that God has created and got to the idea that God made everything, he made the world.  It was fun to see them get so excited listing everything God has made for us.  I especially liked when Ed came home from work that evening and asked them what God made–they answered “You, Daddy!  God made you!”

After that we read the Creation story from their children’s Bible.  We read through it once then we went through an abridged version acting out different things that God created.  We closed our eyes and talked about how it was dark and then opened our eyes to the light.  We twinkled our hands for the stars, felt the ground for the Earth, and blew out for the air.  We moved our arms like waves, plants growing, fish, and then birds.  Finally we made animal noises for the animals and then pointed to ourselves when it came to making humans.

Sing a Song

We then sang the following song courtesy of First & Favorite and sung to the tune of “Old MacDonald”.  In the blanks, have the kids shout out something God made (the shouting things out made this song a favorite now in our house).

Everything God Made Is Good
Everything God made is good.
Let’s give praise to God!
God made everything we see.
Let’s give praise to God!
God made the ____.  God made the ____.
God made the ____, and You and Me.
Everything God made is good.
Let’s give praise to God!

We also sang “He’s God the Whole World in His Hands” and then we even played it over and over to dance to.  There are so many different versions out there.

Coffee Filter Globes

In keeping with the song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” we made Earths resting in God’s hands.  Based on coffee filter flowers, these were quick, easy, and cute.  We colored the filters with green and blue (washable) markers.  Then we sprayed them with water from a spray bottle.  And just know that you don’t need to color the filters very much.  The girls just colored theirs a little and I worried that it wasn’t enough.  I made one myself and colored it all up just like a globe with continents and oceans.  When we sprayed them, theirs looked awesome and mine turned into a solid turquoise circle.

After our Earths dried we added in the hands of God.  My suggestion is to use a glue stick.  I used regular glue and then it stuck to the hands.

Creation Sculptures

This was another great idea from First & Favorite Bible Lessons for Preschoolers.  We put plaster in a ziplock bag and added water (be sure to check the directions, the first time my water/plaster ratio was off).  The girls were able to mold the plaster until to make their own creation. As they were molding it before the plaster hardened, we talked about how hard it was to create something and how mighty God must be to make the Earth and create so many things.   After the plaster has hardened, decorate the creations with paint or markers.


I’ve been searching for a good globe for us for awhile and finally found one that worked.  A lot of the globes I came across were way too expensive or way too fancy for what we needed.  Anyway, we finally got one just in time for this topic and it fit perfectly.  The girls loved spinning the globe around.  We learned that the oceans are blue and they practiced finding oceans around the Earth.  We also found where we are located and where we have traveled.  I think too often we put off introducing things like a globe to little ones because we think they are too young but really they love it.

World Map Placemats

During our caterpillar theme we colored placemats about The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  We still use them and the girls loved them so much I decided to have us make more placemats connected to what we learn.  After we decorate them, I run them through the laminator and they hold up really well.  This time we did a world map.  Here is the image we used:


Celebrating the Easter Story

Here are some of the activities we’ve been doing to celebrate the Easter story.  I have more Easter activities that I will be posting shortly, but I tried to group like activities together.

Painted Crosses

I actually had a different cross craft planned but the Zoe found these when we were at Michaels so we switched gears and painted crosses.  They are only $1 but you could certainly make your own out of wood or cardboard.  And while I know that Jesus did not die on a shimmery pink cross, I think it’s important for the girls to connect with the cross and the sacrifice and salvation it represents.

We used the shimmer paint to give it a little sparkle and while I let the girls pick their colors, I also limited them to just a few choices that wouldn’t look too bad if they were all mixed together.  We also sprayed them with sealant afterwards and will be hanging them on the wall in their bedroom.

Easter Garden

My super awesome sister actually shared this idea with me!  We bought the terra cota base, some soil, grass seeds, and decorative stones at Walmart and used a 2 1/4 inch terra cota pot I bought at Walmart.  Next to the pot lying on its side, I put a rock to build up the hill.  Then we found the twigs to make the crosses.  I tied them together with thread but I’m warning you that was a bit of a pain.  Our’s looked a lot better before the dog got ahold of it and we had to pick the soil off of the grass.  And of course, our grass hasn’t grown yet.  You can actually find a picture of a prettier one here.

The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story

This is actually my favorite Easter book to read with the girls.  They are really into the Berenstain Bears right now, but, I mean, who doesn’t love the Berenstain Bears?  Jesus dying on the cross can be scary to some children, but what I really like about this one is that it tells the Easter story with all the important parts in a way that the kids can really understand it.  Some of the other stories are too graphic, or leave out important details (we have a book of Bible stories that leaves out the whole ascension into heaven), or they are just a little hokey.


Lenten Chain

Lent is hard for little ones.  Who are we kidding?  It’s hard for adults too.  Advent is filled with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas.  There are parties to go to, cookies to bake, presents to get.  Lent, on the other hand, is a time of praying, fasting, and almsgiving.  It’s the holiest of seasons and yet for a child it’s the hardest in which to participate or even understand.

In order to help my girls recognize Lent, I made us paper chains to count the days until Easter.  Since the girls are still too little to do the cutting or stapling, I actually made them myself.  But I wanted them to be more than just a countdown until Easter so on each paper link I wrote a message of faith for the girls.  I kept them simple and joyful for a toddler.  Messages like:

Jesus loves you!
God made the sun and the stars!
Jesus is your friend!
God will always help you!
Jesus is with you when you are scared!
God made all the animals!
Mary is Jesus’ mama and our friend too!

I will be honest, it was hard at times coming up with the 47 messages.  Even though I was making two chains (one for each daughter), I just used each message twice and mixed them up when I put them together.  Each day Mia and Zoe will have different messages, but at some point they will have one they have already heard before, just reinforcing the message.

For the links I used purple since it’s the liturgical color of the season; however for Sundays and Ash Wednesday I used pink just to spice it up a little and make it easier to keep track of how many links there were.

We started on Ash Wednesday and so far the girls have really enjoyed it.  They love pulling off a link each day and finding out what the message is.  First they like to “read” it themselves first, usually repeating the message they had the day before.  Then they will let me read it to them.

  It does appear that this Lent we will also be focusing on patience and taking turns since they really wanted to just take off every link on the first day.  (On that first Thursday, the girls did sneak over to the chains and started pulling off links).

Hopefully this will help my girls feel more involved in Lent and help them to be saying a special extra prayer each day in their own way.

“Jesus Loves Me” & Valentines

We did a lot to get ready for Valentine’s Day so I shouldn’t have been surprised when this morning on the actual holiday, the girls wanted to do Valentine’s Day things.  We had the activities from my previous Valentine post, but they wanted something different.  Thinking of the idea of Valentine’s Day, love, I decided to quick go with a Jesus Loves Me theme for today.  We did some quick, easy crafts, and sang the song A LOT.  🙂

Skills: religion, art, music, letter recognition, shape recognition
Prep: low
Supplies: Paper, crayons, glue, ribbon,

We sang “Jesus Loves Me” quite a bit today.  The girls really liked it, especially since they could sing along pretty easily.  You can find lyrics and the tune here.  We also colored mini-books about the song that I found here.

We then made these very easy door decorations that I found at here at DLTK (a great website).  The plan was for Mia and Zoe to color the pieces and add the foam hearts to it.  However, the girls had other ideas.  I had them practice cutting scrap paper with safety scissors while I cut out the craft pieces.  They got so caught up with their scissors and then gluing on the pieces that they refused to do anymore coloring.  Maybe later…  And hopefully yours will look a little brighter and more colorful.

When the girls wake up from their nap, we are doing a heart scavenger hunt that I found here.  I’m having the girls use the hearts they find to make Valentines for each other.

By the way, here is what Mia moved on to after her door hanger, since she just couldn’t get enough pasting paper.  Luckily I had a few things like this on hand so she could keep going.

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