Thanks to my stepmom Grandma Leslie, who I should probably hire as a contributor for this site, for this project idea.
This family tree activity has a handful of useful functions on Thanksgiving:
- Keeps kids busy with a craft activity that might reduce Thanksgiving Day hours logged full-speed running through a ceramic vase-filled house
- Produces a beautiful tabletop decoration where beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder is the mother of the children who created the “beautiful” centerpiece
- Can serve as social lubricant for children who don’t know how to gracefully chat up elderly relatives but are happy to show them something concrete, like, “I wrote your name on this leaf. This leaf is red. This leaf is made of paper. You’re not exactly my uncle, but I see you every year on Thanksgiving, and you’re old, so let’s just go with Uncle.” BAM, it’s a conversation.
Here’s what you need:
- Construction paper in assorted colors. Use a fall palette if you think this thing is going to look so awesome you’re going to photograph it for Pinterest. Otherwise, who cares. We had some blue leaves and some purple ones.
- Pens. Have enough pens that no one needs to fight over pens.
- A vase of some sort. We used a mason jar with that green floral foam stuff and pebbles, just in case that Pinterest thing panned out. A taller vase will make your life easier.
- Small branches. Give this some thought ahead of time. What plant life in your area will be easy to clip and offer the degree of sturdiness required to stand up in the vase?
- Scissors and a hole puncher. Each leaf the children cut out from the construction paper will be given a punched hole in order to hang it on a branch. You’ll figure it out. I have faith in you.
- A guest list. Unless you want to be interrupted every four seconds to be asked how to spell a name, provide your little secretary a list of names to refer to.
- A supervisor. An adult who is not helping in the kitchen can make himself useful by dictating the list, cutting leaves, or punching holes.
- A Plan B. In case my faith in you was misguided, you cannot find any branches, or your supervisor is a failure at either crafts or supervising, consider another way to display paper name leaves. Perhaps a large sheet of paper with an abstract tree and branches can be drawn and the leaves can be taped on. Maybe they can be strung from a cord to make a garland that gets hung across the mantel.
Do you have any traditions for the children on Thanksgiving Day?