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11/21/22 blog post

grow your gratitude with this on our sleeves activity

create a thankful tree with your family


Teaching kids about gratitude early is incredibly important to their mental health. 

Focusing on the positive is the best natural mood enhancer we have. Research shows that people who think about the good things in their life are not only happier, but healthier too! They feel more energized, sleep better, have stronger social connections, and feel better about themselves – including having fewer physical problems, fewer medical symptoms, and a stronger immune system. 

This is the perfect season to grow gratitude and remember what you're thankful for. Try this quick and easy interactive activity with your family this Thanksgiving to get started. 

the thankful tree 


  • Small poster board 
  • Colored construction paper (using Fall colors like brown, burgundy, red, orange and yellow is even better). 
  •  scissors
  • glue or tape 

1. Create your tree and leaves

Here's how you make a thankful tree with gratitude leaves!

Let's start with the tree. Draw a tree shape or construction paper, or find a template to print out. Make sure it's large enough to fit plenty of "gratitude leaves" on it. Glue or tape your tree onto the small poster board to make it easier to display.

Now for the leaves! If your children are old enough to use scissors, this is a perfect time to get them involved!

Use your construction paper to cut out about 10-20 multi-colored leaves. I found that making a simple shape for the leaves was the easiest.  

2. Make your "gratitude leaves"

Now that your leaves are cut out and ready, talk with your family about what you’re thankful for and the good things in your life. Write down each item on a different leaf. If have younger children, you can help them write out their answers if they need help.  

Now what if you're feeling stuck and can't think of anything? Try using some of these conversation starters to inspire ideas. 

  • Who are you thankful for? 
  • Who is someone who helped you lately? 
  • What toy are you thankful for? 
  • What is the most delicious food you ate today? 
  • What is something that makes your life easier? 
  • What is something beautiful you saw today? 
  • What tv show or movie always makes you happy? 
  • What is your favorite thing to do with your family? 
  • What do you like most about school? 

3. Display your "thankful tree"

Using a glue stick or tape, help your kids decorate their thankful tree with the gratitude leaves. If some of them end up at the bottom of the tree, that's okay! Many of the leaves outside are on the ground as well!

Now you have a beautiful, hand-made display of what you and your family are thankful for. Don’t you feel the gratitude growing already?  

To read more about the benefits of gratitude, click here

Share your family’s Gratitude Tree with us online, don’t forget to use the hashtag #OnOurSleeves!

looking for more? join the movement 

On Our Sleeves is on a mission to provide every community in America access to free, evidenced-informed educational resources necessary for breaking stigmas about child mental health. That's why we created the On Our Sleeves e-community. By joining the movement, you'll receive monthly free content, resources and even more activities like this one to help you support the mental wellness of children in your life and break the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Click here to join the movement today.

Emily Weitz, BSW, LSW

Community Behavioral Health Outreach Specialist
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because kids don't wear their thoughts on their sleeves

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