By Krista Park, Communications & PR Director
As Thanksgiving nears, there is much to be grateful for – in addition to the pumpkin pie! Research has shown that that the regular practice of gratitude helps children (and adults too!) slow down and be more present, think about what they appreciate, and learn what matters to them.
Help your Girl Scouts grow gratitude this year! And to get you started, here are two simple craft activities that will get your girls thinking about what they are thankful for during the holiday season and beyond!
1. “Grow” a Thanksgiving Tree.
Help your troop show their friends and families what they are thankful for this holiday season.
What you need: Twigs with several small branches; leaf templates; colored construction paper (orange, red, yellow, and green); scissors; large paper or Styrofoam cups; twist ties, pipe cleaners, or ribbon; modeling clay or small pebbles; pens or markers; hole punches
What to do: If possible, take a nature walk with your troop before you plan to build the Thanksgiving Trees. Gather straight twigs that have at least three branches (up to 12 inches tall). Invite girls to decorate their cups using markers or construction paper and glue. Fill each cup with enough clay/pebbles to support the twig. Have girls “plant” their Thanksgiving Trees by sticking the twigs into the cups.
Trace the leaf templates on the colored construction paper and cut them out. Pass around hole punches so the girls can punch holes at one end of each leaf. Ask girls to write one thing on each leaf for which they are grateful. Have them fasten the leaves to the trees with twist ties, pipe cleaners, or ribbon.
2. Create a gratitude jar.
You can begin this activity by decorating a jar together as a fun craft activity. Glass or plastic jars both work! Then choose a particular troop meeting or meetings, to talk about giving thanks and adding to the gratitude jar.
What you need: One medium or large jar for troop; or multiple smaller jars for each girl. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – have girls bring in their own jar; scrap paper; pens and pencils. Optional items to decorate jar: ribbon or twine, scissors, tags, foam letters, stickers, beads, glue, markers, etc.
What to do: Decorate jar if desired. Cut out scrapbook paper into strips. Have girls write down things they are thankful for on strips of paper, fold, and place in the jar. Items can be read aloud before being placed in the jar, read out load by a leader, or saved for a later time. Hearing what troop friends are thankful for can also help shape a girl’s understanding of gratitude.
Most of all, be creative and have fun giving thanks with Girl Scouts!
What are you thankful for this year? How do you plan to celebrate and give thanks with your troop?