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Thanksgiving craft: Gratitude garland

There’s no minimum age for when kids can begin to learn how to express gratitude. Whether it’s a drooly smile or spoken words of thanks, all children can show you how much they appreciate you.

Thanksgiving craft for kids
Thanksgiving craft - Gratitude garland

We love this gratitude garland because it can work for the smallest of children through adulthood.

Gratitude garland

Thanksgiving craft - Gratitude garland supplies


  • Card stock paper in an assortment of autumn colors
  • Mini clothespins (we found autumn-colored and patterned options at Michael’s)
  • Waxed cotton cord, measured to the length of your mantle or other hanging location
  • Gold gel pen
  • Silver gel pen
  • Pencil
  • Leaf templates (We like these maple leaves from the SheKnows coloring pages and the Martha Stewart leaf templates as well.)
  • Scissors

Tip: If you’ll be doing this craft with small children who need more space in which to write, when you print the template, increase the percentage of the template to make these print out a bit bigger.



Step 1

Thanksgiving craft - Gratitude garland template

Print out your leaf templates. Measure your mantle (or any other location where you’d like to hang your garland).


Step 2

Thanksgiving craft - Gratitude garland leaf

Have your child cut out the leaf templates and lay them over a sheet of card stock. Holding the template in place, trace around the perimeter of the leaf with a pencil.


Step 3

Have your child cut out the first leaf and repeat the process until they have cut out enough leaves for the length of garland you’ll be making.


Step 4

Thanksgiving craft - Gratitude garland pens

Using the gold and silver pens, have your children write one thing for which they are grateful on each leaf.


Step 5

Thanksgiving craft - Gratitude garland

Pin each leaf to the garland. Secure in place with small bits of tape, creating a graceful swag.

If your children are small, simply cut the leaves out of card stock for them and help them with writing the things for which they’re grateful.

We chose to do this activity over several weeks, listing one thing for which we’re most thankful each night at dinner in hopes that we would form a habit of sharing our gratitude at the end of each day.

This is the perfect tradition to carry through their teen years. We plan to save these leaves and store them in a plastic bag marked with the year and repeat the process each year. Just think how wonderful it would be to look back in the years to come to see the simple things that brought your family joy.

Image credit: Nichole Beaudry

More Thanksgiving traditions

Thanksgiving traditions: Nine ideas for families
5 Fun family traditions to start for Thanksgiving
Create a new Thanksgiving tradition with a new baby

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