What is your Thanksgiving tradition? Do you watch the parade, run a turkey trot or play games with the family?

After our stomachs are full and we have an extra moment to spend with loved ones, Westerville Cultural Arts Coordinator Ana Underman recommends an artistic craft to make with the kids that will not only entertain, but also highlight the importance of this holiday. You can create your own Thankful Tree.

“Having a physical reminder of what you are thankful for can be a great addition to your holiday celebration. It is also a good way for the kids to connect art with things that are important in their lives,” said Ana.

A Thankful Tree can be as extravagant or simple as you like. And, you can use items around the house to assemble it.

Here is what you will need:
Three pieces of cardboard (or heavy card-stock, cereal box)
Construction paper
Glue (or pushpins, hot glue gun, tape)
Decorations (watercolor, markers, crayons, stamps, etc.)

To get started, trace a tree trunk on the cardboard and cut out.

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Once the trunk is cut, use this as a template to trace out another separate piece of the trunk, this time only drawing half the trunk to a triangle point. Cut.

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Decorate the tree trunk; the kids can add roots and knots. Then cut a slit halfway down the top of tree trunk and halfway up the bottom of the other triangle trunk so that the two pieces can slide together and meet in the middle.

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Now that your trunk is ready to go, draw and cut out a circle for the top of the tree. Add another small cut in the middle to attach the circle to the trunk.

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Assemble the trunk to the circle and glue down the sides of the tree to the circle.

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It is time to create the star of the show…the leaves. This is the part the kids will love.

As a family, trace out different shapes of leaves on multiple sheets of colored paper. You can find free templates online or free-hand draw. Decorate half of the leaves however you want, using watercolor, markers, or even festive stamps.

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With the remaining leaves, write what you are thankful for and share with your family. After the paint has dried, cut out the leaves and glue them on the circle, varying the color, shape and design. (A glue gun will speed up this process, but requires adult supervision.)

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Voila! You have a Thankful Tree. It can even be used as a centerpiece at the Thanksgiving table.

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The Parks and Recreation Thankful Tree includes the Community Center and our community parks. But above all, we are thankful for you, our residents and patrons this holiday. We wish you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

For more artistic holiday fun with Ana, the kids can join our next ArtMix class on Tuesday, December 16 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Community Center. Click here for online registration.