There is no denying that 2020 has been a difficult year. Everyone has faced new obstacles and challenges, and the routine of life has been disrupted. Kids do not get to see their friends as often, go to school, and in some places parks and playgrounds remain closed. As the end of the year approaches, it is often a time to think about the things for which we are thankful. Kids can look around, see how their lives have changed, and not know how to focus on the positives. Getting them engaged physically and mentally with the silver linings and the blessings of life can be a way to refocus not just the children, but the entire family, boosting mental health, and create a more positive home environment for the holiday season.
Try these artistic projects for the whole family to craft a thankful atmosphere this 2020 season:
- A Thankfulness Tree: This craft is one you can do in a day, a week, or a whole month! You can easily modify it for whatever materials you have on hand. You could use popsicle sticks and glue, pipe cleaners, or construction paper. Whatever material you choose, make your tree. You could even glue it to a small plant holder. Take colorful paper and cut them in the shape of leaves. Have members of the family come up with people, places, and things they love, and for which they are grateful, and write them on the leaves. Tape or glue them to the tree. This can help little ones practice writing, and it can be a visual reminder of everything positive in your life and an exercise in thankfulness.
- A Thankfulness Pie: One of the joys of the holidays is dessert, and pie is one of the most popular. This project is a fun way for the kids to be in the kitchen with their parents while the adults are cooking real meals. Take a paper plate and divide it into equal parts. On each pie-shaped section, have each person write down one or two things for which they are thankful. If they drew six sections, write down six things. Take a piece of construction paper, and cut it into a circle that fits on the place. Cut a triangle the size of the pie sections on the plate, so it will show one of the objects of gratitude. For fun, make the paper that represents the pie filling the same color as the family’s favorite pie: orange for pumpkin, red for cranberry, or even purple for berry. Put a thumbtack in the center of the plate, attaching the construction paper to the paper plate. Use this pie to remind the family if everything there is to be grateful for at the dinner table.
- A Thankfulness Placemat: While everyone is waiting for dinner to finish cooking, it is time to set the table! Rather than use pre-made, store-bought placemats, have each member make a placemat themed around one person, place, or thing that inspires a feeling of gratitude. Get creative! Use colors, markers, string, glitter, anything to communicate why each person is thankful for their chosen person, place or thing. When everyone is seated, go around the table and have everyone share what is one their placemat, and why.
Even when it’s hard, there is always something for which we can be thankful. Focusing on these things can lift the mood, re-focus the family, and help some of the difficulties of 2020 fade away for a while.
By: Bethany Verrett