How to Make a Thanksgiving Tree: A Fall Paper Craft for Kids

During the fall, kids love to do crafts that involve brightly colored leaves. These paper leaves, which the kids can make by drawing or tracing real leaves, give them a place to write down things that they are thankful for. This makes it a great craft for Thanksgiving, or anytime in autumn. You can make a simple but friendly looking tree to display the leaves from a recycled paper grocery bag.

Depending on the age and skill of the children, and how much time you have, you may want to prepare the tree and cut out the leaves in advance, or let them help with the tree and make their own leaves.

You can either make one large tree to display in the classroom or at home, and have all the kids contribute to it, or you can let each child make his or her own tree. The tree can be a simple or as decorative as you like. For each Thanksgiving tree, you’ll need the following readily available craft items.


  • One brown paper grocery bag
  • Colored markers or crayons
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • One sheet each red, orange and yellow construction paper
  • Large leaves to trace (optional)
  • Glue
  • Butcher paper for background (optional)

Make the Tree

  1. Cut open the brown paper bag along both sides of the front and back. Leave the bottom of the bag attached.
  2. Unfold the bag so that it looks like a cross, and lay it on the table or floor with the blank side facing up.
  3. Trim the bottom of the bag into a trunk shape. Trim the top and sides into branches and twigs.
  4. Draw a face on the tree using a marker or crayon (optional).

Make the Leaves

  1. Draw or trace leaves on the red, orange, and yellow construction paper. Make sure the leaves are large enough for the kids to write on.
  2. Cut out the paper leaves.
  3. Have the kids write something they are thankful on each leaf. If you’re making the Thanksgiving tree as a group craft, you may or may not want to have the kids also write their names on the leaves. Depending on how many children and leaves there are, you can have each child do one leaf or several.
  4. Glue the ends of the leaves to the branches of the paper tree.

You can pin the Thanksgiving tree to a bulletin board, or glue it to a large sheet of paper, such as butcher paper, and hang it up. Every time the children see it, they can remember all the things they’re thankful for.

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