Mini Monets and Mommies: Thanksgiving Fall Leaf Wreath Kids' Art Activity

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Fall Leaf Wreath Kids' Art Activity

Thanksgiving is a time to, well—give thanks. That said, I’m pretty sure my son thinks it’s a time when he has to wear what he considers unbearably uncomfortable clothes (i.e., a button down shirt and pants that don’t have an elastic waist) and sit at a turkey-filled table, picking through the “interesting” potato and raisin recipe that grandma read about online. But, that’s not what the holiday is really about. It’s not about the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the candied yams (although, yum!) or even those black Friday sales that now start on Thursday. It’s about giving thanks and showing gratitude. The Thanksgiving leaf wreath art activity is a crafty way to help your child give thanks (or at least think about who and what she is thankful for).

Painted project
(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure statement for more information).

A few weeks ago I saw a picture of a brilliant painted pine cone wreath. It was like a rainbow of tempera paints exploded onto a circle of pine cones. It was so viciously vibrant that I decided to give it a try. What does this have to do with the Thanksgiving giving thanks leaf wreath? On my way to the park to pick up a few pine cones (I conveniently live near a park that is actually called Pine Cone Park- and for good reason) my 6-month-old puppy decided that he didn’t want to go past the front yard. And, here’s what the front yard looks like:
Fall Outside

So, with all of the fall leaves I decided to do a leaf wreath in the same colorful style of the rainbow pine cones. Add another layer of learning on to the art adventure and include a lesson on giving thanks (in a not so obvious way). This activity is packed with artsy goodness, gratitude and fun for kids of all ages!

Wreath crafts
Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Fall leaves – Go outside and have your child collect a few different sizes and shapes of leaves. This is a great opportunity to talk about nature. Ask your child why she thinks the leaves are different colors now or why they fell off of the trees.

Autumn leaves

·        Clear drying school glue

·        Cardboard—I reused an old cereal box.

·        A marker

·        Wax paper – You can use this as a ‘painting palette’ and a barrier for the mess.

·        Paper

·        Clear tape

·        Scissors

·        Gauze

·        Tempera paint -- You can use any washable, non-toxic paint. For this project we used Crayola Kids' Paint.

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Squeeze golf ball-sized pools of bright tempera paints onto the wax paper.

Paint project
2.     Paint the leaves. Your child can use a brush or she can ball up a piece of gauze, dip it into the paint and dab it on. This method is helpful if the leaves are dry and brittle.

Tempera art
3.     Set the leaves aside to dry.

Kids' art
4.     Draw the wreath shape (a circle) onto the cardboard. Have your child draw a smaller circle inside.

Draw markers
5.     Cut the wreath out. Your child may need some help getting through the cardboard if it’s thick.

wreath craft
6.     Paint the cardboard. Use the gauze to dab and dot different colors of paint onto it. Encourage your child to create patterns, different textures or blend the colors with the gauze.

Pattern texture
7.     Let the cardboard dry.

8.     Cut the paper into rectangles or squares that are smaller than the leaves. Have your child write what she is thankful for on each piece of paper. If she isn’t ready to write yet, draw it on with a pencil and have her trace the letters. Ask her what the word “thankful” means and what she wants to give thanks for.

Gratitude Notes
9.     Tape one thankful paper to the back of each leaf. Why not the front? Because this activity is about helping your child to understand that being thankful is something that is deeply personal. It’s not about being showy or broadcasting what you have.

Thanksgiving art

Kids' thankful
10.  Glue the leaves onto the cardboard. Your child doesn’t have to completely cover the cardboard. She can let some of her patterned painting show through.
Children's art

Colorful crafts
Every time that your child looks at the wreath, she’ll think about what she is thankful for. You can also try this as a family activity in which each personal makes a leaf or two.

Are you looking for more Thanksgiving activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Thanksgiving Kids' Activities on Pinterest.


  1. That is a beautiful wreath. I like that you used real leaves instead of making them.

    1. Thank you. We have so many of them, so I just had to use a few up!

  2. So pretty and alot of fun for a child to fully participate in. I know my daughter loves to pick leaves and paint so this would be a win, win activity for us!

  3. If only we had enough fall leaves to do something like this. Very cute!

    1. Thanks! You could make your own faux fall leaves with paper. I know it's not the same, but it's kind of a substitute.

  4. How cute! I will definitely do this with my little ones! Thanks for linking up with us at Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday. See you again this week! Party starts Wednesday at 8pm EST.
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