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Make an Easy, Festive — and Affordable — Fall Garland

Here is a homemade fall garland activity you can make with the little ones in your life to celebrate the season. Bonus! It’s also a great way to tune out for a moment and practice a little bit of mindfulness.
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Gratitude is the essence of Thanksgiving and the fall season. It’s a special time to share with loved ones and to recognize all there is to be thankful for and what better way to start celebrating than with a little no-fuss family decorating?

Here is a stunning, homemade fall garland activity you can make with the little ones in your life to celebrate the season. Bonus! It’s also a great way to tune out for a moment and practice a little bit of mindfulness.

A Thanksgiving fall garland made of leaves hangs on a fireplace.
This garland is the perfect finishing touch for a mantle, table, fireplace or anywhere you like! | Meg Raby

Learning Goal

This activity will help your child:

  • Practice mindfulness through gratitude
  • Develop and enhance executive functioning skills such as planning and preparing, problem-solving and working memory
  • Practice fine motor skills

Materials Needed

All you need for this Thanksgiving fall garland are scissors, leaves and string.
All you need for this fall garland are scissors, leaves and string. | Meg Raby

  • A container or bag to collect leaves
  • 40+ leaves from outside (If there is no fall foliage where you live, artificial leaves from the craft store work just as well.)
  • Roll of string or yarn
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Plan and prep. Gather string, scissors and a container to collect your leaves. Place string and scissors on a table or on the floor, clear of any clutter.

2. Gather around 40 leaves from outside or use artificial leaves from a local craft store. Ask your child to count the leaves as they collect them for added fun and a little bit of a challenge.

A small blonde girl sits on the floor gathering leaves for a fall Thanksgiving garland.
Ellie, the author's daughter, gathers leaves for her garland and counts them out. | Meg Raby

3. Take six to eight leaves and ask your child to name six to eight things they are thankful for. If they have trouble coming up with what they are thankful for, model ideas for them.

A hand holds a small bouquet of fall leaves for a fall Thanksgiving garland.
Pick your favorite fall foliage to go on your garland. | Meg Raby

4. Gather the six to eight leaves and hold them in a bundle by their stems. Wrap a piece of the string (around 6 inches in length) around the base of the stems to hold them together and tie it securely. Repeat with as many bundles of leaves as you want on your garland or until you have at least six or seven “leaf flowers” attached to the string. Note: parents and caregivers will need to help tie the knots.

5. Cut a longer piece of string (make it as long as you want your garland to be) and tie your leaf bundles on it at regular intervals.

Close up shot of Thanksgiving fall garland made of fall leaves as it hangs off a mantle.
You can hang your finished garland anywhere you like. | Meg Raby

6.  Hang your garland on a mantle or place on your Thanksgiving table as a centerpiece.

The Thanksgiving fall garland adorns a table.
The fall leaves garland adorns a table. | Meg Raby

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