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The thankful tree

Thanksgiving for the harvest

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To encourage children to appreciate the harvest.

Preparation and materials

  • Write ‘5 a day’ on a whiteboard and position it so all the children will be able to see it.
  • Have available an image of the ‘Give me 5’ poster at: and the means to display it during the assembly (optional).
  • You will also need a tree branch or group of twigs standing upright.
  • Cut out some fruit and vegetable shapes – apple, orange, cherries, grapes, carrots, pea-pods and so on – and attach a string or wool loop to each.
  • It could be good fun to repeat the game played in the ‘Assembly’, Step 4, back in the classroom with a whole class, this time using phrases such as, ‘I went on holiday and in my suitcase there was  . . .’



  1. Draw the children’s attention to the words ‘5 a day’ written on the whiteboard. Ask them if they have seen this anywhere and what it is referring to.
    Remind them of the benefits of eating a mixture of five fruits and vegetables each day – of the vitamins and minerals and dietary fibre they supply, that eating five a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, how they contribute to a healthy diet, their delicious tastes and so on.

    Display the ‘Give me 5’ poster if using and ask some volunteers to spot different ones.

    How many would find it easy to eat five? Hard? How many like fruit and vegetables?

  2. Undertake the following quiz with the children to find out what they know about fruit and veg.

    (a) What kind of fruit is a Granny Smith?
    (b) Name three fruits that grow well in sunny Spain.
    (c) An old advert used to tell us to unzip this fruit. Which fruit could it be? (Banana.)
    (d) What vegetable is associated with Wales? (Leek.)
    (e) Name three salad vegetables.
    (f) Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable? (Vegetable.)
    (g) Which vegetable do you need to add to potatoes to make clapshot? Alternatively, what are neeps? (‘Clapshot’ is an Orkney dish of mashed potatoes and turnips. ‘Neeps’ is a Scottish word for turnips.)
    (h) How many seeds does a pomegranate have? (According to Jewish tradition, 613.)

  3. Explain that nowadays there is no shortage of fruit and vegetables. What we cannot grow in our own country can be imported from as far away as South Africa or New Zealand. We can eat fruit and vegetables all year round. 

    At this time of year, we are particularly thankful for the harvest of fruit and vegetables from the fields around us. To help us appreciate these wonderful gifts, we are going to make a Thankful Tree.

  4. Some fruits grow on trees, some on bushes, most vegetables grow in the ground or in tubs, but, today, we are going to hang them all on a tree to appreciate just how many there are!

    Pick up an apple shape. Ask a child to identify it, but also give a word to describe it, such as ‘crunchy’. Explain that ‘crunchy’ is a describing word – an ‘adjective’.

    Hang the apple on the tree, saying, ‘Thank you, God, for crunchy apples.’ Go through the same procedure with the orange, cherries, grapes and so on.

    After hanging four items on the tree, ask if anyone can remember the adjectives chosen for each of them and list them all in order. 

    ‘Thank you God for crunchy apples, for juicy oranges, for shiny cherries  . . .’  

    Do this again after hanging six items on the tree.

  5. Suggest that the Thankful Tree be displayed in the school to remind us to be grateful for harvest time. Set the children the task of completing the tree in the days ahead by hanging all sorts of wonderful harvest items on it. 

    As a language extension activity, the children could write their own list poems using the structure:

    Line 1: ‘Thank you God for’
    Line 2: noun + adjective, such as ‘juicy oranges’
    Line 3: further idea, such as ‘dribbling down my chin’ or ‘cooling me down at half-time in football’.


Time for reflection

Imagine your favourite fruit or vegetable. Can you see it, smell it, taste it?
What words would you use to describe it?

Dear God, 
We thank you for crunchy apples, juicy oranges, shiny cherries  . . .
Thank you for the harvest and that it is all so good for us. 


Sing one of your favourite harvest songs

Publication date: September 2014   (Vol.16 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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