You all know that I love to throw a good party. I mean, I would use any excuse to get friends and family together! Our preschool throws a fundraiser every year to raise money for the school. Each year the theme changes. Last year was Candy Land, and I shared all about how I created some giant faux-candy for the party. This year, we decided to have the theme of the event be The Giving Tree, based on the book.
We created a ton of decorations and crafts for the event. The students in each classroom created planter boxes that they glued and decorated. The tables had burlap branches centerpieces and cardboard trees. We created a fun crepe paper backdrop, and a story walk using the book and activities that go along with each page! I created some step-by-step tutorials for you , so you can recreate a The Giving Tree themed party of your own!
Creating Planter Boxes
Each classroom created planter boxes to auction off at the event. The students in the classrooms put the planter boxes together using wood glue. When the glue dried, the class painted and decorated the planter boxes. Then, we added some mason jars with flowers to showcase the creations the students made.
To make the planter boxes, we went to Home Depot and bought a 1 inch by 6 inch piece of pine wood. Our piece of wood was 10 feet long. We had the people at Home Depot cut the wood into three 12-inch sections, and two 7-inch sections. The 12-inch sections are used for the base and the two long side. The 7-inch sections are used as the ends. It is kind of like a puzzle to figure out how it goes together, so I would suggest testing out how you will put it together before you glue!
Start by taking the 12-inch section of wood and use it as the base. Lay the base flat on the table or surface you plan to use to create the planter box. Using wood glue, attach another 12-inch section of wood to the outside edge of the base on the long side. Do the same for the other long side. Using the 7-inch pieces, glue to the ends of the wood. Once glue dries, paint and decorate.
Burlap Branches Centerpieces
Since we were having a total of twelve tables, we decided to do two types of centerpieces. We wanted to add some height to the space, so using branches that were spray painted seemed like a creative and interesting option.
To create the branches, grab some tree branches from outside or at your local craft store. Then, using spray paint, cover the branches in whatever colors you’d like for your centerpieces. You might need to do a few coats of spray paint to make sure that all the branches are totally covered, and so you don’t get an uneven look on the branches. We painted our branches black and white because our colors for the event were black, white, green, and pops of red.
Then, taking empty wine bottles, I wrapped them in burlap and tied with a black, silky ribbon. I used burlap table runners for this project. I could get about four wine bottles wrapped for one roll of burlap. So I would cut about 28 inches of burlap, give or take, for each bottle. Some wine bottles were taller than others, so I would eyeball the measurements to make sure that the entire burlap would be able to wrap around the bottle.
Once I cut the burlap, I set the wine bottle in the middle. I took the two short sides and folded them onto the wine bottle. Then, I took a long side, using my other hand, and pulled that onto the bottle. Grabbing the neck of the bottle and the burlap, I was able to get the burlap I just pulled up into one hand, so my other hand could grab the other side of the burlap. I twisted the burlap around the wine bottle’s neck. Then, I tied everything together using the ribbon. I made sure to double knot the ribbon so it wouldn’t come undone. I fluffed out the burlap to make sure it looked good. I repeated this process for all the bottles.
Each table had three burlap branches on them, with pictures of the kids. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out leaf shapes to hang from the branches. We attached the pictures using jewelry wire. And, we added some decorative embellishments to the pictures. Not every branch had enough smaller branches to hang all the pictures on, so I created some more smaller branches. Taking black and white pipe cleaners, I wrapped them around the branches. I folded the pipe cleaner in the middle over the branch and wrapped each end around the branch. This created two more hooks to hang pictures from.
Cardboard And Twisty Trees with Spray Painted Pine Cones
On the remaining tables, another mom created these adorable cardboard trees and twisty paper bag trees. Then, she spray painted some pine cones that we used to decorate the table. The pine cones were spray painted in black, white, and some were left brown.
To create the cardboard trees, grab some cardboard boxes and take them apart. Draw the outline of the tree you want to make on a flat piece of cardboard. Using a box cutter, cut out one side of the tree. Cut a slit in the bottom of the first tree you created so that you have a cut that is about a third of the way up. Then, trace the first tree onto the cardboard. Cut the second tree out of the cardboard. Cut a small slit down the top of this tree trunk, until you are about a third of the way down the tree trunk. Slide the tree with the slit at the bottom over the tree with the slit at the top. Spray paint or decorate!
The twisty paper bag trees have been all over Pinterest, so we just followed a tutorial I found. We used standard-sized brown paper bags. To create the twisty trees, cut slits about 1 inch apart starting at the open end of the paper bag, until you are about half way down the bag. Open up the bag and twist it until you get to the cuts. Then, twist each cut you made. It is super easy but makes a great addition to the tablescape.
Crepe Paper Backdrop
I always love to try new and different party decorations, so when I came across this adorable crepe paper backdrop tutorial from Oh Happy Day, I just had to test it out for this event. I ordered the sheets of crepe paper from this online store, because you need sheets of crepe not the small rolls you find at Target.
Then, I used my knife to cut the crepe paper in half. The tutorial suggests using a box cutter, but my knife worked better. Just make sure it is super sharp. Once the crepe paper was cut in half, I unrolled it and folded it over itself. Then, with the help of my husband, we pulled the crepe paper to get most of the crinkles out. This helped give the crepe paper movement once I was done, so don’t skip that step!
I folded the crepe paper over itself again. Then, I cut about 1 inch cuts until I was about a third of the way into the crepe paper. I repeated this same process on the opposite side. Then, I repeated this entire process for all the crepe paper sheets I had purchased. I ordered four different colors of green, and got eight crepe paper backdrops.
When I was setting up for the event, I attached the top of the crepe paper sheet to the top of a window. Then, I twisted the crepe paper to create a more interesting look. I repeated this until I had used all the crepe paper. If the ceiling would have been lower, I would have used the jewelry wire and a needle to thread through the top of the crepe paper sheet. I would have attached the jewelry wire to the ceiling and then twisted the crepe paper.
Since the theme of the event was The Giving Tree, I thought it would be fun to create a story walk around the room where the event was taking place. With each part of the book, there were activities to go along with the story walk.
The book is very long, so I had to condense some of the story to meet the needs of our fundraiser. To do that, I created a shortened story by summarizing parts of the book. Then, I found pages of the story that would work with my summary. I blew up the pages and text to create large print. This was later turned into a big book for the school.
I started the story walk with the title page and an explanation about what to do with the story walk. A story walk is where there are parts of a book around an area, and you walk around that area and read the book. Our parks have story walks that change out each month, which is so fun for the kids to read a new book while playing at the park!
The next page was the introduction to the entire story. In the beginning of the book, the boy makes crowns with the trees’ leaves, so the activity that went with this part of the book was decorating crowns. We purchased these crowns and used markers and foam stickers to decorate the crowns.
The book goes into the boy growing up and coming back because he needed money, so the tree gave the boy her apples. At this part of the story walk, the kids could act out selling and buying play apples, along with getting a special treat, which was apple sauce.
The next station was where the kids could build a house, just like in the book. The boy comes back asking the tree for a house, so the tree gives the boy her branches. Using Lincoln Logs and blocks, the kids were able to build and create homes.
We wanted to have the kids play with a boat of some kind, as this is the part of the book where the boy wants a boat to sail far, far away. Due to some safety concerns, we decided not to include this part in the activities, but it was part of the story walk. The families could read this part of the story, before going to the last station.
The last station is where we had face painting and temporary tattoos. This is the part of the book where the boy is an old man, and comes back to the tree. The tree says I have nothing to give, and the boy says I just need a place to sit, so she offers her stump. And she was happy.
There were lots of things to eat, drink, and everyone was merry! One of the teachers was the DJ for the event, and played tons of tunes. Things turned out wonderful for our fundraiser, and we raised a ton of money for the preschool! I am just so proud of everyone for their help and amazing support.