It has been pretty hot and humid these past few days and Suma has done a little grumbling (okay – a LOT of grumbling) about being bored and not wanting to go outside where the sizzling sidewalks sometimes hurt her tender paws. We helpfully pointed out that some of Suma’s puma relatives live in very warm places like tropical rainforests and even deserts, but Suma insisted that she’s used to the comfort of the library’s air conditioning and isn’t ready to join her cousins in the wild. The Westlake Family Aquatic Center or Lake Erie would be great places to visit, we suggested… But Suma replied that while pumas can certainly swim, they don’t really enjoy it.  Hmm….How about this, then?! Let’s make a summer gratitude tree! (Did you know that pumas are good at climbing trees? This ability helps them avoid larger predators like bears and jaguars that sometimes share their habitat.)

Making a gratitude tree is super simple and super fun. To get started, grab a sheet of paper and draw a tree  – or if you’re like Suma and have huge paws or just aren’t in the mood to draw, find a tree online that you can print out. Next, make some leaves to hang on your tree – Any kind will do. Decorate your paper – Go crazy with your artwork! Suma decided to use paint and she figured out that she could paint with almost anything, including what she found in the kitchen drawers! – Even simple things like forks and spoons will work!

When it cooled off a little outside, Suma prowled around under the bushes and through the tall grass in the library’s reading garden and discovered that different patterns and textures in nature make great paintbrushes, too! All she had to do to make them was attach a piece of nature to a stick using a piece of string or a rubber band – Presto! – A really cool paintbrush!

And what about your leaves, you ask? Write things on them that you’re thankful for and then hang them on your tree. For example, Suma is very grateful to have a special friend like Flat Suma in her life. Before you know it, you’ll have a tree full of leaves that will help you remember all the amazing things that make you happy! And guess what?! – You won’t be bored!

Curious about Flat Suma? Click here to have her join you as your begin your own gratitude journey! Interested in being a part of our Kinder Club? Visit our Calendar of Events to register.