Ocean of Thanks Box

on May 30, 2016


  • Small corrugated cardboard pizza boxes, 1 per child
  • Clear transparency sheets, 1 per child
  • 7-in. paper dessert plates, 1 per child
  • Chrome colored spray paint, amount varies
  • Bright blue copy paper, 1 sheet per child
  • Tan construction paper, one ½ sheet per child
  • Bright green construction paper, one ¼ sheet per child
  • Sea Creatures pattern (from pdf below)
  • Clamshell Notes pattern (from pdf below)
  • White copy paper, 2 sheets per child
  • White copy paper, 1 sheet for every 30 children
  • Ocean of Thanks Verse pattern (from pdf below)

Tools and Basic Supplies

  • Office paper cutter
  • Glue sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Transparent or masking tape
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Roofing nails
  • Plastic knives


Ocean of Thanks
  1. Spray paint the back of the 7-in. paper dessert plates.
  2. Cut out the center circles of each painted plate. The holes should be approximately 5-in. in diameter.
  3. Draw a 6-in. diameter circle on the lids of the pizza boxes.
  4. Make sure that when the closed pizza boxes are standing up on the end that opens that there is a small open slot at the lid hinge. This is where the clamshell notes will be dropped into the boxes when they’re closed. If there isn’t a slot, you’ll need to make one.
  5. Cut the transparency sheets into 7x7-in squares, 1 per child.
  6. Cut the bright blue copy paper into 8x8-in. squares (or to fit the bottom of your pizza boxes), 1 per child.
  7. Cut tan construction paper into half sheets, 1 per child.
  8. Cut bright green construction paper into quarter sheets, 1 per child.
  9. Copy Sea Creatures pattern onto white copy paper, 1 pattern per child.
  10. Copy Clamshell Notes pattern onto white copy paper, 1 pattern per child.
  11. Copy the Ocean of Thanks Verse pattern onto white copy paper. Then cut out one verse for each child.

Teaching Tie-In

Show the sample craft and say:

We’re making an Ocean of Thanks Box today. It’s fun to get into a habit before bedtime of writing down or drawing one thing you’re thankful for and then putting it into your box.

Let’s practice thinking of things we’re thankful for right now before we start making our boxes. Turn to your neighbors and tell them something you’re thankful for. Do so.

I’m sure some of you said your parents, or food, or your family, or your house. Did anyone think to say they’re thankful that they’re a child of God? For those who are, that’s the greatest thing to ever be thankful for! If you're not sure if you're a child of God, take the time to talk to your leader today about it!

Class Time Directions

  1. Using the nail, carefully punch holes along the line of the circle on the top of the pizza box. The holes should be about ¼- to ½-in. apart.
  2. Then take the plastic knife and “saw” through the nail holes to cut out the circle. (These 2 steps should take about 5 minutes.)
  3. Apply craft glue to the underside (non-chrome side) of the dessert plate rim (porthole) and set aside for a few minutes.
  4. Open the box and tape the transparency to the underside of the lid, covering the large hole.
  5. Glue stick the bright blue paper square to the inside bottom of the box.
  6. Cut or tear the tan construction paper lengthwise for the sandy bottom of your ocean scene. Then glue stick to the bottom of the blue paper square.
  7. Tear thin strips of bright green construction paper for seaweed. The strips should come to a point at one end. Then glue stick the strips to the tan and blue papers to look like seaweed rising from the sea floor.
  8. Color the fish and cut out. Then glue stick to the tan and/or blue paper as desired.
  9. Cut out the verse and glue stick directly to the transparency “window” or somewhere else on the box.
  10. Close the box and press the chrome colored plate rim (porthole) onto the top of the box over the “window.”
  11. Cut out the clamshell notes so you’re ready to start using your Ocean of Thanks box.

Tip Corner

  • Consider spray painting the pizza boxes in addition to the dessert plates.
  • You may want to pre-prep the hole in the pizza box instead of having the kids do the punching and sawing. A 6-in. hole saw (with a hand drill) or hand held jigsaw works well for this purpose.
  • Attach fish to the ocean scene with foam tape to create a 3D effect.
  • Sea creature stickers can be used instead of the Sea Creatures pattern. Fun foam stickers are particularly fun!
  • To save a little time and money, the clamshell notes can be optional. Instead, the children can use their own small note paper from home.
  • Attach a small envelope to the back to hold the clamshell notes.

Super Simple Idea

Try one of the following Oriental Trading Company craft kits. (Call 1-800-875-8480 or visit www.orientaltrading.com.)

  • “Give Thanks” Prayer Journal Craft Kit (IN-13660024)—Manufacturer does not recommend for children under 3 years of age.
  • “I am Thankful For” Fall Cross Craft Kit (IN-48/4569)—Manufacturer does not recommend for children under 3 years of age.
Ocean of Thanks Box: Toddlers Download PDF