By Jewel Sample

A holiday or birthday is a great time to create a picture memory tree to celebrate the life of your loved one. Invite your family and friends, particularly children, to join in too.

Time: 1-2 hours

Grade Level: Pre-K & up


Find a small tree branch or purchase a small plant with sturdy branches

Small photos of you, your loved one, family and friends

Assorted colored construction and printed gift wrapping paper

Masking tape

12 inch ruler

Hole punch


Glue Ribbon or yarn or string

Magic markers


1-1/3 cups potting soil (will not need if you purchased a plant)

1/3 cup of gravel or 4 small rocks (will not need if you purchased a plant)

1 large 16 ounce disposable plastic container (will not need if you purchased a plant)

Any color of shoe and boot cream

Paper towel

Cotton ball

1 package of flower seeds (will not need if you purchased a plant)

What to Do:

  1. Cover the entire outside of the container with small torn pieces of masking tape slightly overlapping each piece of tape.
  2. Take a paper towel or cotton ball and dip it into the shoe and boot cream. Then rub the cream over the masking tape. With a clean paper towel wipe off the excess shoe and boot cream until no more will come off.  Or color the masking tape using magic markers.
  3. Remove the leaves from the tree branch.
  4. Place the branch into the center of the cup.
  5. Holding the branch in place, pour the gravel around the branch.
  6. Fill the cup with the potting soil until it is two-thirds full.
  7. Stick the eraser end of the pencil into the soil just past the metal band on the pencil to make small holes. Make 3 holes around the cup.
  8. Place a flower seed in each hole and cover the seeds with soil.
  9. Pour one or two tablespoons of water over the seeds.
  10. Pick a photo. Measure the picture size.
  11. Cut a flower, rectangle, square, triangle or round shapes out of the paper one inch bigger than the picture.
  12. Glue the picture to the center of your shaped paper.
  13. Punch a hole in the top of the paper.
  14. Cut a four inch length of string or yarn or ribbon and pull one end through the hole.
  15. Tie the picture to the tree. Continue until all photos are on the tree.
  16. Place your memory tree in a sunny place and watch for the flowers to sprout and grow. Remember to water your seeds each week.

Jewel Sample is an award winning writer of Flying Hugs and Kisses. To learn more about Jewel visit her at Jewel’s Sand Box News ( to find information on books for kids.

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Jewel Sample

Jewel Sample is a writing grandmother of thirteen children. Sample’s published works include an award-winning children’s book titled, Flying Hugs and Kisses (New Forums Press, Inc; 2010 Second Printing) and Flying Hugs and Kisses Activity Book (New Forums Press, 2010 Second Printing). Hallmark Magazine (November 2007) printed her Heavenly Sugar Cookies story and her favorite sugar cookie recipe. Lastly, a nonfiction story titled, Divine Help and Heaven-Bound Kisses, is in a Christian women's inspirational study guide called, Hugs Bible Reflections for Women (Ferguson, 2009; Howard Books of Simon and Schuster). In her spare time, Jewel loves to go antiquing for old dolls and toys. Most of all, she enjoys the play dates with her grandchildren, who encourage her to tell them a new story before their play date ends. Jewel’s life goal is to inspire children to have hope and to be their very best selves through her story-telling.

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