I Am Thankful; Gratitude Activities for Children

In such a fast-paced, media driven, Amazon prime(d) and ready world, I find it somewhat challenging to teach my children how to be grateful.  Do they know or understand how good they have it?  Probably not.  I’m not even sure it’s a concept they can grasp yet, but none-the-less, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and gratitude I’m going to try.

And to be completely frank, I don’t just do these activities for my kids.  I can get into a habit of whining and complaining and not realizing how good I have it.  (And bonus these activities force my husband to throw a few “thank you babe”(s) my way so win-win!)

Here are my favorite activities for this month:

  1.  Harvest Thankful Tree (from your favorite place – you guessed it, Target!) –  I keep this tree as our centerpiece in November and every night during dinner we add a new leaf or acorn to the tree.  Even though only 1 word gets added each night, the process opens up some heart warming (and often funny) discussions on why we’re thankful for these things. *Note:  If you can’t find in your local store, check the dollar section for a simpler option.
  2. The Gratitude Game from Teachbesideme.com – This is one of my favorite websites for educational ideas!  I use colored popsicle sticks and leave the tin on my son’s nightstand.  At bedtime after books, we pull one stick and then pray about that specific person/place/food/thing that we’re thankful for.
  3. ‘Thank You’ cards – Call me old fashioned, but I love me some snail mail.  On Sundays, in between football games and during my daughter’s nap, my son and I write out thank you cards.  I raid Target’s dollar section for stamps, stickers, and cards (8 for $1!), and we spend about 30 minutes decorating and writing cards.  There’s no rules; he can dictate to me what to write or simply decorate and sign his name.  We talk about how important it is to tell someone how thankful you are for them while you have the opportunity to do so.  And don’t forget the troops!
  4. Acts of Kindness Jar – I’m not super crafty so I’m sure you could make this into something more creative (like this cookie jar idea), but here’s the plan; write down your favorite acts of kindness from our list and put them in a {mason} jar.  Each morning before you leave for school, have your child pick 1 and focus on accomplishing it during the day.  Bonus – you could do it too (and some you will have to ;-))

*Choose from this list:

  • Give a compliment to a friend.  (Use this one multiple times!)
  • Pick up litter in your neighborhood or community park.
  • Bring coffee or a bagel for your teacher.
  • Call a long distance relative and tell them you’re thinking about them.
  • Donate your old books to a local school or free “take and share” library in your community.
  • Donate old toys to a local charity.
  • Help with a chore you don’t normally do.
  • Make a new friend.
  • Take cookies to a local fire station.
  • Smile at everyone you see today.
  • Hold the door for someone while you’re out.

And lastly here’s some book recommendations for the kiddos:

  1.  Biscuit is Thankful by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  2. The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
  3. Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
  4. Thank you, God by P.K. Hallinan
  5. Splat Says, Thank You! by Rob Scotton
  6. Let’s be Thankful by P.K. Hallinan
  7. Today I am Grateful:  Adventures in Gratitude by Lorraine Miller
  8. The Blue Daisy: A Lesson in Gratitude by Stacie Theis
  9. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are by Dr. Suess
  10. Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

And I’m currently reading, Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World, by Kristen Welch, so stay tuned for that book review!

Which idea will you implement with your family this month?

 


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