In November, many people share something they’re thankful for each day on social media in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. Practicing gratitude makes us feel happier and more alive. The benefits of gratitude are many, and if we teach our children the art of gratitude while they’re young, they’re more likely to reap the benefits well into adulthood.
These gratitude activities will help you cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in your little ones.
1. Create a family gratitude book. Each family member should add photos, notes, drawings, and mementos - anything they feel grateful for. It’s a good idea to keep it visible and add to it regularly, like once a month at a family meeting.
2. I found a wreath I can actually make! This thankful turkey wreath is easy and festive. Just write what your kids are grateful for on the feathers.
3. Keep a gratitude jar on the kitchen table. Let the kids decorate it with fall stickers or leaves. Each day, tell everyone to write down one thing they’re thankful for and put it in the jar.
4. I love this gratitude tree from the Kids’ Activities Blog. Cut out leaves, have the kids write what they’re thankful for on them, and hang them on a branch.
5. Add the gratitude circle into your bedtime routine. Have the family sit in a circle and each person name something they’re grateful for.
6. Say grace before meals. A simple yet often overlooked gratitude practice, saying grace before we eat is a small way to teach kids to be thankful. If you’re not religious, here are some secular examples to give thanks.
7. Get the little ones active with the Gratitude Garden activity from All Done Monkey. If you have an energetic kid, this is a great activity.
8. Take a gratitude walk. Go on an evening stroll and look for things to be grateful for, like the beautiful leaves, the smell of rain, and the friendly neighbors.
9. Make a gratitude paper chain. Each day leading up to Thanksgiving, add one strip per family member to the chain. You should have a nice, long chain to decorate with on Thanksgiving Day.
10. For a multisensory approach to gratitude, check out this gratitude sensory bin from Learning Through Playing.
11. Have the kids write letters of gratitude to community workers and hand-deliver them. Ideas are
police, fire department, school, bank, and hospital.
12. Buy a jar and dig a hole! It’s time to make a Thanksgiving time capsule.
Just write what everyone is thankful for on strips of paper, roll them up and place them in the jar. Bury it in the back yard. Dig it up next Thanksgiving and read what everyone was grateful for last year, and then add new ones to the jar and bury it again.
13. These gratitude stones by Fireflies and Mudpies are a simple and cute way to cultivate gratitude in your little ones.
14. Read books about gratitude together. Check out this list from The Best Children's Books and this list from Montclair Library in California.
15. The Joy of Boys made gratitude pumpkins with strips of orange construction paper.
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