Creative Ideas to Teach Children About Thankfulness

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Exciting holidays are just around the corner. These next two months are a time of celebration, sharing, giving, joy, and appreciation. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, wouldn’t it be fun to think about and share the importance of these occasions with your little ones? Three of my favorite things are reading and writing stories about the holidays, writing, and creating decorations. Here are some fun ideas:

  • Create a “Many Thanks Wreath”: Simply cut out leaf-shaped papers of different fall colors and glue them around the edges of a paper plate. Have your child think of a reason s/he is grateful and write those reasons on the leaves. Hang it up so your child is constantly reminded of being thankful!
  • Make a paper-plate turkey. Cut out the shape of a turkey using a paper plate. With different colored papers, cut out feather shapes. On each feather have your child write what s/he is most thankful for. Glue each feather onto the turkey body. This cute bird of gratitude can be used as a decoration or as a centerpiece for a table!
  • Thankful List.” Have your child make a list of what they are thankful for and date it. Make one every year and keep them so they can look back to see what they were thankful for year after year!
  • Have your child write a “Why I Am Thankful for You” letter to several different friends and family members during the month of November. People will love receiving them and your child will learn to brighten somebody’s day with their appreciation!
  • Enjoy reading your child’s favorite classic such as “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” or “The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks.” These books are filled with important life lessons about the value of giving.
  • Look in the dictionary for the word “thankful” and its synonyms. Write them down, hang them up, and practice using them in sentences! This will open up a nice conversation about thankfulness with your child.
  • Create a Thankfulness Jar. Simply decorate and place a jar in the kitchen of your home and leave it there during the whole month of November. Any time someone in the family comes up with something they’re thankful about, have them write it on a slip of paper and place it into the jar. Then, on Thanksgiving, empty the jar and read them aloud. What fun you’ll have as a family when you share your gratitude at Thanksgiving!
  • Buy miniature pumpkins and have your child write what s/he is grateful for in permanent marker on the pumpkins. Set them out as decorations and daily reminders of all they have to be thankful for.
  • Create a Gratitude Window by having your children write what they are thankful for by using markers that are safe for writing on glass.
  • Make a handprint tree with your kids. Trace their hands on different pieces of construction paper and cut them out. Have them write what they’re thankful for along each finger. Use brown paper to cut out a tree trunk with branches and glue the hand “leaves” on. Display as you like.

It’s never too late to start a holiday tradition for your family. You can choose one of these ideas – or come up with your own and start a new tradition this year. The memories can last a lifetime!

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