10 Thankfulness Activities for Kids

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What better way to teach gratitude than doing hands-on activities this Thanksgiving season?!

Here are 10 activities to practice being thankful:

1. For a couple weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, take time every day or at a regular interval to have each family member write down (or draw) one thing they are thankful for on a paper leaf. Tape the leaves to a poster board with a tree trunk drawn on it. Fort Worth Moms loves this art decal kit of a tree with leaves — easy to write on and easy to peel off the wall. Or write something each family member is thankful for on a plastic pumpkin every night instead. Either way, on Thanksgiving day you’ll have a large list of things to read that your family is thankful for!

2. Or for those who struggle with repetition, your family can make a list of as many things they are thankful for as possible in five minutes. Beforehand plan something fun to eat or do to match the number of things you are thankful for, such as eating as many M&Ms as things you have on your thankful list or having dad do that number of push ups.

3. Have your kid make a placemat with pictures of things he or she is most thankful for and eat off of it during the month of November. For the more crafty among us, there is material you can buy from craft stores that allows you to laminate paper on the cheap and easy. For moms who feel overwhelmed by the thought of this, you can cheat by putting a paper into a clear binder sleeve. Having your kids see things they are thankful for every time they eat is great way reinforce all they have to be grateful for.

4. Pull out one of your kids favorite type of toys, such as, dolls, cars, Legos, etc. and act out or build things he or she is grateful for.

5. Write a letter or draw a picture for a public servant who does a service we are thankful for. Between our garbage collectors, librarians, fire fighters, police, hospital staff, people who work for our cities, teachers, etc., we have tons of people to be thankful for who may rarely get thanked.

6. Give your child a pad of sticky notes and put one on everything in the room for which he or she is thankful. At the end, the room will hopefully be a huge sticky-note mess of things.

7. Challenge yourself and your kids to act out ways to show you are grateful without using words. Look up how to sign “thank you” in sign language if you don’t know how. Practice giving hugs or high fives or big happy smiles.

8. Get a very large bowl and dump a can of pumpkin in it. Let your kid go to town squishing it and playing with it. As your child plays you can talk about how we are thankful for our senses. Point out that it’s beautiful to see the color of the pureed pumpkin, that it smells wonderful, that it’s fun to feel how cold and gooey it is, and why we are so thankful we can taste this pumpkin AND so many other delicious foods!

9. Go to some place with lots of trees. Challenge your child to spot a squirrel. After searching for squirrels and watching them run around a bit you can tell them this story:

“There once was a little squirrel who was so thankful because she had enough acorns stored up for her to have food to eat all winter. Her heart was full because she had enough. But one day she noticed another squirrel had more acorns than she did, and she started to feel sad. Later she was grateful again because she was very strong and could easily jump from one tree to the next. But one day she saw a squirrel who could jump way farther than she could, and it made her sad.”

Then visit with your child about why this squirrel might have been sad. Ask if the squirrel should have been sad. Use it as a lesson that we all have different things in our lives. Some of us have more stuff than others. Some of us are better at certain things than others. But all we can do is be our best and be thankful for what we have and who we are. We can be happy for those with more and we can share with those who have less. Challenge your child to think of anyone who may have less. Maybe your kiddo can help an older neighbor bag a bag of leaves, or pick out some new toys to buy for local hospitals, make some food or a card for a friend who has been sick, or make a bag of goodies to hand someone who is experiencing homelessness. 

10. Find a good place outside to collect trinkets from nature  leaves, twigs, acorns, and rocks. As you find these natural treasures, talk about what things in nature we are thankful for and why. For extra fun let your little one paint the collection.

BONUS :: You can buy or print Kindness Cards for kids, or even make your own and draw one each day to do to practice tangible ways to live life in a grateful way. 

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Proud to be raised in Burleson (shout out Kelly Clarkson), Jami was even the Elk mascot for her beloved Burleson High School. Jami's greatest pleasure comes from exploring the world and learning about all the beautifully unique people in it, so she started a business in the summer of 2021 taking groups of women around the world! Her business, Women Exploring the World has already taken women to experience Christmas markets in Bruges, Brussels; Paris, and London. They've also taken women to Costa Rica, Italy, Tanzania/Zanzibar, Scotland, and to Norway to see the Northern lights. Jami's greatest gift is her family, Corban, her beloved hubby; Jessy (born 2011); Maggy (born 2013); Lilly (born 2015); and Jude (born 2018). Besides running her travel business, Jami spends her days having adventures with her kids, homeschooling them part-time, assistant coaching PE, attempting to keep her brother and sister labradors out of trouble, keeping her son from killing their cat, and supporting her husband at his Edward Jones office downtown Fort Worth. Jami is a woman secure in God's love for her. He is her first love.

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