“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
Gratitude is so important. Not only does it help us to appreciate what we have and be thankful when times are good, it is a perspective shifter when life gets hard. Spending our days looking for ways to be grateful can be a mindset game changer. Just as it is important to practice gratitude in our personal life, it is equally (if not more) important to teach children the practice of gratitude. What a gift we can give our children! The simple act of taking a moment to be thankful can be life changing and life giving.
We’ve gathered a few of our favorite activities to teach gratitude. Since gratitude can take place anywhere, these activities can easily be modified to be used in the classroom to cultivate a culture of thankfulness that lasts way past the Thanksgiving holiday.
Journaling is a fantastic way to reflect and think of ways to be thankful. At home, develop that routine of writing down things to be thankful for. In the classroom, consider having the students journal for a few short minutes each day. This can help strengthen classroom friendships and sibling relationships in the home.
Consider these prompts to jumpstart your journaling:
Describe a kind act that someone did for you
Name 2 people that you are thankful for
List 3 foods that you could not live without
Describe something good that happened today
Name a friend that is special to you
Tell about a special talent that you have
List 2 things you love about your favorite kind of weather
Tell about a special gift you gave someone
Describe a time that you were able to help someone
List 3 things that make you special
We linked a few of our favorite journals to get your little one writing!
Thank you Notes
Letter writing and Thank You Notes have seem to become a thing of the past. With email, text, and messaging, letter writing seems to be a lost art. To promote gratitude at home, have your child write a thank you letter. It can be a letter thanking a nurse or police officer, or even a note written to their teacher. In the classroom, students can write a thank you letter to their parents, school administration or other classmates. Bonus- you can teach proper letter structure at the same time!
Read books about Thankfulness
There are several books to teach children about Thankfulness. We’ve linked a few of our favorites:
These fun games will have your child looking for ways to be thankful!
Pick a Color
Have your child pick a colored pipe cleaner (or straw or stick), based on what color they chose, have them answer the following questions:
RED- name a person they are thankful for
BLUE- name a food they are thankful for
YELLOW- name a place they are thankful for
GREEN- name a situation that happened that they are thankful for
PINK-name anything they are thankful for
Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
This activity is not only fun, adults will want to play also!
We hope that these ideas sparked some creativity in your heart and excitement to chose thankfulness. Turns out, when we look for things to be thankful for, we usually find it!