When you think about Thanksgiving, do you immediately think about thankfulness? Or do you start thinking about other things? Like cooking? Or eating? Turkey, potatoes, and pie, oh my! But is that really what Thanksgiving is all about? Is that what you want your children to think it’s all about? Of course not. Thanksgiving is about being grateful and appreciating the many good things in our lives. And that is what I want my family to focus on during this upcoming holiday of thanks. If that sounds good to you, check out these ideas for inspiring gratitude in your kids this Thanksgiving.
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Inspiring Gratitude in Your Kids this Thanksgiving
1. Play Gratitude Games
Thanksgiving is a great time to play games as a family. Between the first round of food, the desserts, and then the leftovers, there is usually time to kill and not always enough energy to push yourself away from the table. So, make your time together about gratitude AND fun with the Gratitude Games Pack from 31Flavorsofdesign. There are several different games in the pack including Thanksgiving Scattegories, The Gratitude Game, and my personal favorite, Thanksgiving-themed Mad Libs. It’s fun for the whole family and inspiring too!
2. Create a Tree of Thanks
You’ve probably seen some version of this if you spend much time on Pinterest this month. If not, here is a great example. The basic idea is to have everyone in your family, adults, and kids, write down something they are thankful for on a paper leaf, or a tag, or a sticky note, or anything that works for you. Then you attach these to a tree you’ve created. Either a paper tree you’ve hung on your wall or a wooden one you’ve crafted, if that’s your thing. Anyway, you stick them someplace.
You can have your kids do this every day in November, creating a tree full of gratitude by the time the holiday rolls around. Or you can have your Thanksgiving guests fill out leaves for the tree on the day of your gathering. Encourage your guests to check out the tree and see what others are grateful for. And spend some time with your kids showing them everything that’s been added to your tree of thanks.
3. Throw the Ball Around
If making a tree sounds daunting or like too much work when you’re already making a big dinner, consider something less craft-oriented for inspiring gratitude in your kids this Thanksgiving. This game of thanks is similar to an old favorite, Hot Potato. Toss a ball around the room (a soft one that won’t break anything- either that or go outside) and whoever catches the ball will say something they are grateful for.
You can add a little competition by playing music and stopping it at intervals or setting a timer. Whoever ends up with the ball when the time is up is out until next round. Or they have to say something nice about another player. Or they have to do the dishes. Whatever will work with your group to make it fun.
I love this one for kids because it’s simple and active. My kids will probably appreciate the opportunity to move around after sitting at the table for what will probably feel like to them to be a long time.
4. Make a Gratitude Jar
If a tree of thanks will take up more time or space than you have to spare, how about a gratitude jar? You can help your kiddos fill it with little notes of things they are thankful for throughout the month. Or you can have your guests write a note or two of things they are grateful for. Feel free to read from the jar during your Thanksgiving gathering to celebrate the many things the assembled guests are feeling thankful for.
5. Write a Thank You Note
Writing thank you notes is a thoughtful way to teach kids about gratitude throughout the year. And an important life skill. This Thanksgiving ask your kids to write a thank you note, not for a gift, but for a special person. A thank you note or letter to a friend or beloved family member expressing gratitude for their place in your child’s life will inspire gratitude in your kids this Thanksgiving and be a wonderful surprise for the recipient.
6. Read a Book About Gratitude
Reading with your kids is a great way to learn about almost any topic. And there are so many wonderful children’s books you can use for inspiring gratitude in your kids this Thanksgiving. Some great options include Thankful, I’m Thankful Each Day and The Thankful Book.
7. Thankful Place Cards
Teach your kids about gratitude this Thanksgiving by making it part of the table set up. You can create place cards for your guests with your kids. Take turns writing, or with younger kids drawing, things you are thankful for about each particular guest.
Or if assigned seats aren’t your style, make placemats with your kids where you write or draw pictures of things you’re thankful for and use the mats to decorate your holiday table. It will make a fun conversation piece and maybe inspire others to add their own contributions to the placemats during your gathering.
How Will You Be Inspiring Gratitude in Your Kids this Thanksgiving? Please share your fun ideas in the comments!