October through December is the “gimmie” quarter in our house. We begin with Halloween, a holiday where children just hold out bags and people give them things. Then we move into my daughter’s birthday, shortly after is my son’s birthday and then we move right into Christmas. This generally makes January detox month in our house. It isn’t pretty. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving. This gives us a chance to step back from all the getting and focus on what we’re grateful for. Here are 10 ideas of gratitude activities to do with your kids, aside from just watching the Chrlie Brown Thanksgiving specials, which we do regularly this time of year. These can be done before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving day itself.
- Thanksgiving turkey – The kids write what they’re grateful for on feathers and attach the feathers to the turkey body.
- Grateful A-Z List – Write the letters A through Z on a paper and have the kids come up with something they’re grateful for for each letter. We’ve done this where each child gets their own list, or we take turns doing letters. I like taking turns better. It helps the kids think about things they might not have otherwise, and also makes them listen to others and take turns. We’ve had some interesting things; especially for letters like X. X-men, X-rays in case we fall off the banister mom told us not to climb, xylophones because maybe we’ll play one someday. It turns into a fun, family-bonding experience.
- Gratitude Tree – We generally do this each day from November 1 until Thanksgiving, but you could do it all at once.
- Make butter and tell stories of the first Thanksgiving – I think we too often forget how Thanksgiving began. Yes it’s about being grateful, but it’s also to commemorate an important event. To make butter, just fill a jar with heavy cream and screw the lid on tightly. Then pass the jar from person to person, allowing each person to shake it for as long as they can. It takes about 10 minutes of shaking for the cream to thicken into butter. You can serve this butter with your Thanksgiving dinner. Tell Thanksgiving sotries while you make butter. Here are some fun read-aloud stories about Thanksgiving, including the story of the first thanksgiving.
- Do service to show gratitude – We are blessed to live close to a neighborhood fire station. This weekend, we made muffins together as a family and took them to the fire-fighters to show our gratitude. The kids had fun making and delivering the muffins, but also felt the joy that comes from service.
- Write thank-you notes – This seems so simple, but an old-fashioned thank-you note goes a long way. Help kids writhe thank-you notes to anyone they like. This can be a family member, a friend, a teacher or someone in society (local leader, police officer, etc).
- Make a gratitude photo book – Let the kids walk around inside and outside and take pictures of things they’re thankful for. You can print it to have a physical book or just save a digital copy to your computer.
- Make a family gratitude journal – Get a blank notebook and have each member of the family write what they’re thankful for. Again, you can do this each day until Thanksgiving or all at once. This can be done with words, drawings, photographs, etc. This is a great thing to pull out when your kids are feeling discouraged. Read it together as a family and remember how much there is to be grateful for.
- Put together kits for the homeless – Whenever we get off the interstate, there is someone holding a sign looking for help. Keep these kits in the car and pass one out your window next time you pass such an individual. My kids are young enough that I don’t want them running up and handing someone a kit, but they can help assemble them and witness us passing them out.
- Go on a Grateful Scavenger Hunt – Following the clues in the link, and go on a scavenger hunt for things you and your family are thankful for. This is a fun activity with a great message.
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