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16 Fun Gratitude Activities to Teach Thankfulness to Your Child

letters spelling thanks across hands of children

Gratitude is an essential value children need to learn at a young age, but how exactly do you teach it? Teaching gratitude does not have to be hard at all! Here are 16 super fun activities that will be fun and will your child see how they can be thankful for everything in their life!

1. Read Books

There are so many amazing books that will teach your child about being thankful. Reading books brings so many great benefits, and your child will love the chance to snuggle up and read books with you!

Some of our favorites include:

● Gratitude is My Superpower

● Thankful

● Grunt the Grizzly Learns to Be Grateful

● My Attitude of Gratitude

Check out our full list of great Thanksgiving books for elementary aged kids!

2. Make a Gratitude Chain or Tree

Gratitude chains or trees are fun and easy crafts to help your child share what they are grateful for.

You can make a chain for every day in November with something they are grateful for to hang around their room. Or, create a tree and add a leaf every day with something they are thankful for. With these, you can go as long as you want!

3. Dinner Table Gratitude Tradition

Make it a tradition to go around the dinner table each night and share one thing you were thankful for about today. It can be big or small.

Not only will this help them find things to be grateful for, but it will also show them there is always something good about their day, which in turn teaches them to be optimistic.

This gratitude tradition will also keep your family close as you talk and share about your days while eating dinner.

4. Competition

There are so many fun ways to have gratitude competitions. You can see who can write down the most things they are grateful for in one minute. Make it as short or as long as your child needs.

You can also see how many you can name throughout your day. Make these competitions fun and light, nothing too serious.

5. Write Thank You Notes

Teach your child to write thank you notes from an early age. They can paint and draw the cards themselves to build their creative side as well.

Writing thank you notes will teach gratitude and manners to your child as they learn they need to share their gratitude with others.

Looking for a simple way to introduce thank you notes? I love fill in the blank thank you cards for kids!

6. Rainbow Kind of Days

This is one that will hopefully stick with your child forever. Children need to know those bad days will happen, but it doesn’t mean the entire day has to suck.

Have what is called a “rainbow kind of day.” Use this phrase when you have a bad day. Talk about your day and the struggles you went through. Then, tell your child about your rainbow.

Just like all storms, during the storm, everything is nasty. But in the end, there is always a beautiful rainbow.

This will help your child focus on the good and share their bad times with you.  

7. Bedtime Routine

If you want to make gratitude a habit for your child, include it in your bedtime routine. Every night before bed, have them share what they were grateful for that day.

8. Gratitude Jar

Find an empty jar and have your child decorate it however they please. Then, put notes of things you were grateful for inside the jar every day. When it is full, empty it and read through everything you wrote!

9. Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a great way to teach your child about being thankful. Get them a journal, or have them make their own. Then try to make it a habit to write in their journals every single day.

This will create a habit and help your child learn the importance of keeping a journal.

10. Thankful for Senses

Sensory play is always a great way to teach something! You can do this in so many different ways.

You can create a sensory bin filled with things your child loves and have them explore and be thankful for each item.

Or you can ask your child something they love for each of their senses:

● Something they love to taste

● Something they love to touch

● Something they love to smell

● A sound they love to hear  

● Something they love to see

Then go around and get each item together. This will also show you what their favorite items are you may not have known before!

11. Gratitude Bingo

Gratitude Bingo is not a daily activity but rather a week or month-long event. Give your child a bingo card with gratitude prompts inside each square. You can make your own or purchase a downloadable one online. Some square examples include:

● Tell someone why you are grateful for them

● Give a compliment to someone today

● Say please and thank you 10x today

● Write in your gratitude journal

When your child gets bingo, give them a prize. Make the blackout prize super special to help them learn how fun it is to be thankful for everything we have.

12. Thankful Pumpkin

Instead of carving your pumpkin, write out all the things your entire family is grateful for. Try to fill the pumpkin with your writing!

13. Scavenger Hunt

Children love scavenger hunts! You can make this as easy or as hard as your child needs. Make hints about things you are grateful for to have them look for until they find the prize. Or, let them make their own scavenger hunt and give them prompts. For example, “Look for something you are grateful to wear.”

Looking for a readymade gratitude scavenger hunt for your family or classroom? I love this one on Etsy!

14. Grateful Photo Challenge

For those children who love to take pictures, have them go on a photo challenge! They can use your phone or a kid’s camera. You can choose to give them a list of things to take pictures of or let them find 20 things they are grateful for to take a picture of.

15. Drawing or Painting

While it may seem so simple, children love a chance to draw or paint freely. Don’t lead this activity; let your child draw whatever comes to their mind. Process art is much more beneficial than having your child copy a cute turkey you saw on Pinterest.

Be sure to hang up your child’s artwork and share how thankful you are for it!

16. Gratitude Walk

If your kids are like mine, they have a lot of energy that they love to use. A great way to use that energy is to go on a gratitude walk! This can be a simple nature walk, but talk about things you see, hear, smell, and touch that you are grateful for during your walk.

Learning gratitude is an important life skill!

These 16 gratitude activities will help your child learn this important skill in a fun way! Learning through play is more beneficial and way more fun for kids of all ages! What other ways to you like to teach your child about gratitude?

If you’re looking for fun Thanksgiving activities, be sure to check out our Thanksgiving Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers!

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