One way we can work to prevent entitlement in kids is by instilling gratitude and thankfulness. Crafts and activities are a great way to introduce your children to gratitude. I compiled a list of 10 simple ways to practice gratitude with your kids.
10 simple ways to practice gratitude with your kids:
1. Make a gratitude tree
For this simple activity, you will need just a few items and materials most of which you are likely to find around your home and in your backyard. Kids will write what they are thankful for on colored construction paper or cardstock. They also get to hunt outside for a great branch to use to hang all the paper leaves on.
Check out Premeditated Leftover’s tutorial here for the step by step process of creating your own gratitude tree.
2. Play the gratitude game
So much can be learned through playing. This game is similar to pick up sticks with color-coded sticks and a key for saying what kind of thing they’re grateful for.
Check out these instructions from Teach Beside Me on how to play the gratitude game with your family. She even shows you a video of her kids playing it.
You could apply this same kind of twist to a variety of board games. For example, you could use this same color-coding system for the circles in Candy Land. Players would say what type of thing they’re grateful for depending on which color they land on.
3. Make a gratitude journal
Helping your kids start a gratitude journal is a great way to get them to incorporate a daily practice of gratitude. They’ll be more likely to use something they helped design and create.
Check out this tutorial from Coffee, Pancakes & Dreams for how to help your kid make their own gratitude journal. She also lists helpful prompts for starting the writing process.
4. Create a gratitude flower
Gratitude flowers are great for younger kids especially. It is a simple project they can do with very cute results. On each of the five petals of the flower, the child will list something that they are grateful for. If they aren’t writing yet, an adult can print the answer for them.
Glue the petals to a circle and add a toothpick and you’re all set. Check out Blissful kids tutorial here for more detailed instructions on making a gratitude flower.
5. Use gratitude conversation starters
You can either create your own conversation starters or download premade ones. They will be paper strips that you place into a jar. At a family meal, you can pass around the jar for each person to pick a different question or you can have one person draw a question that everyone answers.
Conversation starters are great for getting people to talk about things they may not normally mention. These questions would be geared towards gratitude, but you could ask whatever questions you want on them to get conversations going. This is one of the simple ways you can practice gratitude with your kids that you could also use a variety of other ways.
Creative Family Fun has some prewritten conversation starters you can download from their site.
6. Go on a gratitude scavenger hunt
Create a simple scavenger hunt that gets kids thinking about what they are grateful for so they can go and find it. Check out this post from Simple Acres and you can also get a gratitude scavenger hunt sheet to print.
7. Create a gratitude pumpkin
This simple activity is to be practiced in November as it would be more challenging to find a pumpkin another time of year. Keep a pumpkin that you don’t carve and each day of November, write down something you are grateful for on it with a Sharpie marker.
By the end of the month, you will have lots of things your family is grateful for written on it and it can be used as your centerpiece for Thanksgiving. Check out this post from Coffee and Carpool for further information and to see pictures.
8. Start a gratitude jar
There are so many simple ways to practice gratitude with your kids. One easy one is putting a mason jar on the counter with strips or squares of paper next to it. The idea is that people write down what they’re grateful for and then put it in the jar.
I read once about a family who did this all year and on January 1st they read them all back to reflect on everything they had to be grateful for from the prior year. What a great way to start off a new year!
Look for Little Helpers has some gratitude jar printables you can get here if you want something fancier than plain old paper.
9. Start a gratitude chain
In this project, kids will write (or have help writing) what they are most thankful for on narrow strips of construction paper. Each piece will then be turned into a link in the chain.
Check out more detailed instructions and pictures from Kiwi Co.
10. Make a gratitude garland
This super simple craft will not only help your kids practice gratitude, but it’s also a cute decor item to display in your home. You can get free printable pendants from Somewhat Simple on their site here.
Another option is to cut out leaf shapes and string them together. You can find leaf templates here from The Best Ideas for Kids.
Gratitude all year
We live in a world of excess where it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do. Teaching gratitude is one aspect of teaching kids to live more simply in a consumer culture.
Gratitude should be something we work on daily. In November it becomes more of a focus, but what would it be like if we poured in the same amount of energy and attention to it year-round?
If we want our kids to be grateful we first need to set the example. If you choose to be grateful every day, your kids will notice that. Start with your own gratitude practice and then also work on teaching your kids through using these simple ways to practice gratitude with your kids.
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