Celebrating our blessings on a special day is a wonderful thing to do, but how do we teach our children to be grateful every day? How do we train them to see God’s hand in the little blessings as well as the big ones? Check out this Thanksgiving activity that offers weeks of thankfulness and fun for the whole family. It helps children develop an attitude of gratitude—and grownups may find it refreshing too!
1. Find a Thankful Spot
Remember how Winnie the Pooh had a “Thoughtful Spot”? Well, it’s time to find your family’s Thankful Spot! Is there an area of your home that everyone can view easily? Perhaps the refrigerator door, a wall near the front door, or the bathroom mirror? You could even use each bedroom door as the owner’s personal thankful spot.
2. Create Thankfulness Pages
Feel free to design your own pages, or use our handy printable “Days of Thankfulness.” You’ll need one copy for each person in your home. At the top of the “Days of Thankfulness” page, ask each child to write his or her name and the number of days till Thanksgiving.
3. Display the Pages
Now you’re ready to post the pages in your Thankful Spot. Younger children may have trouble writing on the paper while it is posted vertically on the wall, so you’ll need some way to remove the lists easily each day. Consider using painter’s tape to attach the lists to a door or wall, or use push pins to affix them to a bulletin board or cork board.
4. Add to Your Lists Daily
Remind everyone in the family to write something in one of the blank spaces on his or her list each day. For the first day, ask your kids if they can think of someone special in their lives, someone they’re thankful for. On the second day, they can write down something they like to eat. The third day, prompt them to think about a kind of technology that is useful or enjoyable. There are thirty items on the list, enough for a whole month—but you can keep the fun and thankfulness going as long as you like!
5. Set Aside Time to Be Thankful
Every day—at whatever time of day works best for your family—take a few minutes for everyone to share what (or who) you’re grateful for. Then pray together, expressing your gratitutde to God. You could do this every morning before you begin your homeschool day; or if mornings are too hectic, you could visit your Thankful Spot during lunch break, at suppertime, or in the evening before bed.
Explore Other Creative Ways to Be Thankful
There are other fun ways to stay mindful of all the great things God has given! You can make a paper tree and tape it to the wall in your homeschool classroom. Every day, have your children write some things they’re thankful for on colorful paper leaves, and tape those leaves to the tree branches.
You can also teach the letters of the alphabet and their sounds while being thankful! On the first day, ask your kids to think of something they are thankful for that begins with the letter A. Continue with a new letter each day until you reach Thanksgiving!
Even the littlest blessings are God saying “I love you” to His children. As you help your children find a new “thankful” every day, remember to seize those teachable moments to tell them more about the One who loves them best of all.
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Rebecca K. is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.