Fun Activities to Teach Students Thankfulness
With the holidays right around the corner, you may be taking this time to prepare the house for guests, donate to your local food pantry, or nail down that perfect cranberry sauce recipe.
You also might consider revisiting the topic of thankfulness with your family. According to the Washington Post, children who feel grateful consistently reap the following benefits:
- Happier lives
- Better friendships
- Higher GPAs
- Less materialism
- Less envy and depression
But kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from thankfulness. A thankful child sets the stage for a happy, balanced adult. Having gratitude has many physical, social, and even psychological benefits later in life, such as an overall decrease in feeling envy, frustration, resentment, and regret.
If you’ve made being thankful a goal for your family this holiday, thankfulness activities will help jump-start your gratitude habits this season and beyond.
What Are You Thankful For?
This holiday season, teaching thankfulness starts at home. Cultivate gratitude in your family and watch how a thankful mind-set transforms attitudes, manners, and overall happiness!
What thankfulness activities for kids will you be doing this year? How do your family members appreciate the beauty around them? Connections Academy has provided ideas to help your family show their gratitude. Here are a couple of great ways families can emphasize the importance of being thankful:
Many of us get increasingly busy around the holidays, and we sometimes forget to take a moment to reflect on the many things we have to be thankful for. So here are some fun, simple ways to work thankfulness into your family’s schedule. These activities not only provide the opportunity to show gratitude but also might even become new family traditions!
Time to Be Thankful Place Mats
What better time to bring out your family’s inner thankfulness than when you’re gathered around the dinner table together? Making place mats that remind you of the many reasons to give thanks is a fun activity to start the holiday season off right. Students who enjoy art projects tend to be especially excited about this activity. It gives them a unique canvas to work on and lots of resources to draw inspiration from.
Use two pieces of standard-size construction paper taped side by side. Then start getting creative! Have your family members print photos from the computer, cut out pictures from magazines, look for words and sayings that mean something special, or even draw pictures by hand. Put it all together in a collage format, and add each person’s name and the year to it. Once you get them laminated, they become meaningful place mats you can use for years to come. Bon appétit!
Chain of Thanks
Families who are short on time or don’t always have the opportunity to get together all at once will enjoy this one. Cut a bunch of strips of colorful construction paper several weeks before the holidays. Every time something happens that family members are thankful for, remind them to write it down on one of the strips. Encourage thankful thoughts both small and large. Include everything from “I’m thankful I can learn my lessons in my pajamas,” to “I’m thankful that we had pizza for dinner,” to “I give thanks every time Grandma comes to visit.”
Once you have a few dozen strips written, start connecting the strips together as loops, and hang the chains around the house as festive decorations. By putting paper chains together over time, you create fun homemade holiday decorations that also teach your students to recognize all the little reasons they have to give thanks.
How to Express Gratitude
Create a book or journal (photo albums or scrapbooks work great) that catalogues the people, places, and things your family is thankful for. You can leave it on your coffee table all year round, or bring it out on holidays and special occasions as a reminder of just how much there is in your life for which to be grateful. Feel free to have family members work on it little by little, or sit down on a Saturday afternoon and create it together.
Choose a book you want to fill, and include anything and everything your family finds special and meaningful. This can be people, places, recipes, movies, stories, special memories, and more. Feel free to include photos, stories, descriptions, and anything else that makes you happy. And since it can be hard for children to express gratitude verbally, you could encourage them to show the gratitude book to others to get the conversation started.
The holidays give us a great opportunity to embrace the spirit of thankfulness, and these fun kids’ activities will help get you started. We invite you to also share them with your friends!
To learn how you can be more involved in your children’s education with more opportunities to help them learn about thankfulness and other important character traits, visit the website for Connections Academy online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit International Connections Academy’s website.