Gratitude Games: Make Giving Thanks Fun for the Whole Family

Make Giving Thanks Fun for the Whole Family



Here are some ways to instill gratitude and thankfulness in your children not just at Thanksgiving, but year round!

The gratitude scavenger hunt. This activity will get your kids up and moving and will help them to really see the world around them. Give your children a list of categories and ask them to find things around the house or neighborhood that they are thankful for. Have them snap a photo of each object or just have them write everything down. For older kids you may want to make it a competition to see how many they can find in a set amount of time. If you have little children who can’t write yet, just walk around with them and each point out things that fit each category. Use our sample checklist or make up your own categories…choose things that are important to you and your family.

The turkey ticket. Most children can list a couple of things they are thankful for, but it’s good to press them to really think about how many things make them happy and healthy. For this activity, find a long sheet of paper (or use a blank receipt roll) and ask every member of the family to FILL the sheet with things they are grateful for. Make the paper as long as you’d like, but try to push everyone to go beyond the basics and think of things that they take for granted. (Adapted from Lets-Get-Together.com)

Thanksgiving ABCs. Print out a sheet with the alphabet down the left side and have kids think of one thing they are thankful for that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Work together with younger kids or make it into a game for older kids by timing them.

Thanksgiving placemats. Help your children create placemats for your Thanksgiving. Cut out leaf or pumpkin shapes from colorful paper and having kids (and adults!) write the things they are thankful for on each shape. Be sure to include the family members who will be joining you on Thanksgiving and other things important to your family. You can even include real fall leaves if you like! Glue these shapes and leaves onto a larger sheet of paper or cardboard and laminate or cover with contact paper to make them easy to wipe off. You will be able to use these for years to come!

Whatever activities you choose, make gratitude a priority this month and throughout the year. Your children will learn empathy and become more selfless as they realize how much they have to be thankful for. And you just might have fun together as a family while you give thanks!

Sample checklist for the Gratitude Scavenger Hunt:

We are surrounded by things to be thankful for! Find something….

  •  That tastes good
  •  That gives you comfort
  •  That you use everyday
  •  You can share with your brother/sister/friends
  •  You enjoy learning about
  •  Colorful
  •  That makes you laugh
  •  That used to be hard/scary for you
  •  That loves you
  •  You couldn’t live without
  •  That is beautiful

Sara Keenan lives in Brookside with her family.

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