Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Autumn is here again, and in Canada that means it's Thanksgiving! Of course in America, Thanksgiving is still a couple months away, so we can consider this a head start.
"Give Thanks". We all say it, but how many of us really realize the depth of it? It's important to stop and reflect on the day to day blessings we have… you know, the basics… food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, education, healthcare.
How do we get our kids to realize that these are indeed privileges, and things they should not take for granted. Here are 5 fun, crafty ways to get your kids involved in the gratitude aspect of Thanksgiving (and not just the "turkey eating" part!)
1. Thankfulness Tree
This modern home decor option is great for your entry way console table. Anyone who comes to visit can contribute to the tree by writing what they're thankful for on a leaf, and hanging it on a branch.
Get your kids to write more than one leaf, leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend.
2. "Today I am thankful for" - Door hanger sticky notes
This is a really cool and personal activity. Each person gets their own door hanger and sticky note pad. Every day, leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, you write what you're thankful for that day.
I've designed a few door hangers, that you can download for FREE!
Just print them out (maybe stick them to a sheet of card stock), cut them out and hang them up! The sticky note pad fits perfectly and sticks right on (Grab a pack here)
3. Giving Thanks Jar
Similar to the Thankfulness Tree, you write down what you're thankful for, and put each leaf in the jar. At Thanksgiving dinner, open the jar, and read all of the leaves together, as a family.
4. Gratitude Wreath
Combine home decor with gratitude. Create a wreath sized ring (I used a wire clothes hanger, paper plate (cut out the middle) and wrapped it with craft paper. (Cheap and easy!) Using the same construction paper leaves that we've been using so far, again, write different things you're thankful for, and hang it up on your front door.
How about writing that you're thankful for the efforts of your mailman and paperboy? If they notice it, I'm sure it'll make their day!
5. Thankful Turkey
This is a smaller craft that you can do with younger children. Start with a paper roll. Cut out a simple turkey shape and stick it on. Add googly eyes, a beak and the turkey snood. Then cut out "feathers" and have your little one assign each feather to something he/she is thankful for. Make sure to put their Thankful Turkey on display, and have them show and explain to family members when they come over for Thanksgiving weekend.
6. BONUS: Compassion Experience
This is not a craft, but probably one of the most effective ways to teach your children about gratitude. Last year, I took my son (who was 6 at the time) to an event called "The Compassion Experience".
The Experience gives visitors a chance to see life for some children from a different perspective. Visitors hear the stories, and walk through replicas of the homes and environments of real children who have grown up under the weight of extreme poverty. It's an eye opener for children who live in "comfort" and makes them appreciate what they have in a whole new way.
Hopefully if we teach our kids about gratitude, it will stay with them and they will practice it, not only at Thanksgiving, but all year round!