23 Gratitude Activities for Kids to Show Thanks

August 29, 2022

Sara Dennis

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Gratitude activities for kids are an essential way to teach your children to be grateful for what they have and to think thankful thoughts instead of complaining about everything they don’t have. These gratitude activities are an excellent way to get your child away from thinking about material things and to encourage them to think about how to make the world a better place.
Thankful girl showing a sign that says thank you

What is Gratitude

When you introduce the concept of gratitude to children, you will need to explain the word. The easiest way is to explain that gratitude is being thankful or happy that you have what you have. 

It’s being happy someone thought of you and gave you a present. It’s being thankful that you have a warm house and good food to eat. And it’s appreciating that you have a loving family.

Once you’ve explained what gratitude is to children, ask your child to tell you some things they’re happy to have in their lives.

Why is Gratitude Good For Kids?

A sense of gratitude makes kids pleasant to have around the house. Some benefits of gratitude are that kids are happier when they’re thinking about everything they have instead of what they don’t have. 

They don’t experience as many negative emotions, meaning that your child will be less stressed and less likely to be depressed. Instead, you’ll have a grateful child with excellent mental health.

Teaching Gratitude to Kids

Thankfully, the concept of gratitude can be taught through simple activities. Encourage your children to practice gratitude by saying thank you when they receive gifts. 

Even in difficult times, you can model gratitude for your children. Make a gratitude list and hang it on the wall. Sit down and ask your whole family what everyone is thankful for on a regular basis.

And don’t forget to involve your children in doing random acts of kindness for another family member. It’s often the small things that express gratitude the best such as making a card, sharing candy, or enjoying fun activities together.

Gratitude Activities for Kids

These fun gratitude activities are a great way to teach kids gratitude. You can focus on working through these activities throughout the month of November or do these activities on a daily basis. Eventually, your children will develop an attitude of gratitude.

1. Say Thanks Around Your Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving comes at the start of the holiday season. A fun way to develop a grateful heart in your children is to express gratitude for all the good things that have happened over the last year.

Go around the Thanksgiving table and ask each person to say thanks. You can start with parents or older children before moving on to younger children. 

If you’d like, you can even start a thankful book. Have someone write down what everyone is thankful for as you go around the table and save the book for the next Thanksgiving. Then read what was written down last year before working your way around the table again.

Eventually, you’ll end up with a beautiful family gratitude book.

2. Read Bible Verses About Giving Thanks

Another meaningful way to create a sense of gratitude is to read Bible verses about giving thanks.

For instance, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 from NIV is an excellent choice to read.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Here are 5 Bible verses for kids about gratitude you can print off to hang around the house.

3. Create a Memory Tablecloth

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to create a memory tablecloth. Drape your dining room table with a white tablecloth and purchase some sharpies or fabric markers. 

Choose a color for the year and have everyone at the Thanksgiving table write or draw something that they’re grateful happened over the last year. Then write their names underneath it.

Don’t forget to pull out your memory tablecloth the next Thanksgiving, choose a new color, and again write down what you’re grateful for. It’s a wonderful way to create a new family tradition.

Here’s a detailed explanation of how how to make a Thanksgiving memories tablecloth.

4. Show & Tell

Another creative idea for exercising your gratitude muscle is to host a Show and Tell. During family time, have everyone bring a favorite thing that they’re grateful for. Young kids may bring a stuffed animal or picture book. 

Then have each family member explain why they’re grateful for the item and say why it’s special. It’s a wonderful way to develop a grateful heart in your children.

5. Sing Some Psalms

Another fun way to develop thankful hearts is to sing some Psalms. Psalms are beautiful when set to music and many are appropriate for Thanksgiving. If you prefer, you can also simply read the Psalms aloud at the dinner table.

For instance, Psalm 111 is a beautiful song to sing as a family. Other beautiful Psalms are Psalm 138 and Psalm 136.

Thankful for Each Other

One of the best gratitude activities is expressing gratitude for each other. Go around the Thanksgiving table and take turns saying what you’re most grateful for about each other. 

Each person can say something about all the other people sitting at the table, or you can keep it simple and have everyone say something nice about the person on their right or left. This is a powerful way to remind children to be thankful for the important people in their lives.

6. Thanksgiving Scrapbook

Have you thought about creating a Thanksgiving scrapbook? It’s a wonderful way to reflect upon the entire year and think about what you appreciate about it. 

Pick up a scrapbook. You can take pictures of everyone at the Thanksgiving table and have each person, young and old, say what they’re grateful for. You can also have people draw pictures, add stickers, or write a paragraph.

It’s up to you!

7. Gratitude Jar

A gratitude jar is a great way to develop positive emotions in your family. 

First, decorate a canning jar with a pretty ribbon and cut some strips of paper. Set the thankful jar in the middle of the table. Have everyone write something they’re grateful for on a piece of paper. Young children can dictate ideas to an older family member or draw a picture.

See if your family can find enough items to fill the jar. Save the jar for an entire year. Then pull it out next Thanksgiving and read each piece of paper. 

8. Gratitude Table Talk Prompts

Another powerful tool is to come up with some gratitude prompts to talk about at the Thanksgiving table. It’s one of the easiest ways to encourage gratitude and can be done at any time of the year.

Favorite Memory

Ask your family what their favorite memory is. Make sure everyone understands that it needs to be a positive memory, for instance, riding a rollercoaster or playing at the beach with their cousins. 

Good People in History

For creative family fun, ask everyone in your home to list some good people they’ve learned about in history. Don’t stop there. Make sure that you ask your kids to explain why these people are good and why your children are grateful for them.

Random Acts of Kindness

Ask your children to talk about a time when a stranger did something kind for them. What happened, and why was the act so helpful at the time? Don’t forget to ask your children to think about some ways they can perform a random act of kindness as well.

Gratitude Writing Activities for Kids

A powerful tool for kids of any age is to assign some gratitude writing activities. Older kids can complete the writing activity alone, but little kids may need to dictate their responses to you.

9. Write a Letter of Gratitude

Write a letter of gratitude to a teacher, grandparent, friend, or sibling. Have your children list everything they enjoy about the person and why they’re grateful to have the person in their lives. 

You can use a letter template for kids to make it easy. When the letter is finished, put it in an envelope and mail it to the person. It’s a simple way to express appreciation for the people in your children’s lives.

10. Gratitude Journals

My 6th-grade teacher told us one of the best ways to create true happiness was to keep a gratitude journal. You can purchase a beautiful journal or use a spiral-bound notebook.

Then each day, list 10 things you’re grateful for or that you’re grateful happened that day. Journaling for kids a beautiful way to develop a positive attitude in your children.

11. Write Thank You Notes

Thank you notes may be a dying art, but it’s one that should be revived. Have your children write thank you notes for the gifts they receive, especially from distant family and friends. 

It’s not only good manners but also a wonderful way to maintain friendships and develop a sense of gratitude for what you receive.

Gratitude Crafts and Art Projects for Kids

These gratitude crafts and art projects aren’t just a way to keep kids busy while the Thanksgiving turkey is cooking. They’re also a wonderful way to help your kids develop an attitude of gratitude and encourage them to think about what they’re grateful for beyond good food and a loving family.

 12.Make a Gratitude Tree

One fun activity is to make a gratitude tree. Head outside and find some branches to put in a vase. Then hang leaves on the branches that list various things you and your kids are grateful for. You can carefully write on a real leaf with a marker or make paper leaves from construction paper. Fall construction paper crafts are always fun for my kids!

How to Make a Thankful Tree – This is an easy craft project that uses branches you collect and construction paper leaves.

How to Make a Thankful Tree with Real Fall Leaves – Make a grateful tree for your Thanksgiving table using branches and real leaves for a beautiful fall foliage centerpiece.

Paper Bag Gratitude Tree – Make a tree from a paper bag and then glue construction paper leaves that list various things your family is grateful for to the bag.

13. Make a Grateful Hand Turkey Craft

A wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to make a thankful Turkey craft. These crafts use your child’s handprint to help create the turkey.

Colorful & Easy Thankful Turkey Craft for Kids – Make a simple handprint turkey and then write what your child is grateful for on each turkey feather.

Thankful Handprint Turkey Craft – Free Printable – This handprint turkey craft includes a free printable where children write a sweet note to someone important in their lives.

Thankful Turkey Hand Art – Have your children make this adorable turkey hand art and then use some playdough to help it stand. The turkey will make a fun centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.

14. Gratitude Stones

Gratitude stones are fun to make part of your daily lives. Pass it around the dinner table and have each family member state something they’re grateful for while they’re holding it. You can also share the stones with people you’re grateful to have in your life.

How to Make Gratitude Stones – Learn how to make gratitude stones for your family and get some fun ideas on what to do with them once they’re made.

Encourage Thankfulness with Gratitude Stones – Encourage thankfulness in your community by making gratitude stones and passing them around with a free printable. This is a fun activity you and your children can enjoy together.

15. Gratitude or Thankful Leaves

Gratitude or thankful leaves are leaves you make out of paper or clay and write down what you’re grateful for. This is a wonderful way to create unique fall decorations for your home while encouraging gratitude in your kids. You can use leaf templates to make it a quick and easy project!

Thankful Leaves: How to Make a Gratitude Garland – Make a small pile of thankful leaves and collect them to create a gratitude garland. This is a fun exercise to complete during the month of November.

Clay Gratitude Leaves Thanksgiving Craft – Make marbled gratitude leaves to hang on a gratitude tree or to create a stunning gratitude garland to hang in your home.

16. Gratitude Sunflower Craft

This gratitude sunflower craft has children list everything they’re grateful for on each petal of a sunflower. It’s an easy craft to enjoy with one or a small group of children.

Thankful Sunflower Paper Plate Craft for Preschoolers – Use a paper plate to create a tangible list of items younger kids are thankful to have in their lives.

sunflower paper plate thankful craft

17. Gratitude Mobile or Wind Spinners

Make a gratitude mobile or thankful wind spinner to place in a room or outside. These are fun gratitude exercises that encourage kids to think thankful thoughts while having a wonderful time making a fun craft.

Gratitude Mobile – This fun craft has kids create a mobile that lists various things they’re grateful to have in their lives.

Thankful Wind Spinner – Make a thankful wind spinner out of paper and hang it in a tree. 

18. Make a Gratitude Flower

Crafting a gratitude flower is a fun activity to complete. Pull out some paper, cut out the center and petals, and list various things you’re grateful for. You can use the gratitude flowers as a centerpiece in a vase or give them to someone you love.

Mindfulness for Kids – Gratitude Flower – This simple flower is an easy craft for small children. Help them tell you things they’re thankful for and list the items on the petals. 

Blooming with Gratitude Flower Craft – Make some fun gratitude flowers in a blooming with gratitude pot. 

Friendship Flower Gratitude Craft – Create a gratitude flower to give to a friend by listing everything you like about your friend on each petal.

19. Make a Gratitude Paper Chain

A gratitude paper chain is an amazing activity for the family to complete in November. Just write something you’re thankful for on a piece of paper and chain the pieces of paper together. If each family member adds one link daily, you’ll soon have a long chain to hang around your house. 

Thanksgiving Craft Gratitude Chain – Craft a fall-colored Thanksgiving gratitude chain to hang in your house.

Gratitude Chain – A Printable Thanksgiving Activity for Families – This printable activity will guide you through making a gratitude chain with your family.

20. Create a Gratitude Banner

Make a gratitude banner to decorate your house. You can hang the gratitude banners in bedrooms, dining rooms, or over doors.

Acorn Gratitude Banner for Kids – Print several of these cute acorns and have your kids list things they’re grateful for on each acorn. Then paperclip the acorns to a string to make a banner.

Express Your Gratitude with a Thankful Banner – Show your gratitude by making a beautiful thankful banner from signs, pictures, and crafts.

21. Make a Thankful Wreath

Craft a large group of thankful leaves, and then use the leaves to create a beautiful wreath to hang on the door of your house. You can make one large wreath for the entire family or have each child create a personal wreath to hang on their bedroom door.

Be Grateful with a DIY Thankful Wreath – Create a beautiful thankful wreath using fall-colored paper leaves and a felt backing.

22. Gratitude Drawing Prompts

Encourage your children to draw pictures of things for which they’re grateful. You can hang these drawings on a gratitude banner or the refrigerator. 

People I’m Grateful For

Have your children draw a picture of all the people they’re grateful are in their lives. These can be family members, coaches, friends, or teachers. If your child prefers, they can focus on a single person in their lives instead of trying to draw a picture of everyone.

Activities I Love

Another fun piece of art to draw is an activity your child loves to participate in. This may be soccer, dance, or climbing trees. Encourage your child to take their time and draw their favorite part of the activity.

Food They’re Grateful to Eat

Another fun drawing prompt kids love is to draw their favorite foods. If they could eat anything they wanted for dinner, what would they put on their plate? It might be a plate filled with candy, ice cream, or cake. Your child may prefer pizza, pretzels, or carrots. Encourage your child to draw a lovely picture of the food they’re grateful to eat.

23. Play Gratitude Games for Kids

Nothing is better than playing gratitude games with your children. You can play gratitude pick-up sticks, a Thanksgiving gratitude game, or even a fun gratitude Skittles game.

Gratitude Skittles Game – This game is fun for kids of all ages. Follow the instructions to say something different you’re grateful for based upon the color of Skittles you’re about to eat.

DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Game – Fill a jar with pieces of paper with gratitude prompts written on them. As each person pulls out a prompt, they need to answer it before passing the jar to the next person at the table.

The Gratitude Game: Pick-Up Sticks – Teach your kids gratitude while playing Pick-Up sticks. You’ll say the type of item you’re grateful for based on the color of the sticks.

gratitude pick up sticks game

Gratitude Printables for Kids

These are lovely gratitude printables for kids. Kids can send gratitude cards to people they care about, keep a gratitude journal, or color a fun gratitude coloring page to hang on the wall.

Printable Gratitude Journal for Kids – This printable gratitude journal includes prompts, questions, and spaces for kids to write and draw things they’re grateful for.

Gratitude Cards for Kids Coloring Pages – Download, print, and color these fun gratitude cards with your kids. Then cut them out and hand the cards to people you care about. This activity works best if you print the cards on card stock rather than regular printer paper.

Free Printable Gratitude Coloring Page – This fun gratitude printable is fun to color and hang in your home. Your child may enjoy hanging it on the fridge, their bedroom door, or on a gratitude banner.

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