It’s easy to see why having a positive outlook is very important as an adult but this is outlook often not taught to children. Well, with Thanksgiving coming it is the perfect time to look at how you can use gratitude activities for kids. These activities will help you teach gratitude to your students so they too can have a positive outlook on life.
If you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s a quick highlight of what you can have students do.
Have more time now? Keep reading for details and a few freebies to make teaching gratitude easier.
Using Thanksgiving books is a great way to introduce the concept of gratitude in your classroom. Teaching gratitude may not be part of your daily routine or curriculum but it can dramatically change your classroom management. As a bonus, gratitude activities for kids can also offer an opportunity for children to practice literacy skills.
If you have not read the book I AM THANKFUL: A THANKSGIVING BOOK FOR KIDS I highly recommend you do! It is a simple story that focuses on the connection that children need not only with family but also with friends near and far. This simple book uses rhyming, a skill you already have to teach your students, to tell a story of togetherness. What is really lovely and can help you bring rhyming into your classroom is the use of a repeated poem.
This little poem can be printed and used in your classroom as a part of your gratitude activities for kids that help your students to remember to be grateful for everything they have.
Here are a few other gratitude activities for kids that can be incorporated into your classroom routine that help your students develop a grateful heart.
Make Thankful Turkey Placemats
Construction Paper / Color Paper
Crayons, Pencils, Markers
Write “I am thankful for ______________” on the bottom of one paper and photocopy the number needed for your class.
Give each student a piece of paper or construction paper and crayons, pencils or markers
- trace their hands.
- draw one thing they are thankful for in the palm of their hand
- write the name of what they drew on the line below
- draw decorate their placemat
For those who are more crafty making a classroom quilt would be a beautiful activity. I did this with my first class 18 years ago (during my crafting peak) and still treasure it! Ours was their hand prints and their names but yours can be gratitude themed. You can easily have your students draw a picture of what they are thankful for and put it together into a classroom quilt. I’m not a crafty person but this article from The Savvy Age gives you step by step instruction!
Daily Gratitude Practices
I recently came across the idea of bucket fillers and love the idea. I shared several bucket filler activities and book recommendations in the October bundle in the Exclusive Bundle Membership.
A twist on this idea of filling someone’s bucket would be to have a daily thankfulness moment. To make things more tangible for your students you can have them give someone in the classroom their special token to show their gratitude for something they did. You can download a link to a token template here. Simply pop in your students’ pictures, print on cardstock and laminate or choose not to laminate and have extra…whatever makes your life easier.
The idea with this is to take timeout each day to allow students to think of what others have done for them. They also get the chance to show gratitude by giving them a token that can only come from them. For example, Sally can only give tokens that have her face on them.
These simple gratitude activities may begin at Thanksgiving but can last year round. Though they seem simple, as a kindergarten teacher you can use these gratitude activities for kids to help young learners develop the lifelong skill of being grateful. A skill that goes well beyond school.