The season of focusing on gratitude and being thankful is upon us! Looking for unique ways to teach this character trait to your children? Keep reading for ideas and a free thankful jar ideas printable.
What does it means to be thankful?
Of course the answer to this question is a no-brainer. Yet, there is an aspect of being thankful that I believe is important to teach our children. The aspect I speak of is learning to be thankful with no strings attached.
In our fast-paced, all-about-me society, we can see thankfulness attached to what others can do fo us. We also see it in what people can give us. While we should certainly be thankful in these moments, what about when things aren’t going our way?
Ideas for Teaching Thankfulness
Read Scripture and Bible stories
There are many ways to teach our children about being thankful. In my home, we like to start with Scripture and bible stories that show it. A few to consider are:
- Ezra 3:11
- Psalm 7:17
- Psalm 9:1
- Philippians 4:6-7
- Colossians 2:6-7
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Hebrews 12:28-29
These Scriptures can be used as copywork, journal prompts, Bible journaling, or for a good family discussion. Below are some Bible stories to read as a family:
- Mary’s gratitude for Jesus (Luke 1).
- Leper thankful for healing (Luke 17:12-19).
- Jehoshephat is thankful under pressure (2 Chronicles 20).
- Hannah gives thanks for Samuel (1 Samuel 1).
- Daniel gives thanks (Daniel 6).
As you read these stories, discuss them in contextual form and how these situations can appear in our lives today.
Create Thankful Arts and Crafts
This can be especially fun if you have kinesthetic and tactile children. These arts and crafts will make for a fun time of learning about how to be thankful:
- Thankful Turkeys: Use your child’s handprint as the body of the turkey (cut out of brown construction paper). Put googly eyes on the thumb and a small triangle as the beak (yellow construction paper). Cut out leaves and write what they are thankful for on them, then glue them around the fingertips.
- Thankful Trees: Cut out a tree in brown construction paper. Then, cut a variety of leaves from different colored construction paper. Have children write (or dictate) what they’re thankful for on the leaves then glue them on the tree.
- Thankful Rocks: Go on a nature walk and find some smooth rocks or stones (or purchase some from the store). Decorate them and write what you’re thankful for on them.
Create a Thankfulness Jar
This is something the entire family can get involved in (and works best if they do). Using the free printable pack below, choose one of the thankfulness jar templates*. There’s one for a small jar (think jelly size), one for a medium jar (think pickles), and one for a box (think diapers).
Have your children color the template and decorate the jar with stickers, ribbon, and whatever else they choose. Then, use the other printables for filling in things everyone is thankful for. Cut, fold, and place the pieces inside the jar (or box).
Each day, have a thankful family gathering and have each person draw one thing out of the jar and read it. These make for great discussions that can be expanded upon. The idea is to naturally teach your children about being thankful and make it relatable to real life.
*You can also have each child create a thankfulness jar (or box) or stick with having one for the entire family.
To help you get started, here’s Michelle’s free printables to create thankful jars and more. Just leave your name & email below and we’ll zip it over to you.
Brick and mortar teacher turned WAHM, Michelle Huddleston is a mama of 5 blessings, married to her high school crush, and has homeschooled for 7 years. She enjoys speaking, writing, and helping other mamas homeschool with grace and ease.
Coming from a place of simplicity, Michelle provides free resources on her blog and in her homeschooling group. She’s also the founder of the one and only Multi-Ethnic Homeschool Conference, and author of Amazon best-seller, Just for Today’s Homeschooling Mom. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!
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