As we welcome Fall, with its shorter days, cooler temperatures and falling leaves, daydreams of turkey and stuffing and sweet potato casserole are floating around in our heads. Along with family gathering from near and far, let’s not forget to be intentional in the way we think about and express our gratitude. As more studies come out showing the positive impact gratitude has on our mental, emotional, and physical health, it’s important that we begin this practice early with our young ones!
Below we’ve gathered some of our favorite family crafts and activities that can foster gratitude and the act of giving thanks.
1) “I am Thankful” pumpkin craft: This one is perfect for all ages! Simple and visual, have children write (or do it for them if they’re too young) something they are grateful for on each strip, and then easily put them together with a brad.
2) Tree of Gratitude: If you’d like something that’s visually beautiful and appealing, the possibilities are endless here. Find some branches, either from the craft store or outside, spray paint them how you’d like or leave them bare, and have family members hang hand-cut leaves on the branches, writing the things they’re grateful for on each leaf. During or after Thanksgiving dinner, you can take turns reading them out loud.
3) Thanksgiving Kids’ Table: We love this idea! If your family makes a kids’ table at Thanksgiving, you can give each child their own spot, complete with name tag and lines so they can write their own lists of the things they’re thankful for. You can go as simple or as elaborate as you’d like. And hey, why stop at the kids’ table? This would be a great idea for adults, too!
4) Thankful Turkey Craft: Another one for all ages, this craft is a great idea to get all of your kids from toddlers to teens discussing the things they’re thankful for.
5) Gratitude Chain: Don’t we all have fond memories of making paper chains to countdown the end of school, vacation, or list things we love? This is a Thanksgiving spin on the classic, where you create a visual of the growing list of things you and your family are grateful for- big and small. Each member of your family could even use a different color! Hang the chain around your dining room, it’s sure to be a wonderful conversation piece.
There are, of course, dozens of ways you can give thanks this season that aren’t crafts. Volunteer as a family, invite others without family nearby to join your feast, go out of your way to bless others and thank them for being in your life. Gratitude is a mindset, and the more we flex that muscle, the more powerful and natural it becomes!
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with an attitude of gratitude? We would love to hear in the comments section!
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.