As a mother of eight children, I’ve journeyed through countless experiences, joys, and challenges with parenting. With each child, I’ve discovered the importance of teaching core values early on, and one of the most pivotal values I have emphasized is gratitude.
These gratitude activities have made gratefulness a cornerstone in my children’s lives and provided us with countless fun memories.
These are some of my most impactful activities that will help you teach your children to be thankful for all that life has to offer!
Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude isn’t just a feel-good emotion; it comes with a host of tangible benefits that can enrich our lives and our children’s lives.
From my journey raising eight children, I’ve seen firsthand the magic gratitude can bring to our family.
Here are some incredible benefits that gratitude brings:
– Boosts Well-being and Happiness
Multiple studies have shown that practicing gratitude can significantly increase happiness levels. When children focus on the good in their lives, they often feel deeper satisfaction and joy.
– Enhances Physical Health
Believe it or not, being grateful can improve our physical health. People who practice gratitude often experience fewer aches and pains and even sleep better!
When children express gratitude towards their friends and family, it fosters a sense of trust and closeness. It’s a simple way to strengthen bonds.
Life is filled with ups and downs. Children learn to see the silver lining even in challenging situations by cultivating a gratitude mindset. It makes them more resilient in the face of adversity.
Encourages Generosity and Kindness
Grateful kids tend to be more generous and compassionate. They develop a keen sense of empathy, wanting to give back to those around them.
Enhances Focus on the Present
Gratitude keeps us grounded. By appreciating the present moment, children become more mindful and savor their current experiences rather than fretting about the past or worrying about the future.
Recognizing and appreciating the good in our lives can make children feel more confident and optimistic about themselves.
Practicing gratitude activities for kids isn’t just a fun pastime. It’s an investment in their holistic well-being.
By instilling this value early on, we’re giving our children a tool to benefit them throughout their lives.
21 Gratitude Activities to Do with Your Child
#1 Gratitude Stones
Children can select or paint a stone that feels special to them. Whenever they’re feeling grateful, they can hold the stone and think about that particular thing or moment. Over time, this stone becomes a tactile reminder of all the good in their lives.
#2 Sing Gratitude Songs
For those who connect with music, writing or singing along to gratitude-themed songs can be a great way to express thankfulness. Adapt popular tunes to create your own gratitude songs.
Here is a list of 17 popular songs that have themes or lyrics centered around gratitude:
- Thank You by Dido -This song is known for its catchy chorus and appreciative lyrics. Dido thanks a particular person for providing solace during her challenging times.
- Kind & Generous by Natalie Merchant – In this song, Natalie Merchant expresses her gratitude repeatedly with the words “Thank you.”
- Thank You for Loving Me by Bon Jovi– A love ballad where Bon Jovi thanks his significant other for their unwavering love and support.
- Gratitude by Beastie Boys -This rock-infused track focuses on being thankful for what you have.
- Thank You by Led Zeppelin -This rock ballad from the iconic band is a love note, emphasizing thankfulness for love and support.
- Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold -This song became widely recognized as the theme song for the TV show “The Golden Girls.” It’s all about appreciating friendship.
- Blessed by Elton John -Elton sings about his joy and gratitude for becoming a parent.
- I Thank You by Sam & Dave (also covered by ZZ Top) -This classic soul track, later given a rock twist by ZZ Top, is a tribute to someone who has provided love and support.
- I Want to Thank You by Alicia Myers -A song that combines themes of love and spirituality to convey deep gratitude.
- Thank God I Found You by Mariah Carey ft. Joe and 98 Degrees -This ballad is about finding the person who changes everything and feeling profound gratitude for it.
- Thank U by Alanis Morissette – Alanis reflects on her life, the good and the bad, and expresses her gratitude for all experiences, as they’ve made her who she is.
- Gratitude by Earth, Wind & Fire -This funky tune from the legendary group is a lively celebration of thankfulness, urging everyone to show a little gratitude.
- Thank You for the Music by ABBA -ABBA pays homage to the joy of music, expressing gratitude for the songs they’re singing and the happiness they bring.
- Thankful by Kelly Clarkson -Kelly sings about appreciating love and life’s simple yet meaningful moments.
- Be Thankful by Natalie Cole -A soulful track where Natalie Cole sings about being grateful for the small joys in life, even if everything isn’t perfect.
- Thank U Next by Ariana Grande -Ariana reflects on her past relationships, thanking each one for teaching her something valuable emphasizing self-love and growth.
- Thank God for Hometowns by Carrie Underwood -Carrie expresses her gratitude for her roots, reminding us of the comfort and love that can be found in our hometowns.
You can incorporate these songs into activities by listening to them with your child and discussing the lyrics.
Or even just singing along to emphasize the feeling of gratitude.
#3 Dive into Reading Books About Gratitude
Reading books is a great way to introduce the concept of gratitude to your little ones. Not only does reading enhance cognitive skills, but it also offers a precious bonding moment.
Cuddle up together and let the world of stories unfold! Some of our favorite gratitude books include:
- All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
- Gratitude is My Superpower by Alicia Ortego
- Bear Says Thank You by Michael Dahl
- Grateful Ninja by Mary Nhin
- Grunt the Grizzly Learns to Be Grateful
- The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera
- When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan
- Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
- Taylor the Thankful Turkey by Sonica Ellis
- I Turned My Mom Into a Unicorn: A Funny Thankful Story by Brenda Li
They are all on this Amazon list: Gratitude Books for Kids.
#4 Gratitude Role Play
For kids who enjoy role-playing or playing with dolls or action figures, set up scenarios where the characters express gratitude to each other.
This playful method lets children dive into an imaginative setting and helps those who struggle in social situations.
By practicing gratitude in this way, they can build confidence and better understand social cues and interactions.
#5 Craft a Gratitude Chain or Tree
Engage in a delightful craft session by creating gratitude chains or trees. It’s a playful way for your child to express their thankfulness.
For a daily gratitude reminder, craft a chain with links representing each thing they’re grateful for, draping it decoratively in their room.
Alternatively, design a tree, adding a leaf each day to signify their daily moments of gratitude.
Let your imagination guide the length and design!
#6 Gratitude Collage
Children can create a collage of images representing things they’re grateful for using magazines or personal photos. This visual representation can be a daily reminder of their blessings.
#7 Embrace a Dinner Table Gratitude Ritual
Start a nightly ritual where each family member shares a moment of gratitude from their day. It can be a grand event or a simple joy.
This practice helps recognize daily blessings and reinforces an optimistic outlook, emphasizing that every day has memorable moments.
It’s a beautiful way to strengthen family bonds, creating cherished memories over shared meals.
#8 Gratitude Challenges
Spark some friendly competition with gratitude challenges. Set a timer and see who can jot down the most things they’re thankful for.
Adjust the time based on your child’s preference – a quick minute or longer.
Throughout the day, keep a tally of gratitude moments. Remember, these challenges are meant to be light-hearted and fun!
#9 Express Gratitude in Cards
Introduce your child to the art of expressing thanks by crafting personalized thank-you notes. Encourage them to paint, draw, and design their cards, channeling their creativity.
The act of penning down thank you notes instills gratitude and imparts essential manners.
It’s a heartfelt way for your child to communicate their appreciation to others.
#10 Embrace the Rainbow Moments
Life has its ups and downs, and children need to recognize this. During challenging days, introduce the concept of a “rainbow kind of day.”
Discuss the hurdles and highlight the ‘rainbow’ – the positive takeaway or the silver lining.
Much like nature’s storms, which are often followed by a brilliant rainbow, children can learn that there’s always a brighter side after facing difficulties.
This lesson teaches them to focus on the positives and share their feelings with you.
#11 Gratitude Bells
Hang up small bells around the house. Every time your child feels grateful, they can ring a bell.
It will become a gentle auditory reminder of the moments of gratitude that fill our days.
#12 Nighttime Thank-You
Before sleep, ask your child to discuss one good thing from their day. This will make being thankful a regular part of their bedtime routine.
#13 Thankful Jar
Let your child make a pretty jar with paint or stickers. Every day, write down something good and drop it in.
When it’s complete, enjoy reading the notes together!
#14 Happy Thoughts Journal or Notebook:
Give your child a journal or notebook. It’s their place to write or draw something good each day.
Doing this daily helps them remember all that they are thankful for.
#15 Five Senses Thanks
Help your child think about things they love with their senses. Such as:
- Yummy taste
- Soft or cool touch
- Nice smell
- A sound that makes them happy
- A pretty thing to look at
Have a scavenger hunt to find these items and enjoy them together. It’s a fun way to learn what they like most!
#16 Thank-You Bingo
This game lasts for a week or longer. Give your child a bingo card with simple thank-you tasks.
- Tell someone they’re special.
- Say a kind thing to a friend.
- Remember to say “please” and “thank you.”
- Write in their happy thoughts book.
When they complete a row, they get a small prize. Fill out the whole card for a big prize! It’s a fun way to practice being thankful.
#17 Pumpkin of Thanks
Instead of carving, write happy thoughts on your pumpkin. You can find stickers with quotes on them to use.
Cover it with things everyone likes!
#18 Find-It Game
Kids love these games! Use clues about happy things.
For example, “Find something warm you like to wear.” Or let them make clues for you to guess.
#19 Photo Fun
If your child likes taking photos, let them take pictures of 20 things they’re glad to have. Use your phone or a simple camera. Print them out to make a collage.
#20 Free Art Time
Give paper and colors. Let your child draw or paint what they are grateful for. No rules. Put their art on the refrigerator so they can see it every day.
#21 Happy Walk
Go outside and walk together. Talk about the good things you see and feel, such as a pretty leaf or the soft, cool breeze.
You might want to check out these other outdoor activities for kids.
What Gratitude Activity Will You Try With Your Child First?
Raising a child, especially one with special needs, is a journey filled with challenges and joys. Instilling the value of gratitude in their hearts not only enriches their lives but also helps in nurturing a positive mindset.
Each activity is a stepping stone toward fostering appreciation, understanding, and deeper emotional connections.
Remember, it’s not just about the big milestones but also the tiny moments of thankfulness that make our days brighter.
By embedding gratitude into your child’s daily routine, you’re giving them a life skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Embrace each moment, cherish every activity, and watch as the seeds of gratitude you plant today flourish in the future.
What other ways do you like to teach your child about gratitude? Share below in the comments.
Additional Parenting Resources
- 29 Fun Activities to Help Kids Focus (With Proven Results)
- The Surprising Benefits of Reading 20 Minutes a Day
- 54 Calming Activities for Kids (Simple Strategies for All Ages)
- The Ultimate Guide to a Better Bedtime Routine for Kids