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Thanksgiving Activities for Children

A Month of Thanksgiving Activities for All Ages

Thanks-giving is something we can and should be doing all year long, (note to self) but November is a month that is an ideal time to really focus in on this character trait, and build an “Attitude of Gratitude”!

Build an “Attitude of Gratitude” by continually offering up thanks to God

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Here are some fun Thanksgiving activities that you can do with your family, no matter what age you are, to encourage a thankful heart!

 Start a tradition this year!

  1. Get out a pint or quart-size jar with a cover.
  2. Every day (or more often, if you’d like) you, and each of your children, write on a slip of paper something you’re thankful for. Your younger children can dictate it to you, or draw a picture. The goal is to fill the jar before Thanksgiving.
  3. At the evening meal or once a week, have your children take turns drawing a Thankful Slip out of the jar and then reading it out loud.
  4. Pray, thanking God for what was written on the slip, and any other things you are grateful for.

Optional DIY project: You can paint a ball jar, decorate the outside of the jar, leave the cover on and cover it with fabric, or, put raffia around it or ribbon. This will make you want to leave it out in plain sight, which will remind everyone even more to be thankful!

Thanksgiving Tree DIY
Thanksgiving Tree DIY

For Small Children

1st Way of Doing It:

  1. Draw a tree (see image above or go to A Thanksgiving Tree for complete instructions) with a trunk and branches, but no leaves.
  2. Have each of your children think of something each day that they’re grateful for, and write it on a piece of paper in the shape of a leaf, or trace their hand in colored paper for fall leaves.
  3. Add leaves daily and try to have a full tree by Thanksgiving!

2nd Way of Doing It:

  1.  Draw a turkey with a body (basically a circle) and a head, but no feathers on stiff paper or construction paper.
  2. Write daily thanks on paper in the shape of a feather. Try to have a full turkey by Thanksgiving!

3rd Way of Doing It:

  1.  Have your children color Thanksgiving placemats! I’ve pinned some free Thanksgiving placemat printables on my Pinterest boards “Preschool” and “Toddlers”!
Create a month long tradition full of thanksgiving activities for children
Create a Month-long Tradition

For Older Children

  • Older children, teens and young adults, as well as parents, can make a list, which you all read once a week.  Our family has done this a few years, and on Sunday mornings in November we’d gather and read our lists to one another.  This was an amazingly bonding activity, and is eye-opening as it lets you, as parents, in on what your older children and teens are thinking. A variation on this: Read your thanks-giving lists on Thanksgiving Day, (after your meal, so you don’t upset the cook!).

Family Discipleship: Grateful Together

  • Write a letter of gratitude to someone. For a number of years, all four of us wrote a note of gratitude to each of our three teaching elders of our church and their family.  Then we put them all in an envelope and presented the envelope to them on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (or you can mail them).  Writing out your thanks makes you really think about how much you have to be grateful for, and the extra effort really makes the recipient feel special–plus they can keep it and read it over and over again.
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Start and end your day consistently & calmly with routines!

Want to Be Consistent in what’s most important? Get your CHECKLISTS FOR CONSISTENT ROUTINES to help you establish consistency in a Morning Routine and Evening Routine including Bible reading and prayer.

Creating Family Unity Through Traditions

  • At the top of every hour, whether at work or home, or wherever you are, stop and think of something for which to say “Thank You, Lord.” Knowing that each of your family members is doing the same is also spiritually bonding.

None of these activities is difficult or time-consuming. They don’t cost a lot of money. They are a sacrifice of self, but reap rich rewards. Planting seeds of gratitude grows a harvest, like the mustard seed grows a tree, much larger than you would ever expect.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I encourage you to begin traditions in your home, if you haven’t already. Choose ones that are timeless. All of these can be carried on into your children’s homes and families when they grow up!

The act of remembering to give thanks is so Biblical, and pleases God. It is God’s will, in fact! It causes our hearts and minds, and habits to be changed. We are a forgetful people, a good friend of ours likes to say, yet God has been so good to us! Let’s stop to remember and give Him thanks and cultivate an “Attitude of Gratitude” this November!

Remembering to give thanks, It is God's Will
It is God’s Will

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