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3 Activities for Exploring Thankfulness with Your Preschooler

by Makinya Ward on December 14, 2016
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shutterstock_453171346.jpgNothing warms a parent's heart more than hearing from their Kids Konnect preschool teacher that their child is very thoughtful and grateful. Learning thankfulness is an important part of growing up. Do you sometimes feel your children are not as thankful as you wish? Give them opportunities this season to explore and express their thanks with these 3 thankfulness activities for preschoolers:

Thankful Tree

Exploring thankfulness is a process of noticing what other people do for us and then learning the words that help us express our feelings of gratitude. Help your child see the connection between doing good deeds and telling our thanks by using a thankful tree throughout the holiday season to record the good things they experience. Here is how:

  1. Collect some twigs or branches while on a fall walk. As you collect, talk about what you are thankful for, such as family, friends, nice clothes, or Kids Konnect teachers.
  2. When you get home, put the branches in a vase. Explain that this is going to be your "thankful tree" and that you are going to write down things you are grateful for on leaves you will hang on the tree.
  3. Let your child cut out some leaves from colored paper (either fall colors or paper that matches your holiday decorations). Depending on your child's age, you might want to make a leaf pattern to trace or draw some leaves for them to cut out.
  4. You or your child can write down the things you are thankful for on the leaves.
  5. Punch holes in the top of the leaves and add some string or ribbon for hanging on the branches.
  6. Invite your child and visitors to your home during the holidays to add leaves to your tree.
  7. You might want to keep the tree by your front door or use it as a centerpiece during the holiday.

Gratitude Jar

This thankfulness activity is something you can do throughout the year, and can even become a family tradition. Your gratitude jar can be any large container or mason jar. If you want, your child can decorate the jar with stickers or photos and Mod Podge and write "Gratitude Jar" on the lid. Here is how to use the jar:

  1. Every day for a month, each person in the family talks about a moment in the day that made them thankful.
  2. Jot down those moments on strips of paper and put them in the jar. Encourage your child to write or draw pictures of the memory.
  3. At the end of the month, or on a special day like Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, open the jar and read every thankful moment.

You might even want to continue the gratitude jar throughout the year, perhaps doing it just once or twice a week. At the end of the year, you might want to make a special scrapbook of all the memories and include pictures of the year as well.

Giving Box

The next step in exploring thankfulness is learning how to reciprocate and do things for others that show our gratitude. You can do this with just some folded cards and a little creativity:

  1. Start by folding some index card sized pieces of paper in half.
  2. Ask your preschooler to name some of the things they are thankful for and write them on the front of the cards.
  3. Next, brainstorm ideas of how your preschooler can show thankfulness for that person or thing. For example:
  • If they are grateful for nature, they could play outside.
  • If they are grateful for friends, they could invite someone over to play.
  • If they are grateful for toys, they can donate a toy to charity.

Make the activities something that will be fun for the child or enjoyable for you to do together so that showing gratitude will be a joy, not a chore. Put all the cards in your giving box and draw one out every day, or a few times a week. Your child will both learn about thankfulness and also learn to serve others by doing things like gathering wildflowers for a neighbor, making cookies for a teacher, or spending time playing with a younger child.

Be Thankful Every Day

Exploring thankfulness with your child can be an eye-opening experience and a wonderful way to focus on the positive things in every day. As you think back on the past year, what are you thankful for?

Topics: character education, Activities for Preschoolers