gratitude activities for children

Showing gratitude is an act of showing appreciation and returning kindness to someone. It is an important quality that we need to nourish and exercise daily – the same goes for kids.

Research shows that gratitude correlates to children’s happiness by the age of 5. Instilling gratitude in your children helps them grow up to be happy, confident, and healthy. It also helps them manage their emotions and feelings.

Here are activities for kids that are fun, enjoyable, and easy to do. These activities can help your kids develop a sense of gratitude.

Gratitude Jar

A gratitude jar is a fun, artistic, and hands-on method for kids to practice gratitude. Each child will make a special jar in this activity in which they will save their gratitude letters before the day ends.

Start by assisting each child with decorating their jar. Use ribbons, stickers, magazine cutouts, natural items, or anything creative.

After decorating the jars, add the first three gratitude messages. A gratitude message recognizes something that a person appreciates or values. Each child can use prompts on the slips given or write their gratitudes on empty strips. Here are some examples:
“I am grateful for my dogs because they like to play with me.”
“I am thankful for the lunch I had earlier. It was my favorite: chicken nuggets!”
“I appreciate my mom because she took care of me when I was sick.”

You can encourage your child to do it every day. Then, perhaps, they can look at it when they feel lonely or unmotivated.

Gratitude Wall

Each night, ask your children to think about a simple item they are grateful for. It could be a fun experience or something that makes them happy. Then ask them to write it on a piece of paper, an index card, or a sticky note to hang on the wall.

This activity could help to improve mental health and wellbeing. Also, it is an assurance that your kids get a good night’s sleep and avoid having bad dreams.

Gratitude Tree

A gratitude tree is a tree craft that encourages us to pause, live in the now, and reflect on things we appreciate. In addition, a gratitude tree can assist you in connecting with your children and understanding what they care about and value.

You may make a tree out of a printable template and some pre-cut leaves. Ask your children to sketch or write on the leaves about things they are thankful for. Also, they can include essential beings in their lives – family, friends, or pets.

Thank You Notes

Encourage kids to choose someone they’d like to thank. It could be a friend, a neighbor, or a family member. Then, invite them to create a thank-you card to express their gratitude for having them in their lives. It’s a heartfelt way of saying thank you.

As a guide, follow these three steps for your kids to write a sincere and straightforward note:
1. Saying thank you. Expressing an appreciation through thanking is a simple, yet impactful act.
2. Sharing one detail. Encourage your child to share one activity or personal quality that makes them grateful for that person.
3. Wishing. Saying good things and wishes to other people is a heartwarming way of being grateful.

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

A gratitude scavenger hunt is perfect for kids to start finding little things to be thankful for. This scavenger hunt below fits as a spring bucket list or a quest to enjoy any time of the day.

  • Find something outside that you enjoy watching.
  • Find something helpful to you.
  • Look for anything in your favorite color.
  • Look for something that you know someone else will enjoy.
  • Find something that brings you joy.

Gratitude does not just happen. It’s a habit we must cultivate daily. Expressing gratitude through these activities can be a simple start and a joyful way for kids to appreciate life, people, and nature. And by the way, what is your favorite among the five activities?

References:

Raising Grateful Children One Day at a Time – PMC (nih.gov)

The Best Gratitude Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Adults – Natural Beach Living

Teaching gratitude: Fun learning activities for kids | Seattle’s Child (seattleschild.com)

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Jannah Abueza

Jannah Abueza

Jannah lives by the words, "ABC: Always Be Creating." She loves creating ideas, lesson plans for her yoga classes, and food projects. In her free time, she makes kombucha, yogurt, bacon, and cheese. Jannah also loves teaching and writing about what she learns.

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