December 22, 2017

6 Creative Ways to Teach Importance of Gratitude to Kids


In a world where so much is at our fingertips, it can be difficult to slow down and focus on the importance of gratitude. There are some very creative ways to help kids understand what it means.
Slow down and take some time to teach them gratitude this season and all year long.

1. DIY T-Shirt Gifts
I can always see the concept of thankfulness clicking for my kids when we intentionally do something for others. Anything that a child makes is unique and happily received. After all, it is the thought behind the gift that counts.

However, I try to find DIY projects that are either useful or crazy cute. These DIY t-shirts are both!
T-shirt crafts are an affordable and easy way to make gifts for those in need. Let your child choose a design for both girls and boys. They will use glue to draw a design on the shirt like a flower, smiley face, snowman or holiday star.

Then the fun really begins. Let them paint the shirt in their favorite colors.   
For this project, you only need kids t shirts, glue, paint brushes and acrylic paint. No sewing or difficult stencil cutting is required.

Once the paint is dry, donate your child’s artwork to a local shelter, crisis center or church. An at-need child will treasure the gift! 

2. Gratitude Stones
The gratitude stone project is simple enough for a toddler but effective enough for older children and teenagers. Get the whole family involved in making these sweet little stones.

Using tissue paper, cut out a heart. Use modge podge to apply the heart to a stone. You can purchase stones at a craft store,or go on a nature walk to start your collection. You are looking for smoother, rounded stones, and a size a child can grip with ease. In addition to the heart, you can write inspirational quotes, Bible verses or questions about gratitude.

There are many ways the stones can be used to start conversations about gratitude at home. Write different questions on each stone like, “I am most thankful for” and “Today, I remembered to be grateful for.” Each person will answer the questions on the stone that they draw out of a bag.

In our community, we hide painted rocks to encourage others. Some are just pictures, and others have inspirational quotes. Hide your rocks around the house every day. Whenever your child finds one, bring up a conversation about gratitude.

3. A Gratitude Journal
Fill journals with words, images and objects. Purchase a special notebook for each person in your family.

Encourage your children to look for items they can place in their gratitude journal. Work on it together in the evenings or designate a time on the weekends. Find gratitude prompting questions online that you can ask to get those wheels turning.

If you have a printer, you can let them search for things to print out. The kids can also look through magazines for items to cut out and glue onto the pages of their journals.

4. A Gratitude Tree
There are many different ways to make a gratitude tree. When my children were smaller, we used construction paper to make our tree. We glued it onto a poster board and added leaves to it every so often.

This is an easy way to keep the concept of gratitude in your little one’s heart every day. They love to add leaves to the tree!

Go on a nature walk and find a branch that has several smaller limbs poking out from it. It should look like a miniature tree. Place it inside of a larger jar, vase or coke bottle.

Cut out leaves from construction paper, and hole-punch them. Keep them stacked on the counter so you can add them to the tree anytime. Write what you are thankful for and then tie it to your small tree. Don’t forget to discuss “why” you are grateful.

5. The Gratitude Game
The gratitude game is the perfect way for fun to meet with serious conversation. This game will help your child remember the things they are thankful for, while also spending quality time with their family.

This game is a version of Pick-Up Sticks. You can use colored pencils or paint some chopsticks. Color code each stick for different categories of thankfulness. Blue may be for a person, red for a place and purple for something random.

Each person takes a turn dropping their sticks. They must try to pick up the stick that lands on top of the others. They cannot move the other sticks. Whatever color they pick up, they will share what they are thankful for.

There’s no disturbing or moving the other sticks or you lose your turn! Whoever collects the most sticks by the end of the game wins.

6. Serving Others
There is no better way to put things in perspective than hands-on service to those in need. Everyone has a special way that they can reach out and help others. Musically gifted children may want to perform at a nursing home. If you have an artist on your hands, let them make cards and pictures for local shut-ins.

Volunteer at a local shelter, rescue mission or community help center. You may be working to feed those in need or to fill bags with toys for children at Christmas time. These opportunities are sometimes seasonal. All year round, you can bake cookies or make a meal for your neighbors or families who are having difficulties.

We like to choose a nonprofit charity or organization to help support from year-to-year. Let your child be the spokesperson for your fundraising campaign. They can make something to sell or give away with donations that are designated for a benevolent cause.

The most important aspect of instructing your child about gratitude is talking about the concept. Let them ask questions and explain in detail the importance of having a thankful heart. 


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