If a mom with little ones would ask me, “What are three things I should focus on teaching my kids while they are little?” I would say, these are the three seeds we’ve planted and are continuously watering in our children–faith, integrity, gratitude and service. I know she asked for 3 but these are the 4 we’ve intentionally been tilling for the past 12 years in our little ones. Obviously, love is important but this we model it as we plant these seeds and in our daily life, so we hope that they would just pick it up through our outpouring of it to them and for each other.
As they get older they will pick up on some other wonderful character traits like courage, responsibility, hard work… but when they are little I want to set a firm foundation of these 4 pillars in their life.
Gratitude is something we practice all year long but we intentionally focus on it during this month so here are some ideas you can do with your kids that don’t take more than 5 minutes and are fun.
Teach Gratefulness in 5 Minutes a Day with these ideas
- Best and Worse— Go around and have everyone share the best thing that happened to them and worse moment of the day. Then when they are done sometimes others empathize with the persons worst. Then ask, “What is something good “Ellie” can take from her worse moment?” This gets us in a fun way trying to find the good in the bad of what life dishes out.
- Gratitude prompts/conversation starters— We currently have a jar sitting at our table with scripture gratitude prompts. The simple questions get us thinking and practicing gratitude. I have a whole list of free printables here:
– 21 Days of Gratitude Family Prompts
-Gratitude Prompt cards! Click Here
-Spanish Gratitude Prompt Cards! Click HERE
– Gratitude Prompts with Scripture
- I Like Game— At the dinner table or walk around your house and take turns saying what you like in that room. You can even do it in the car. It has to be something you can see. You can even do this outside. This helps your kids start thinking about the abundant life they live.
- Gratitude Quotes– Share a quote about Gratitude and discuss your thoughts about it during your meal, car ride from school or errand you’re running. I found a list of them here that you can print off.
- Gratitude Balloon– I really like this for a family devotional time. You can find the idea here.
- Gratitude Journal– We did this activity over the summer and basically what we did at dinner is write down as many things we could think of that we were thankful for in that day and they we would share it.
- Count Your Blessings Dinner Song and then share something you’re thankful for.
- Why? Gratitude Game— Come up with topics before hand like: Bugs, Household items, School, Government, Food… and each team will answer “Why?” they are thankful for the item they mentioned in that category. So once you pick the topic then everyone has a minute to come up with an item/thing that goes with that topic. Then each team has to come up with a reason of “Why?” they think it’s something we should be thankful for this item. My kids have gotten so creative that I’ve thought later how I can be thankful for that item/thing in particular. Come up with topics that are creative like–dirt, death, trash… To spice it up you can also object if they can’t defend it sufficiently.
- Read books about Generosity, Empathy, Kindness and Sacrifice
- Say Anything Gratitude game – This is currently our favorite game. For this game you’ll need a timer, paper and tiles or dice with the alphabet on it. You split up into teams. One person writes down the responses but all members of your team need to come up with as many things they can name in 2 minutes that start with the chosen letter. After the 2 minutes are up you share your responses. To make it more competitive you can see who comes up with the most items. You can also spice it up by objecting to the responses for example the letter is F and they said fleas so you object on how anyone can be thankful for fleas so then they have a chance to explain. If it’s not convincing then they delete it from the list.
- Send thank you notes. All of you sit down for 5 minutes and write thank you notes to others.
- ABC’s of Gratitude – Sometimes I need something as simple as the ABC’S to get me thinking about thankfulness. Go around the table and go through the alphabet and share something that starts with that letter you’re thankful for. You can go here for a free printable!
- Headbanz Thankfulness game– It’s our version of Headbanz with a Thanksgiving twist— you can find this fun game over here. We’ve had a lot of fun playing this the week of Thanksgiving and it’s also the perfect game for your Thanksgiving gathering.
- Thanksgiving Charades –Write what you’re thankful for on a piece of paper. Place it in a bag and then have everyone pick one out that is not there own. Take turns acting it out and guessing what it is. You can even add additional challenge and have the person who is acting it out guess who they think that belongs to. We played this last year and it was seriously hilarious.
- Thankfulness Memory Game -Each family member takes turns sharing one thing that he/she is thankful for. Before you share you have to remember everyone else’s blessings after adding your own!
This will take more than 5 minutes but I also love this activity.
- Go on a gratitude walk or hike. This is a great article with some ideas to practice gratitude and enjoy some physical activity.
- Random Acts of Kindness – Handing out fresh flowers to people waiting in the hospital. Write thank you cards. Here’s a long list of random acts of kindness summer ideas or this I Spy Random Acts of Kindness Jar or this Acts of Kindness Coin Jar!
- Gratitude Photo Scavenger Hunt