Thanksgiving is a natural time to express gratitude, but that doesn’t mean expressing gratitude is natural. As we look to this holiday season, how can you help your preschooler be grateful?
Here are five simple activities to turn your preschooler’s heart to gratitude during this Thanksgiving season.
1. Thanksgiving Tree
This is a very simple idea, but it does a great job of visually displaying how much your preschooler has to be grateful for.
Get a small dead branch and plant it in a small pot. It’s like a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree without any evergreen needles.
Now get some string (yarn and twine both work well) and some paper. You can use 3x5 cards, cut up printer paper, or (if you’re feeling especially crafty) you can trace out leaves on colored construction paper.
At dinner each day, ask your preschooler to tell you something or someone that (s)he is thankful for and write that down on one of the papers. Hole punch the leaf and have your preschooler help you tie it up on the tree.
During the thanksgiving season, watch the tree grow with fall leaves and notes of gratitude!
2. Thanksgiving Chain
You can also make a simple paper chain as a simpler version of the tree.
Just write down the items of gratitude on colored construction paper strips and create paper links. You can fasten the links with staples, glue, or tape.
3. Popcorn Gratitude
All you need is a container and some popcorn kernels. Each meal you share as a family starts with some gratitude.
Just place a kernel or two at each place setting. Before each meal begins, take turns going around the table and sharing some item of thanksgiving. As each person shares, (s)he can place a kernel in the container.
4. Notes of Thanks
It’s important to be grateful for people, but in some ways that gratitude only means something if it is shared.
Start by having your preschooler compile a list of people (s)he is grateful for. Here are a few ideas:
- public servants (e.g., policemen and policewomen, etc.)
Now have your child draw a special picture for each person on his/her list. Before you mail it off or hand-deliver it, have your child tell you what (s)he is thankful for about that person and write it down on a note included in the envelope.
5. Thankful Round Robin
When you go to put your child to bed, play this fun and encouraging game. One of you shares some thanksgiving and then the other one follows with his/her own.