Gratitude or thankfulness is a skill that can be learned through repetitive behavior. We need to model grateful behavior with our children each day to help them develop a grateful attitude. This free gratitude activity for kids is an easy way to practice thankfulness with your kids.
Why Gratitude is Important
Gratitude is closely tied to happiness and satisfaction. Research has shown that grateful people are more likely to be happy, positive, hopeful and physically energetic. They also tend to be more spiritual, more forgiving, and more empathetic. In addition, thankful people tend to be less depressed, envious and neurotic.
Verbally Expressing Thankfulness
Simple activities that model gratitude can help children make it a habit for life. One easy way to create this habit is to set aside a certain time of day to verbally express and reflect on what you are grateful for in life. Children need to hear adults expressing gratitude.
The Thanksgiving season is a great time to begin practicing this habit of expressing gratitude with your family. Set aside a few minutes each day to express thanks out loud. Our family does this at our evening meal.
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Gratitude Activity for Kids
Finding an easy gratitude activity for kids can make establishing the habit of thankfulness easier on parents. A list of questions can spur the minds of children to get them thinking about gratitude in a bigger way, while a game can keep them interested in the conversation.
This can be as simple as:
- an easy printable dry erase board that asks kids to reflect and physically write down what they are thankful for
- a beautiful fabric scrap thankfulness garland that can be used as both an activity and a decoration
- a fun gratitude bowl that is easy for kids of all ages and encourages discussions
- baking thank you cookies with your family while expressing gratitude
Free Printable Cootie Catchers
I have created a free printable thankfulness activity that kids can fold and use to discuss gratitude. It’s a simple paper fortune-teller (sometimes called a “cootie catcher”) that is popular with elementary school students.
How to Fold Cootie Catchers for Thanksgiving
The cootie catcher features fun fall designs and 16 gratitude questions that will encourage family discussions.
Download the free printable cootie catcher and the cootie catcher folding instructions (in the free printables library, click on the “download” link under the cootie catcher picture, save the PDF file to your computer, and then print) then follow the simple instructions to make your own gratitude game.
Tip: I print my fortune tellers on matte photo paper , it is thicker than copy paper and prints with extra bright colors. This makes a sturdy paper cootie catcher that can stand up to littlle hands!
More Paper Crafts for Kids
I’ve designed several other holiday cootie catchers for kids. Check out these fun (and free) printables:
- This adorable Thanksgiving Joke Teller keep kids busy while you cook!
- Christmas Kindness Cootie Catchers suggest kind deeds kids can accomplish.
- New Years Eve Fortune Tellers that “predict” your upcoming year.
- Valentine Joke Tellers that are a great non-candy classroom treat.
- St Patrick’s Day Joke Tellers are a fun lunchbox surprise or after school activity.
- Halloween Joke Tellers are a fun lunch box surprise or after school treat.
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Tip: Be sure to check out my Thankfulness Dry Erase Boards for kids. It is a fun gratitude activity you can print and also use as a Thanksgiving decoration.
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