A few years back I created the gratitude game to teach children gratitude. This year our November is a little busy so instead of doing an entire month of gratitude, I am going to do a 12 days of Thanksgiving activity with my preschooler. Each day we’ll do one simple activity that’s good for teaching toddlers thankfulness, for the twelve days leading up to Thanksgiving. Try these gratitude activities to help enjoy the thankful season a little more.
As K has gotten older, I’ve started realizing that one of the ways he learns best is by watching Richie and me in all of our daily actions. I thought it would be the prefect opportunity to start teaching K thankfulness by doing gratitude centered activities through our 12 days of Thanksgiving. All of the activities are ones that we can do together, which is my way of leading by example.
As I was trying to come up with the twelve perfect activities for our 12 days of Thanksgiving, I of course started thinking about the 12 Days of Christmas. I love how the song goes, “my true love gave to me,” and thought about how perfect a phrase like that would be for my 12 days of Thanksgiving because the goal is to celebrate and be thankful for the things that we’ve been given. So I ran with the idea and came up with activities centered around things our Heavenly Father gave to us to remind K how blessed we are and where those blessings came from. Some of the ideas I came with include family, food, our home, our toys, our talents, our bodies, etc. I then took each of those blessings and turned them into a fun little “Heavenly Father gave to me,” saying to fit in with theme.
Rather than just giving K the cards each day, I’m going to set out a little cornucopia full of things related to that day’s activity along with the card. I always say that it’s easier to teach something if you make it fun, and I think that everything together will be really fun and something he’ll remember for years to come. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll remember why we went outside to find leaves and wrote letters to our grandparents in November.
Some of the cards and activities that we’ll be doing include giving away six toys for the “six toys for playing” card, drawing pictures and writing thank you cards to grandparents for the “12 grandparents for loving” card, and going to the grocery store and buying food to donate for the “three square meals” card. Here are the gratitude activities we’re doing; you can download all of the different activity ideas and cards below. Pick and choose which ones you want to do for each day.
Gratitude Activities for Kids
- One World Full of Beautiful Trees
- go on a hike
- rake leaves for someone
- picking up trash on a walk
- collecting leaves to make a craft
- Two Creative Hands
- trace your hand to make turkeys
- draw a picture for your friends
- do a craft for a friend
- bake treats for a friend
- Three Square Meals
- donate food to a food bank
- buy a meal for someone in need
- buy a bag of food at a grocery store
- have friends over for a gratitude lunch
- Four Calling Phones
- Use technology to call the people you care about most just to say hi
- Call someone to invite them to the park
- Take pictures on your phone and send them to someone who might need a little boost
- Say thanks for being a good friend via text
- Five Favorite Things
- Make a goodie basket of your favorite treats and leave it as a surprise for a neighbor
- Buy five of your favorite things (bubbles, crayons, etc.) and take it to a friend with a thank you note
- Go through your toys and pick out some of your favorite things to donate
- Bake your favorite treat with your family and enjoy together while watching your favorite movie
- Six Toys for Playing
- Pick out six toys to donate to a children’s shelter
- Buy a toy for one of your friends who may not have as much, give it anonymously
- Make a new toy with your family – e.g., blocks, play-doh, etc.
- Clean up all of your toys with mom.
- Seven Games for Playing
- Play your favorite game with your family
- Play one of these fall themed games
- Make up a new game to play with your family
- Pick out your favorite game at the store and give to a friend with a thank you note.
- Eight Stores for Shopping
- Go to your favorite store and pick out some fun treats and give to a friend with a thank you note
- Pay for someone’s groceries or purchases in front of you in line
- Offer to help gather carts in the parking lot of your favorite store
- Give the cashier a thank you gift like these ones when you check-out.
- Nine Songs for Dancing
- Have a dance party. Go crazy
- Drive around looking at the trees and listening to your favorite music
- Make someone a CD or playlist of songs that make you happy
- Ten Books for Reading
- Donate a couple of your favorite books
- Read books about gratitude together
- Do something based on one of your favorite books like bake blueberry muffins for Blueberries to Sal
- Go to storytime with your friends.
- Eleven Talents for Sharing
- Help clean up the house
- Bake something with mom
- Spend the day laughing and playing with your family
- Have a playdate with friends and let the kids play musical instruments, draw, etc.
- Twelve Relatives for Loving
- Draw pictures/write letters and send them to your favorite relatives.
- Take Thanksgiving pictures and send to your favorite relatives.
- Call or FaceTime with your favorite relatives (or one who might need a boost) just to say hi
This would be a fun and simple way to teach your toddlers about thankfulness this Thanksgiving and luckily I’ve already done all of the work for you. All you have to do is print out the free printable cards and put them out for your kids each morning. And then have a great time celebrating gratitude and thankfulness starting next week!