The holidays are the perfect time to help children cultivate and express their gratitude for friends, family, and their community. Building on last month’s article, this issue contains excellent activities from The University of California Berkley, Greater Good Program.
Many of these family friendly crafts and events can be adapted to fit any age level.
- Gratitude Photos.Have children write what he or she is thankful for on a large piece of paper and then take a picture of the child holding up his or her paper. Frame the photo and you have the perfect holiday gift.
- Family Gratitude Book.Create a gratitude book by adding pages of pictures and descriptions of what children are grateful for in the writable memory books at crafts stores.
- Grateful Paper Chain. Have children write what they’re thankful for on strips of paper and use the strips to make a gratitude chain to hang up in the holiday tree or around the home.
- Gratitude Quilt.Give children a 5”x5” blank piece of paper on which to draw something he or she is thankful for. Mount each square on a 6”x6” colored piece of paper and then piece the squares together to create a family gratitude quilt, and then frame it.
- Appreciation Graph. Have each child write one thing that he or she is grateful for on a sticky note and then plot it on graph paper. Categories might include people, things, places, actions, animals, etc.
- Thankful Circle.Begin or end the day sitting in a circle with each person sharing one thing that he or she is grateful for and why. Note: Younger students will need a lot of modeling to explain why they’re grateful for something.
- Gratitude Letters for the Community. Write letters of gratitude and deliver them to people in the greater school community, e.g., fire department, police, postal service, hospitals, and schools.
- Gratitude Appreciation Walks- Prime children with the various aspects of nature that make our lives enjoyable. Point out the sun, what is does for plants and our warm. The soil for growing food. Bees for pollinating the flowers and fruit. The leaves for providing beauty and fun texture to feel. The trees for shade. There are endless accounts of gratitude in nature. Children will surprise you with what they notice. Show them first; then let them find things. Write down what you hear, these are excellent quotes to save in family memory books.
Have fun exploring the various forms of appreciation children and your family have together. The things you say and bring awareness to become your child’s inner voice and perception of their world. It is a delightful opportunity to develop an attitude of gratitude.