As we start to gear up for the holiday season, I love to add in intentional gratitude activities for kids into my holiday routine!
Having a spirit of gratitude is one of my biggest goals for my kids, especially as they’re growing up in an ever-increasing culture of instant gratification.
So, I wanted to put my favorite (and EASY!) gratitude activities for kids together into one blog post to help you on your journey to work on boosting gratitude in your children this year!
Table of Contents
Activity 1: Gratitude Jar
The idea with the gratitude jar is SUPER simple. Each family member, every day, writes down what they are grateful for on a small piece of paper and adds it to the jar.
Pick a time, either weekly or monthly, to review what’s been added to the jar and talk about what you’re grateful for as a family!
This makes a GREAT family ritual to start, too. 🙂
Pros: It’s straightforward, requires minimal resources, and the result over time is remarkably heartening – a jar full of thankfulness! It also fosters a daily habit of gratitude.
Cons: Requires commitment to daily writing. Younger kids might need assistance in writing, too! BUT, you can always encourage kiddos to draw what they are grateful for. Works just as well. 🙂
Activity 2: Thankfulness Tree
A “Thankfulness Tree” is a beautiful and interactive way to make your gratitude come to life. This activity requires some craft materials, like paper, crayons or markers, and some string.
Draw a tree shape on a large sheet of paper OR use a cardboard box! Add your gratitudes to smaller pieces of paper in whatever shape you want… could be seasonal, like apples or pumpkins. OR, do a shape meaningful to your family!
Again, draw or write what you’re grateful for on the smaller papers.
Pros: It’s a creative activity that can be fun for kids and adults alike, and it provides a visual reminder of all the things your family values and feels grateful for. Plus, it can be a great seasonal activity, especially for the fall season or Thanksgiving.
Cons: Gathering all the needed materials can take some time. Also, it can be a bit challenging to find the perfect spot to display the tree.
Activity 3: Daily Gratitude Discussion
Simple CAN truly be the best. Try making an intentional commitment to chat through what you’re grateful for every day.
In our family, we often share “highs” and “lows” around the dinner table. It can be as significant as acing a test or as trivial as finding a parking spot!
This is probably one of the easiest gratitude activities for kids, because they LOVE telling you about their day!
Pros: Initiates open communication, improves family bonding, and fosters a daily habit of acknowledging the good things in life.
Cons: Can be challenging to stick to the routine, especially on busy days. Younger kids may need prompts or examples to understand what to share.
Activity 4: Gratitude Letters
Encourage each family member to write a gratitude letter to someone they appreciate – it could be a teacher, a friend, a relative, or even a family pet!
Again, draw or write these, but the idea is to think of a PERSON you are grateful for and express specific gratitude to that person.
Pros: This not only cultivates gratitude but also encourages empathy and connectivity. Gratitude activities for kids are extra valuable when they help kids expres feelings through words.
Cons: Depending on the age of your children, they might need help in writing their thoughts down in a letter format.
Activity 5: Kindness Day
Pick a day during the holiday season and call it “Kindness Day!” On this day, the goal is to complete kind acts for others… whether they know it or you want to keep it a secret! 🙂
When the boys were little, we used to use a “Kindness Elves” kit (instead of the other Elf that sits on a piece of furniture!) and it was such a fantastic tool to help them practice kindness.
Pros: Promotes an attitude of service and thankfulness. It’s not just about being grateful for what we have, but also about giving back to others.
Cons: Young children might need more help and ideas for kindness as it’s harder for them to look outside themselves.
Activity 6: Gratitude Alphabet Game
Get creative and combine learning with gratitude through the Gratitude Alphabet Game!
In this game, each family member tries to come up with something they’re grateful for, starting with a specific letter of the alphabet, from A to Z.
Pros: Fun and educational, this activity can be played anytime and anywhere. It’s a great way to get the little ones involved and helps them improve their vocabulary as well!
Cons: Some letters might be more challenging than others to find a thankful item, and younger children might need help or suggestions.
Activity 7: Start a Gratitude Journal
Encourage each family member to maintain a personal ‘Gratitude Journal’. In this journal, every member can jot down at least one thing they are grateful for every day. It could be an event, a person, or even a small moment that made them happy.
It’s important to let kids know they are welcome to share their gratitudes, or keep them private if they prefer. But, helping them establish the habit of reflection and journaling is a great practice!
Pros: It helps to reflect on the positive moments of each day. Looking back on these journals can also provide a comforting memory bank of happy moments on tough days.
Cons: It requires everyone in the family to be committed to writing in the journal regularly. Younger kids might need assistance to express their thoughts in writing.
Again, have them draw instead of write if needed. 🙂
Activity 8: Volunteer Together
By volunteering together as a family, you’re showing your children how to care for people outside of themselves.
You can volunteer locally at a charity, somewhere you usually frequent, or step up to help a friend or family member.
Some ideas might be helping at a local food bank, cleaning up a park, helping out at a church events, or volunteering to help a grandparent.
Pros: Creates family memories, builds character, and fosters gratitude and empathy. It provides perspective and helps kids appreciate what they have.
Cons: Timing and event availability might be tricky. It also depends on the age and attention span of your children as to the type of volunteering that can be done.
Activity 9: Thankful for You Messages
This activity promotes direct expression of gratitude towards each other in the family. Once a week, each family member writes a simple, “Why I Am Thankful for You” note to another family member.
Be sure to also include messages from you to your kids! 🙂 Gratitude activities for kids should also include them being the recipients of gratitude as well!
Pros: It promotes open expression of appreciation within the family, and it’s great for family bonding. The younger ones get to practice their writing skills too!
Cons: Requires commitment and may need assistance for younger family members in note-writing. Some members may feel shy expressing their feelings openly.
Activity 10: Gratitude Stones
Get a little crafty and create beautiful gratitude stones. Family members can each find a stone they like and then paint it with symbols or write words that represent what they are thankful for.
These stones can be kept as reminders or given as gratitude gifts.
Pros: This activity encourages creativity and expression of gratitude in a tangible way. Plus, it’s a good excuse to spend some time outside searching for stones!
Cons: Requires craft materials and cleanup afterwards. Also, it might be challenging for families living in urban areas to find natural stones readily.
More Gratitude Activities for Kids
These are just the beginning! There are so many options and the key is finding gratitude activities for kids that you can do regularly as a family!
These activities should be fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself!