As crazy of a year 2020 (and 2021) has been, the season of focusing on gratitude and being thankful is upon us! Although this is something we should practice 24/7, I’m glad to some time and intentionally focus on it.
I’m always on the search for practical and unique ways to teach my children this important character trait. So this year I decided to put together a mini bible study coupled with some arts and crafts and creating a thankfulness jar.
How I’m teaching my children to be thankful.
This year I’m going to be intentional about reading Scripture and bible stories to show that thankfulness is the same as it was in our ancestor’s time. I want them to know that God has always provided us with clear instructions on how to handle this part of character. He has also given us examples of when things don’t quite go our way and how we can still be thankful and show gratitude.
With my tactile learners, I’m also incorporating arts and crafts. While we’ve steered clear of most things pilgrims and Indians, we can still use the nature of the season to make everything about being thankful.
Lastly, we’ll be creating some thankfulness jars and filling them with things we’re thankful for. This is something I look forward to because not only does it foster family relationships, but it also shows the tender and genuine hearts of children.
Being Thankful this Season
What does it means to be thankful?
This question doesn’t take much thought, yet, there are aspects of this character trait that are most important to teach our children. One is particular is learning to be thankful – with no strings attached.
We live in a fast-paced, all-about-me world where thankfulness is attached to what others can do for us. It is also seen by what people can give us. It’s okay to be thankful in these moments, but how do we handle life when things don’t going our way? Below are a few ideas for teaching and answering that very question.
Read Scripture and Bible stories
One of the best ways we teach this concept in my home is by starting with Scripture and bible stories that show it. A few to consider are:
- Ezra 3:11
- Psalm 7:17
- Psalm 9:1
- Philippians 4:6-7
- Colossians 2:6-7
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Hebrews 12:28-29
Use these Scriptures as copywork, journal prompts, Bible journaling, or for a good family discussion. Below are some Bible stories to read as a family:
- Mary’s gratitude for Jesus (Luke 1).
- Leper thankful for healing (Luke 17:12-19).
- Jehoshephat is thankful under pressure (2 Chronicles 20).
- Hannah gives thanks for Samuel (1 Samuel 1).
- Daniel gives thanks (Daniel 6).
As you read these stories, discuss them in their proper context and talk about ways these situations can appear in our lives today.
Create Thankful Arts and Crafts
This can be especially fun if you have kinesthetic and tactile children. These arts and crafts will make for a fun time of learning about how to be thankful:
Use your child’s handprint as the body of the turkey (cut out of brown construction paper). Put googly eyes on the thumb and a small triangle as the beak (yellow construction paper). Cut out leaves and write what they are thankful for on them, then glue them around the fingertips.
Cut out a tree in brown construction paper. Then, cut a variety of leaves from different colored construction paper. Have children write (or dictate) what they’re thankful for on the leaves then glue them on the tree.
Go on a nature walk and find some smooth rocks or stones (or purchase some from the store). Decorate them and write what you’re thankful for on them.
ABOUT THE FREE RESOURCE: The Thankfulness Jar Ideas printable pack comes with templates for creating your own thankfulness jars, Scripture cards for reference and discussion, copywork and journal templates, and thankfulness jar cutouts.
Create a Thankfulness Jar
This is something you can get the entire family involved in (and works best if they do). Using the free printable pack below, choose one of the thankfulness jar templates. There is one for a small jar (think jelly size), one for a medium jar (think pickles), and one for a box (think diapers).
Invite your children to color the template and decorate the jar with stickers, ribbon, and whatever else they choose. Then, use the other printables for filling in things everyone is thankful for. Cut, fold, and place the pieces inside the jar (or box).
Each day, have a thankful family gathering and have each person draw one thing out of the jar and read it. These make for great discussions that can be expanded upon. The idea is to naturally teach your children about being thankful and make it relatable to real life.
CHIME IN: What are some ways you teach thankfulness in your home?