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24 Best Activities to Teach Your Kids Gratitude

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Best activities to teach your kids gratitude.

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There’s no question that gratitude is a valuable attitude to teach our kids. But sometimes it can be tough to come up with new and interesting ways to help them learn it.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these 24 fun and creative ways to teach your kids gratitude!

From fun family traditions to interactive activities, your kids are sure to love these ideas!

Fun Activities to Teach Your Kids Gratitude

girl hugging mother in gratitude

Below are some fun activities to teach gratitude to your child. I hope you’ll get some new ideas to foster kindness and appreciation in your children.

It fills me with joy when my children express gratitude. It is worth the effort to help our kids know the value of being genuinely grateful for what they’ve been given.

Read Books Together

Teaching your children gratitude is one of the most important things you can do. Books about gratitude are one of the best ways to learn gratitude together.

Stories are a great way to introduce young minds to new concepts and help them to understand why those concepts are important.

Reading about characters who are grateful for what they have, even when things are tough, can help your child to start seeing the world in a new way.

Books can also be a great way to jump-start discussions about gratitude and how it can be applied to real-life situations.

So next time you’re looking for a way to connect with your child and teach them something important, pick up a book and cuddle up together.

Some of our favorite books include: 

Gratitude is My Superpower: A children’s book about Giving Thanks and Practicing Positivity

The Grumbles: A Story about Gratitude

The Little Things: Finding Gratitude in Life’s Simple Moments

Thank You Thank You Thank You

Make a Gratitude Chain or Tree 

Making a gratitude chain or tree is one of the best activities to teach your child the importance of gratitude.

Each day, have your child think of something or someone they are grateful for and write it down on paper. Then, link the paper to the previous day’s paper to form a chain.

You can hang the chain up in your child’s room or another visible spot as a reminder of all the things they have to be grateful for.

For a gratitude tree, cut out leaves from construction paper or use real leaves if it is fall. On each leaf, have your child write something they are grateful for.

You can add the leaves to a bare branch or tree in your yard or put them in a vase or jar inside your house.

Every time your child looks at the gratitude chain or tree, they will be reminded of all the good things in their life.

Model Gratitude Yourself

girl hugging mother in gratitude

One of the most important things you can do is model gratitude yourself.

When you express gratitude regularly, your child will see the importance of gratitude and be more likely to practice it themselves.

There are many ways to model gratitude. Some simple things you can do are:

  • express thankfulness for your child each day
  • keep a gratitude journal
  • write thank-you notes together

By showing your child how important gratitude is to you, you will also help them develop a grateful heart.

Talk With Your Child About What Gratitude Means

  • Being grateful also means being mindful of the good things in our lives, even when times are tough.
  • When we focus on the positive, it helps us to see the silver lining in every cloud. This attitude can help us overcome difficult times and become stronger on the other side.
  • Finally, gratitude is more than just telling people “thank you.” It’s about a conscious effort to show appreciation through our words and actions.

When we do things for others without expecting anything in return, we demonstrate our gratitude in its truest form.

Encourage an “Attitude of Gratitude” Throughout the Day

As a mom, one of the things I’ve tried to instill in my kids from an early age is an “attitude of gratitude.”

What I mean by that is, teaching them to always look for the silver lining and be thankful for what they have—even when things might not go their way.

It’s not always easy, but I think it’s important. Because when we take the time to appreciate the good in our lives, it helps us better weather the tough times. Not to mention, it just feels good!

Challenge your child to find something positive in a bad situation. Help them brainstorm ways to show appreciation for the good things in their life throughout the day.

Say Grace Before Meals

family saying grace before meal

As a mom, I always seek ways to encourage my child to be grateful. One simple way that we do this is by saying grace before meals.

Whether sitting down to a family dinner or just having a quick snack, taking a moment to say grace helps my child to pause and appreciate all that we have been blessed with.

It also allows us to share in a moment of thanksgiving together.

I have found that this simple act of gratitude can go a long way in helping my child to develop an attitude of thankfulness.

Have a Gratitude Breakfast

As a parent, you can help your child cultivate gratitude by starting the day with a gratitude breakfast.

Each morning at breakfast, go around the table and have everyone share something they’re grateful for. It can be something as simple as a sunny day or a new toy.

This exercise will help your child start the day by thinking about all the good things in their life, and it will also prompt you to celebrate the many blessings in your own life.

A gratitude breakfast is a great way to encourage an attitude of thankfulness in your family.

Dinner Table Gratitude Tradition 

There’s no better way to foster family unity than by instituting a dinner table gratitude tradition.

Every night at dinnertime, each family member takes a turn expressing what they’re grateful for from the day.

It can be anything from a good grade on a test to a fun playground encounter.

This nightly tradition will help you bond together as a family and learn more about your children’s day-to-day lives. 

Activities to Teach Gratitude Through Competition

There are a lot of fun ways to have a gratitude competition.

You can see who can write the most things they are grateful for in one minute. You can make the game as short or as long as your child needs. 

 Here is another gratitude game to try. Start by dividing your guests into teams of two or three. Then, give each team a list of items they need to find around the house.

The team that can find the most things on the list in five minutes wins the game. But here’s the catch: for each item they see, they must also say something they are grateful for.

For example, if they find a picture of their grandparents, they might say, “I’m grateful for my grandparents because they always make me feel loved.”

This game is a fun and easy way to teach your child about the power of gratitude.

Write Thank You Notes

One simple way is to write thank you notes. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just a quick note to say thank you for a gift or something someone did for you.

But writing a thoughtful message can go a long way in teaching your child about gratitude. And it’s a tradition that can be passed down from generation to generation. 

Rainbow Kind of Days 

children holding thank you sign

A “rainbow kind of day” is a phrase my mom would always say to me when I was feeling down. It means that even on the cloudiest days, there’s always something to be grateful for.

I try to teach this lesson to my own kids now. Whenever they’re having a tough day, we talk about it and the struggles they are going through.

Then we talk about storms and how bad they can be when you are going through them. But afterward, there is a beautiful rainbow.

This can help your child learn to focus on the positive, which can really turn a bad day around

Bedtime Routine 

Bedtime is a great time for moms to talk about gratitude with their kids. It can be part of a regular routine that happens before lights out.

This is a great time to go over the day and talk about things that happened that the kid is grateful for.

This could be as simple as, “I’m grateful for playing outside with my friends today.”

It’s a way to end the day on a positive note and help kids drift off to sleep thinking about the good things in their life.

Moms can also use this time to share something they are grateful for about their child. This helps kids feel loved and appreciated, which can help them be more thankful for what they have.

Bedtime is a precious time for families to connect and build positive relationships, so make the most of it by incorporating gratitude into the routine.

Gratitude Jar 

One simple way to help your child develop an attitude of gratitude is to use a gratitude jar. Every day, have your child write down one thing they are grateful for, no matter how small.

At the end of each week, empty the jar and read through the items together. You’ll be amazed at everything your child is grateful for, from the sun shining to a best friend’s smile.

Not only will this help your child appreciate all the good in their life, but it will also be a fun way for you to connect with your child and learn more about what’s important to them.

Get Them a Gratitude Journal 

One way to ensure your kids’ practice gratitude is to get them a gratitude journal.

This can be as simple as a blank notebook they can decorate themselves. Or you can find one specifically made for kids.

Have them write down things they’re grateful for each day, and help them to come up with new things if they’re struggling. You can even do this together as a family!

Here are some great kid’s journals you can purchase:

Fun Gratitude Journal for Kids

Girls Gratitude Journal: 100 Days To Practice Mindfulness

Thankful for Senses

Ask your child to tell you something they love for each of their senses: 

  • Something they love to taste 
  • Something they love to touch 
  • Something they love to smell 
  • A sound they love to hear  
  • Something they love to see 

You may end up learning something about your child that you never knew!

Play games that focus on gratitude.

One way to teach kids the value of gratitude is to have them play games that focus on thankfulness.

For example, you could play an “I Spy” game where kids have to look around the room and find things they’re thankful for.

Or, you could hide objects around the house and have them hunt for them while sharing something they’re grateful for each time they find something new.

You could even make a thankfulness scavenger hunt list and see how many things on the list they can find within a certain amount of time.

Games like these are fun and interactive ways to help kids learn about gratitude. Plus, they’ll be more likely to remember what they’ve learned if they’re having fun doing it.

Gratitude Bingo

boy hugging mother

Gratitude bingo is a great way to get the whole family involved in thinking about everything they’re grateful for.

To play, each person receives a bingo card with gratitude prompts in each square. For example:

  • parents
  • health
  • home
  • a favorite toy or stuffed animal
  • pet
  • friends
  • school

When your child gets bingo, you can give them a prize.

Play the What If Game

  • What if your child woke up one day and all their toys were gone? What if they had to wear the same clothes every day? What if they only had one food to eat?
  • Asking your child to imagine a life without some of their favorite things can help them understand how lucky they are.
  • It can also help them develop a sense of gratitude for what they have.

Playing the “What If” game is fun to get your child thinking about all the things they’re thankful for.

Grateful Photo Challenge 

One simple way to encourage gratitude is to do a daily photo challenge with your child. Have them take a picture of something they are grateful for each day.

It could be a beautiful flower, pet dog, favorite toy, or anything else that brings them joy. At the end of each week, sit together and look through the photos.

Talk about why each thing is special and what it means to be grateful. Doing this simple activity will help your child to appreciate all the beautiful things in their life.

How to Teach Gratitude to a Child Through Challenges

Teaching your child to be thankful for challenges as opportunities to learn and grow is important. Here are some helpful tips to help you instill this important value in your child:

Help them to see the silver lining in every challenge.

  • It can be hard for young children to see the positive side of things, but it is important to teach them that challenges can be good for us.
  • They provide us with an opportunity to learn and grow. Explain this to your child the next time they face a setback, and help them brainstorm some positive outcomes from the situation.

Encourage your children to open up about their feelings.

  • It is natural for children to feel frustrated when they face a challenge, but they need to talk about these emotions in a healthy way.
  • Encourage your child to talk about their feelings, and offer support and understanding.

Teach them about the importance of effort and persistence.

  • One of the most important lessons you can teach your child is that effort and perseverance are key to success.
  • Explain that sometimes we must work hard and persevere even when things are tough.
  • This will help them to develop resilience and grit – two essential qualities that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Celebrate their accomplishments – big or small.

girl holding "thank you teacher" sign, activities to teach your kids gratitude
  • Every time your child achieves something, take the time to celebrate their accomplishment with them.
  • This will help them see that their hard work pays off and encourage them to keep striving for success.

Instilling these concepts in our children while pointing them toward gratitude is one of the best things we can do for them.

Be Generous With Compliments

One way to teach your kids to be grateful is by being generous with compliments.

  • When you take the time to recognize and praise your child’s accomplishments, you instill a sense of pride and worthiness in them.
  • This will encourage them to be grateful for what they have. Additionally, you foster a positive and healthy relationship by frequently complimenting your child.
  • Your child will feel valued and appreciated, making them more likely to reciprocate the same loving behavior.
  • So when you see your child doing something praiseworthy, take a moment to let them know just how proud you are – it will make all the difference in their attitude of gratitude.

Another way to teach your kids about gratitude is to be generous with compliments toward others. Here are some examples:

  • Tell your child’s teacher you are thankful for their hard work.
  • Compliment a friend on their new haircut.
  • Tell the grocery store cashier what a great job they’re doing.

Practice random acts of kindness.

An impactful way to show gratitude is to practice random acts of kindness. You can start by doing something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return.

  • For example, you could pay for someone’s coffee in line behind you or leave a treat on a neighbor’s doorstep.
  • As your kids see you as kind, they’ll understand that thinking of others is important. Additionally, random acts of kindness can often lead to unexpected rewards.
  • For instance, if you hold the door open for someone, they may feel compelled to do the same for someone else.
  • In this way, your kindness can create a chain reaction of goodwill.
  • Finally, by performing acts of kindness regularly, you can help instill a sense of gratitude in your kids that will last a lifetime.

Teach them about giving back

children showing gratitude by giving back to their community

 One of the best ways to teach your kids gratitude is to teach them about giving back.

When kids see firsthand the difference that their actions can make in the lives of others, they develop a more profound sense of gratitude for what they have.

Some ways to give back are:

  • volunteering at a local soup kitchen
  • helping to clean up a park
  • helping out at an animal shelter

And the benefits extend beyond simply feeling grateful. Giving back also teaches kids important values like empathy and compassion. 

Gratitude Walk 

A simple way for your kids to learn gratitude is to take them on a gratitude walk. As you walk, point out things you are thankful for, such as the beautiful sunset or a friendly neighbor.

You can also talk about how grateful you are for your family, home, and health. By focusing on the good in your life, you can help your kids develop an attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude walks are a great way to bond with your kids while teaching them an important life lesson.

Final Thoughts

Teaching gratitude to kids is a great way to help them develop a positive outlook on life. It can also help them learn how to be more appreciative of the things they have, both big and small.

70 Best Thanksgiving and Gratitude Quotes for Kids is a wonderful resource for quotes to learn and ready together with your children this season.

What Parents Neglect to Teach About Gratitude is a fantastic resource for further reading about fostering gratitude in your children.

These 16 fun and creative ways to teach your kids gratitude are a great place to start. Have you tried any of these methods? What has been your favorite way to teach gratitude to your children?

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