Thanksgiving is coming! As families make plans to spend time together and enjoy a hearty meal, it can also make sense to share activities with your children that promote gratitude and appreciation. 

Gratitude, according to, includes saying thank you but goes beyond this action by actively noticing good things in life. When children develop a feeling of gratitude, children can feel joyful, hopeful, and happy; strengthen their self esteem and social ties; become more resilient; and build the foundation of their emotional and social growth.

Here are four thankful activities for kids to consider incorporating into your Thanksgiving celebration.

#1: Tracing Hands

Have your children place their hands on a piece of paper; you can trace around them with a pencil. Then, engage in conversation with them about what hands can help us to do. For your youngest children, you could read the classic book Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb where a fun group of dancing monkeys introduces the components of a person’s hands in enjoyable rhyme. No matter your children’s ages, you can talk about the actions people take to help other people. 

#2: Making a Gratitude Jar

Every time one of your children has a grateful moment, suggests having them write down the event on a slip of paper or draw it. Fold the paper slips and place them in a jar that you can decorate as you choose. This could be with a picture of your family or a design that your children create out of their art supplies. 

To show your children how this could work, your family could watch a video reading of The Gratitude Jar by Katrina Liu.

#3: Playing the Turkey Toss

Many children learn by doing, and shares how to make a simple but fun turkey ball that your family can toss from one person to the next. Each time the ball is thrown, the person tossing it needs to name something they’re grateful for. This can be as big as gratitude for having a family to appreciating fruit snacks—and everything in between. If you don’t have time to make the cute turkey ball, you can still reap the benefits by playing the game. 

#4: Keeping a Gratitude Journal

This is an idea that people of all ages can do all year long. One mother, says, bought a journal for her daughter that includes specific prompts that allow her to list things she’s grateful for, name a person who made her feel happy, circle her feelings, and either write or draw about the best thing that happened that day. The mother-daughter team journal after dinner each day, which has been a wonderful bonding experience.

Explore Horizon Education Centers

In our childcare programs for kids aged six weeks to twelve years, Horizon provides seasonal activities that are both fun and educational, including thankful activities for kids. To find out more about our childcare programs, please schedule a tour at the location of your choice. 

Horizon Education Centers offers childcare in Northeast Ohio. Centers are located in Cuyahoga County and Lorain County.