How kids can practice gratitude and thankfulness

Gratitude is powerful! Research shows that when we focus on things we’re grateful for, we can literally rewire our brains to be happier. In fact, those of us who focus on the positive and practice thankfulness tend to have better physical health, reduced stress, and improved sleep. With such wide-spread benefits, how can you encourage kids to build a gratitude practice early-on and to focus on things they are grateful for, both in the classroom and at home?

These worksheets and activities for kids can make it easy to start, and you can incorporate them just in time for Thanksgiving!

Worksheets that engage children in gratitude

1. “I am Human” story book

This worksheet set has all the necessary materials for kids to construct an “I am Human” mini story book of their own!

Children can cut out the pages of the book, paste them together, and fill them with things they are grateful for. Their reasons can be as simple as “I am grateful for my body” or “I am grateful for my breath.” After all, being human means being yourself and loving yourself for exactly who you are!

This activity is designed for second and third-graders, but it can be great for older kids as well.

2. My first gratitude journal

Similar to the activity above, this worksheet is better suited for younger kids in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Your little ones will have fun putting together this mini gratitude journal highlighting all the things they are grateful for. Introduce them to a gratitude practice early-on, and get them started on a lifetime journey of thankfulness.

With writing guides, space for illustrations, and a line to write their name on the cover, this mini-book offers plenty of space to practice penmanship and spelling as well!

3. Thankful turkey craft

What better time to practice gratitude than during Thanksgiving? While food is cooking all day, keep kids occupied by having them write five things they are thankful for on the feathers of the turkey, cut them out, and paste the feathers to the turkey. Bonus points for colorful designs and creativity!

By dinner time, their creations are ready to display, giving kids a chance to share with their family the things they are grateful for during this holiday season.

4. Respond to a topic: national gratitude month

Did you know that November is National Gratitude Month? It’s pretty fitting since Thanksgiving is a great way to finish off a month of practicing thankfulness. 

With this activity for middle-schoolers, learners can respond to questions that ask them to reflect on whether they currently practice gratitude, as well as brainstorm new ways that they can show it to others. 

In this way, older kids can learn the power of being thankful and appreciative while also exercising their writing muscles!

Activities that encourage being thankful

1. Gratitude tree

This activity is not only fun for kids, but it has the added benefit of creating a beautiful centerpiece of gratitude for your Thanksgiving table!

First, kids go for a nature walk and choose the perfect tree branch. They can then adorn the branch with messages of thankfulness drawn on construction paper “leaves.” You can have younger children dictate their responses to you. Keep adding leaves as the season goes on, or throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.

2. Family gratitude jar

This family jar is the perfect year-round activity to encourage thankfulness among kids – and the whole family!

Choose a consistent time to periodically sit down as a family. It can be daily, weekly, or whenever you feel is best. Each time you meet, fill out notecards with examples of things you are thankful for. When the jar is full, read through the notes and remind yourself of all the blessings in your lives.

This activity is great for all ages – parents too!

For more Thanksgiving worksheets and activities, check out the Learning Library!