In the last few years, gratitude has come to light as an accessible way to increase happiness and even change our brains (thanks neuroplasticity!). Researchers are developing this field to help us better understand how gratitude affects our kids’ brains, bodies, and communities.
Many parents want to incorporate these findings into their family traditions beyond Thanksgiving Day or week, but struggle to find simple and practical ways to keep it up. We’ve collected a couple of hands-on traditions to try at home with your family any time of year!
Create a gratitude centerpiece. This tree is a simple but elegant way to display what you are thankful for.
Throughout the year, have your kids write or draw what they are thankful for on smooth stones, and drop them into a special jar. At Thanksgiving, pull out the rocks and talk about the things you are thankful for this year.
A great use of a simple watercolor technique to create a vibrant and unique gift. Give your mini painting to someone you are thankful for! Awesome idea by Meri Cherry.
This Gratitude Collage template helps kids learn how to express their gratitude. The prompts and illustrations are a super helpful way to teach younger kids how to express their gratitude. These paper gratitude blankets will hang nicely in your living room!
This project is simple, but it turns out beautifully. Each member of your family can make their own pumpkin to display on the dinner table.
It’s a great, kid-friendly project to remind the people around you to be grateful for the little things in life! You can hang your gratitude chain by tying strings around both ends of your chain and taping them to the wall. We also love the idea of using the garland as tabletop decor!
Show your neighbor, friend, or family how grateful you are to have them in your life with a little treasure hunt. Busy lives and full days, means we often forget to stop and express how grateful we are for each other. This treasure hunt is a fun and heart-warming way to say thank you for the simple things we often take for granted.
Collage the outside of a journal you make yourself or have around the house. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to jot down what you are grateful for. It’s a simple way to lift spirits and reminds us to celebrate the small things in life.
Go for a nature walk with your kids. Keep track of what brings you feelings of gratitude along the walk. When you return home, illustrate a poster with those items: sunshine, birch trees, lakes, and more!
A kindness wreath is a great way to encourage kids to create moments other people will be grateful for and to develop a keen awareness for the kindness around them! A ribbon is added to a wreath each time a family member points out an act of kindness. When the wreath is full, celebrate as a family and move it to your front door!
What creative gratitude traditions have you tried?
Let us know in the comments below! A big thank you to everyone who made it to the bottom of this blog post, and for continuing to engage your kids in hands-on learning through Kiwi Crate, Inc. projects and/or in other ways.