Friday, November 16, 2012

Preschool Activities Promoting Thankfulness

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, you're probably looking for fun new ways to introduce the idea of thankfulness to the children in your child care program.  Here are a few neat ideas we recently found:

Thankful Placemats
Give children sheets of paper and ask them to draw pictures of people, places, or things they are thankful for.  You may need to explain what "thankful means."  A child friendly definition is, "you're happy you have this person/thing in your life."  With children's permission, you can write explanations on their drawings, naming the people, or jotting down what the child said about his artwork.  These placemats can then be laminated and used at meals and snacks during the week, then sent home before the holiday break so families can enjoy them.  Idea found at

I'm Thankful Each Day

This wonderful book by P.K. Hallinan could be left in your classroom library all year.  The simple words and illustrations can be understood by the youngest children in your classroom, and they promote being grateful for material and non-material blessings we each have in your lives.

Make a "I am Thankful For..."Book
There are many ways to make books in your classroom, whether individual books children can take home, or classroom books you'll leave in your library and share over and over. has a free printable book about thankfulness that you can allow each child to personalize.

Gratitude Journals
Oprah Winfrey made journaling about five things we are grateful for each day a popular activity with many adults.  You can pass this practice along to children in simple ways.  They could be encouraged to draw or write in a journal each day about what makes them feel grateful.  Or, you could have children share ideas as a part of circle time each day.

Service Projects
As children express things they are thankful for, we can begin to teach them about helping others who may not have these things.  Encourage children to come up with ideas about how they could help others during the holiday season.  They might want to collect canned foods for a food pantry or practice a short program they could perform at a nursing home.  Follow their lead, and help them carry out the plans they'd like to pursue.