Preparing Little Hearts For Thanksgiving

As I sit here to write this, the kids are tromping out to the porch with their fall boots, and I can hear yellow leaves rustling outside.  Like so many others, I claim fall as my favorite time of year.  Everything is just a little more beautiful in the fall, and more alive as everything turns brilliant in one more blaze of glory before everything fades for winter.

For me, fall is naturally a time to count my blessings.  Maybe it's because the busyness of summer slows down, and I have more time to think bout what I am thankful for, or maybe it's just because of the beauty of creation in the fall.  Whenever I think of fall, I think of thankfulness, and I start thinking too about how I can remind my kids to show gratitude to God for everything we have.

This year there have been a few tools that I've been using to help my kids recognize their blessings.

Choosing something to thank God for when we pray for meals.  

This is so simple, but for young kids it is great practice to have to think of something different each day!  It is fun for me to hear the different things that make their thankful list - and it makes me slow down because I have to think of one too!

Giving to others.  

Our MOPS group tries to find a way to be involved in outreach, and this year they handed out little boxes with a coin slot, so we can gather our spare change to give to an organization called Feed My Starving Children.  I've been giving the kids our change when we leave the grocery store so they can put it in our little box, and it has been a great opportunity to talk to them about how some kids don't even have enough to eat.  It's a tool to remind them that they have many blessings, much more than some, which is not usually something kids realize by themselves.

Activities And Books. 

There are so many great activities and books that can also be opportunities to cultivate thankful hearts in our kids!  Tommy Nelson just released an adorable one that is especially good for the toddler age group, called One Big Turkey, and I am looking forward to reading it with my little ones!  

This little book is so nature-focused, portraying God's beautiful creation during the fall - lot's of ideas for things to be thankful for, and toddlers can get in their counting practice too!  The illustrations are just gorgeous - I think this will be a favorite!

And as far as using activities as a springboard for talking about thankfulness - I have a post on Tommy Nelson with fall craft and book ideas to help you do just that!  Go check it out!

What do you do to help your kids develop thankfulness?  I'd love more ideas!

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AmanDan said...

We make a thankful tree. I start with a paper cut out of trunk and branches. Each day, the kids tell me what they are thankful for and I write it down on a leaf that we attach to our paper tree.
We also say a prayer every night and insert someones name into the prayer and thank God for that person.

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