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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and Education: Teaching Gratitude and Recognizing Blessings

Below is a great article on "Teaching Your Kids to be Thankful" detailing many ways to encourage children to recognize and express gratitude for the blessings in their lives. Especially intriguing to me was the "Thankful Paper Chain" activity that can also morph into a Christmas lesson on gratitude.

Gratitude is an important lesson parents must teach their children (and adults must remember to practice). Tomorrow we'll write about some educators who don't think teaching gratitude is very important. But today, as you give your own thanks with your family and friends, hug your children and view them as blessings provided to you for caretaking.

Happy Thanksgiving and may blessings abound!

(from http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/thanksgiving/articles/teaching-kids-to-be-thankful.html)

Teaching your Kids to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach your kids about being thankful. Here are some ideas to teach your children how to appreciate the blessings in their lives.

Giving Thanks Placemats

The goal of this craft is to create a collage filled with drawings and pictures of all the things your children are thankful for. Cut photos from magazines, or print some photos from your computer. Older children can write captions under the photos or draw their own. Be sure to put the child’s name and the year on it.

If you make this collage from two standard letter size pieces of construction paper taped side-by-side, you can take the completed collage to a copy shop when you’re done and have it laminated. It then becomes a placemat that you can use every Thanksgiving for years to come.

Thankful Paper Chain

Another way to remind your children of their blessings is to create a paper chain. This is similar to a regular paper chain – where you cut strips of paper and connect them together as loops, but there’s one difference. You write on the strips of paper before you connect them. Write the things you are thankful for with your children. For instance, “Grandma plays games with me” or “My teacher is nice.” The fun part of this activity is to make the chain as long as possible – showing all your blessings. If you’d like to keep this up during Christmas, just use green and white paper.

Thanksgiving Tree

This is another take on the idea above and works really well if you have several kids in the family. Get each child to trace their hand on yellow, red, or brown construction paper. Cut out the hand shapes and write (or have the child write) what they are thankful for on the hand shape. Cut a tree trunk shape out of brown construction paper. Glue it on a large piece of poster board. Let the kids add their hand shapes as leaves above the tree trunk, turning it into a beautiful fall colored tree.

Thankful Book

This idea is similar to the others, except it’s more of a keepsake. Purchase a photo album or scrapbook kit and make a “blessings” theme. Add photos of loved ones, including stories about why they are special to you. Also, include pages of your favorite foods, favorite stories, favorite movies and all the other things that make you happy. Any time your kids feel down, you can open your blessing book to see all the reasons you have to be happy – and thankful for the blessings in your life.

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