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5 Ways To Teach Kids Thankfulness

24 Oct

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Thank you

A simple phrase that we love to teach our kids or students. It is a respectful response that should be used often.

However, thankfulness goes beyond the words and phrases we use. Instead, a thankful posture grows out of a heart of gratitude. Below are 5 ways to help your students or children mature in gratitude and move beyond a simple phrase into a constant state of thankfulness.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Prayer is a simple yet powerful way to teach thankfulness. The next time you pray with children, lead them in a prayer of thanksgiving. The format for this style of prayer is to have the child list something or someone they are thankful for and say, “God, thank you for ______”. You continue the prayer until the child has run out of people or items for prayer. For concrete thinkers (elementary age) give them a goal to reach, such as to thank God for ten people or things in their life.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” – Psalm 9:1

Thankfulness Board

Grab a whiteboard or large sheet of paper and set it around your home, classroom, or church. Allow kids to write and draw pictures of what they are thankful for on this board. Incorporate the board in a weekly routine so that children are constantly engaging with their creative side while striving to grow in thankfulness.

Thank You Cards

Anytime your child receives presents for Christmas or their birthday, sit down with them and help them write thank you cards. As a Sunday school or classroom project, set aside some time to write thank you cards for police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, government officials and local businesses. Don’t have the budget to buy cards? You can print some for free on Greetings Island Thank You Cards

Gratitude Walk

The next time you take kids on a walk, go for a gratitude walk. As you stroll to your destination, have kids point toward objects around them and say “I am thankful for _____”. For kids that may have a harder time staying focused on this activity, make it into a Gratitude I Spy Game by stating, “I am thankful for something that is the color _____”. After a kid guesses the correct object, have everyone proclaim together “We are thankful for ______” (the object just guessed).

Local Thankfulness

Bake a tray of cookies and buy a simple box or bag from the dollar store that can be decorated by kids. Package up the cookies and take kids on a trip to a local business or government building. Go inside and have the children offer the gift of cookies to an employee by sharing how they are thankful for that person or business. It is a truly sweet moment when you can see the shock on an employee’s face at the practice of gratitude by a child. Several stores that have worked well for me in the past include: City Hall, YMCA, Recreation Centers, and Small Retail locations.

By putting some of the above activities into practice, you can teach children that thankfulness goes beyond a simple phrase and is a lifestyle that comes from a heart of gratitude.

Looking for another “No Mess” way to teach children about Gratitude? Check out our Gratitude Object Lesson Blog Post.

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10 Fun Ideas For A Friendship Lesson

12 Feb
  1. HappyRoll out butcher paper on the floor. Have kids write words that describe a good friend or draw pictures of someone being a good friend.

2. Tell a personal story of when someone was a good friend to you. Include what actions they took that made them a good friend and how it made you feel.

3. Memorize a bible verse. Make up actions to help the kids remember the words. Or better yet, have them create their own actions.

“A friend loves at all times.”  Proverbs 17:17

“Do to others as you want them to do to you.” Luke 6:31

4. Watch the Friendship Soup video

5. Discuss in small groups:

Why are arguments a part of friendship?

How do you think God wants you to deal with arguments in a friendship?

How can you disagree with someone in a kind way?

6. Make Friendship Soup. Put out bowls of snacks- goldfish crackers, pretzels, dried fruit, cheese puffs, Chex cereal, etc.  Each child spoons some of what they want into a bowl to make their own soup.

7. Make friendship bracelets and trade them with each other. Instructions can be found on these sites:

Cool and Easy to Make Friendship Bracelets

Basic Friendship Bracelets

8. Create an obstacle course. Divide kids into pairs. One child must close his/her eyes while the other ones leads through the course. Practice trusting a friend during this activity.

9. Tell a Bible story about friendship. The JellyTelly Parents blog has a good post with ideas.

10. Play Guess the Mood. Print off pictures of faces or tear them from magazines. Have the kids work together in teams to divide the pictures into similar emotions.

 

What ideas do you have to build friendship in your church, organization or family?

 

 

Top 5 Educational Summer Activities

24 Jun

With three months of summer to fill with activities, it can be challenging come up with answers when the kids state the inevitable “I’m bored”. It can be even more challenging to find enriching activities that engages kids minds, without boring them. Here are 5 ways to combat the “I’m bored” statement that are educational and fun.

1.  Nature Rubbings/Painting
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This educational, yet fun activity will get your kids outside and exploring. Collect sticks, bark, flowers, leaves, etc. and bring them back home. Take a piece of paper and carefully place it over the item from nature. Take a crayon and rub it over the top of the piece of paper. The outline and texture of the item will appear. Taking this a step further, next has your students use the items from nature as their paintbrushes and create naturalistic images.

 

2. Visit the Library

Your local library may be your best source for activities. Most libraries have some activities set up for kids around the Children’s section, while many libraries offer extensive activities, book clubs, and projects for kids to sign up for. If your library does not offer any programming, take your child to the hobbies/How To section of the Children’s area and have kids pick out a book about cooking, cars, how to draw cartoons, or whatever their interest may be. Reading through these books and completing activities that go along with them keeps kids occupied for hours.

3. Check out your local Nature Center, History Museum, or Zoo

P1000449Even if your child doesn’t like bugs, or history, or science, they are bound to be engaged at these various locations. Nature centers and museums aim at helping their subject come alive in an exciting way to kids. Most nature centers are free and many museums and zoos have free days! For example, majority of Chicago’s Museums have at least one free day a month for residents to check out their exciting exhibits.

 

4. Take a trip to Barnes and Noble and get a free book

During the summer, Barnes and Noble has a kids reading program where they can earn a free book! Barnes and Noble’s reading program is kids grade 1st-6th and they must complete three out of four different reading challenges. When completed, just bring the completed sheet to your local Barnes and Noble and your child will be able to pick out a free book! Click here to print out the reading sheet from Barnes and Noble.

5. Photo Scavenger Hunt

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Head to your local zoo or park with a list of distinguishing characteristics of animals, plants, and bugs and the kids must try and find each one and take a picture. Scavenger list ideas include: find a mammal with four legs, find a animal that is yellow, find an animal that is a bird, but can not fly. Kids will be
using their brains and sleuthing skills.

 

 

What are your favorite educational activities to do with kids in the summer?