Games that Nurture a Habit of Thankfulness

Games that nurture the habit of thankfulness in children.

Games are a wonderful tool to help children learn deeper truths. Here are 7 Games (or fun activities) we have used for helping to cultivate the habit of thankfulness:

  1. Thankful Seat – have one child sit in the “thankful seat” and ask everyone else to share one or two things that they are thankful for about that child.
  2. Thanks for the Gift – Wrap an assortment of gifts – nice and odd ones – and practice sincere appreciation; if not for the item itself, than for the thought behind the gift, or simply for the giver themselves.
  3. Alphabet Thanks – Pick a letter of the alphabet and make a game of listing as many items as many items you can think of that start with that letter that you are thankful for. If it will not frustrate the child, time the activity and/or write down the list.
  4. What Would You Feel Without It – Blindfold the child(ren) and walk them around for a little bit, acting as their guide. Discuss how they would feel without their sight.
    Have them sit in a chair and ask them not to move anything below their waist. Discuss paraplegics.
    Serve a meal of just plain rice. Discuss the greater world at large and the many people who have very limited access to food.
    Talk about how people live joyful lives despite these limitations – and yet we so often take these things for granted without thinking to give thanks for them.
  5. Thankfulness Pictures – Make a collage of things you are thankful for. Cut up magazines, draw pictures, or let the child photograph and then print the images.
  6. Play thankfulness Bingo – use this simple THANFULNESS BINGO GAME or PRINT YOUR OWN BINGO GAME.
  7. Thankful Hands – Using a marker or pen, write one item per finger that the child is thankful for.
    This can be such a powerful tool for reinforcing the need for developing the habit of being thankful. Ask the child(ren) to wiggle their fingers and explain to them that we can use our hands for good things or bad things, and the difference often comes down to our thought life.
    Next, explain that we can change our bad attitudes into good attitudes. When we consider what we are thankful for we can change our attitudes.
    By listing ten things we are thankful for – one for each finger – we are creating a powerful visual. Simply being thankful can impact our entire mood, and thereby our actions.
    {Someone shared that little tidbit with me when I was 15 and it’s stuck with me since then! I often count out ten things I am thankful for when I’m most frustrated. It works wonders – I promise!}
    The first time I did this activity with the boys they loved it, but 12 hours later – after a good nights sleep – their words of thankfulness had faded from their hands and were illegible. Disappointed, Judah pointed it out to Paul and I heard Paul explain to Judah that that is the EXACT reason we need to remember and thank God daily for our blessings – because we so easily and quickly forget. So the thankful hands proved to be an excellent activity for not only teaching them to think about things they are thankful for when they might otherwise have bad attitudes but also the need to continually be thankful because we so easily forget.

See more on the habit of thankfulness and other good habits to be teaching our children here.

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