How do we practice gratitude during a season of thanksgiving? An easy way to increase understanding in our little ones is with these gratitude pumpkins. This is a simple activity with deep learning outcomes for your entire family. Increasing gratitude is not only spiritually good, but science continues to back up that it is good for our physical and emotional health as well.
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Train up a Child with Gratitude
Last year during the Thanksgiving season, I tried something different. We made a Thankfulness Turkey. The unfortunate part was that my son was only 8 months old. I’m the type that is a little over-eager to try new traditions with our family. Even this year as I try to instill gratitude into his little brain, I’m finding that he is a bit young for this type of content to truly stick.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Yet, the Bible appears clear on the matter of raising a child. No matter what the age, we are training up young men and women to be agents of God’s kingdom. They worship their creator simply by being. Even when our hearts are not tuned to the great glory of God, He still deserves praise and worship just for our bodies existing.
So this year, we are trying again with a gratitude activity.
How do you Express Gratitude on Thanksgiving?
There are so many great traditions for expressing gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. I like this activity because leading up to Thanksgiving Day we are already thinking through all the reasons we have to be grateful. There are so many ways to express gratitude as a family, and this is just a simple activity for starting the process.
Some other simple ways to express gratitude:
- Write notes of gratitude as a family.
- Remember gratitude at bedtime.
- For little ones color gratitude coloring pages.
- For adults put gratitude scriptures as your phone wall paper.
- Write letters to close family members and friends
- Volunteer as a family.
You can download the gratitude notecards by clicking the picture below. However, if you would like to have access the entire gratitude and printable vault, follow this link.
How Do you Make a Gratitude Pumpkin?
The activity is quite simple. We acquired numerous small pumpkins and throughout the span of a few weeks we wrote things down that we were thankful for. Ideally, this activity is done throughout November as a way to lead up to Thanksgiving.
There are many ways to tweak this thankful activity based on the ages of your children. My son simply helped by writing on the pumpkins with crayons. We spent one-on-one time together talking about what we as a family had to be thankful for, my husband even chimed in a time or two.
As we did this activity I asked my toddler numerous times what he was thankful for. He may not understand currently, but one day he will.
Toddlers tend to have a stored-up base of words that simply are repeated over and over throughout the day, so my son replied with his typical blubberings. He talked about all his favorites: cows, choo-choo’s, trains, hot stuff, coffee, water, babies, bears, up-ie’s, and mommadadda.
A the end of November these gratitude pumpkins will be displayed on our Thanksgiving table as a reminder of all that God has given and blessed us with.
Gratitude Pumpkins Modifications for Different Ages
- Older children may want a pumpkin all to themselves to write on.
- Each member of the family could receive a Thankful pumpkin at the beginning of November
- Different colored markers could be dispersed for a teenager to doodle or draw on the pumpkin.
- Pictures instead of words could accentuate thankfulness.
- Have children suggest scripture passages that describe why they are thankful.
How do you Decorate a Thanksgiving Pumpkin?
For these gratitude pumpkins decorating is very simple. Just write on the pumpkin what you family is grateful for. You can also leave markers or crayons by the pumpkins for your children to decorate throughout the season. For young children, consider leaving just a few crayons nearby for spontaneous coloring. We love free art in our home, but if you have a bit more structure to your home, consider setting aside specific times your kiddos can interact with decorating the pumpkins! Here are a few resources that I have liked using.
- Small or large pumpkins
- Fine Tip Permanent Markers
- Extra Fine Tip Permanent Markers
- Sharpie Paint Markers (these work the best)
Thankful Printables for Kids
Use this printable to instill some more thankfulness in your family. Write cards, use them as place markers on the thanksgiving table, or use them throughout the year.
You can access the entire gratitude vault, including the high-quality PDF versions by clicking the picture below.