When people think of Thanksgiving, the first things that come to mind are probably turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and visiting with friends and relatives. You may also think of Pilgrims, the change of seasons, and the approach of winter. And, if you’re like many people, you also think of the things in your life that you have to be thankful for.

While as adults we all know that Thanksgiving is a time that we should reflect on what we have to be thankful for, it may not be that evident to the kids. What they see most often on Thanksgiving is a big meal, visiting with friends and family, and possibly a football game. There are a few ways that we can help the kids understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

  • This adorable cardboard thankful turkey craft is a simple way to help younger children understand the concept of being thankful. And, it’s a great way to help them visualize the types of things in their lives that they are thankful for. Get the full directions right here.
  • These DIY gratitude leaves are a simple way for older children to grasp the idea of gratitude. And, once they’ve listed all of the things they have to be thankful for, the leaves will make a festive decoration and a reminder throughout the holiday season. Check out the directions for this easy craft project here.
  • If you’re looking for something a little bit more hands-on than a craft, why not try this fun gratitude game? You can have the kids help make the game and then get everyone together to play it. Check out the full directions.
  • Of course, one of the best ways to encourage our children to be thankful is to help them understand what they have to be thankful for. You can do this by bringing the kids somewhere to volunteer regularly. When my children were younger, they volunteered at our senior center and our local food shelf. This is a wonderful way to really help them understand that there are many people who have less than they do.

Being thankful isn’t something we need to practice only during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, we should remember to be thankful all year long. And, we should also encourage our children to be thankful for what the have. Giving back to others teaches a wonderful lesson and helps those that need it the most.