Teach Gratitude with These 4 Christian Activities for Kids
It’s easy to let the words “thank you” lose their meaning. When someone does something nice for you, it’s an automatic response. Often, we say the words without really stopping to appreciate the giver.
The same thing can happen in our thanks to God too. We teach our kids to thank Him for family, friends, food, and fun — things we can taste, touch, smell, hear, or see.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
- Psalm 107:1
But it’s important to thank Him beyond the basics — to think about the things we can’t see like the Father Himself, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
But how often do we really pause to teach the depths of gratitude to our children?
With all that God gives us there is a lot to thank Him for. Here are four Christian activities for kids to help you teach them the true power of gratitude:
1. Thank Him for Your Blessings with an Overflowing Cup
Even on our worst days, God gives us something to be thankful for. We are undeserving of the love, grace, and mercy he so freely gives. The least we can do is teach our children to give him endless thanks in return.
This activity helps children see how many blessings God has bestowed upon us. As you guide the activity, help them identify even the tiniest ways He is present in our lives.
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- Ephesians 5:20
WHAT YOU NEED
- A clear cup
- A small ladle
- A container of water
- A towel or pan to catch drips
Gather your group together around a table with the empty cup, ladle, and container of water ready to go.
Ask the children to think of all the blessings God has given them. Go around from child to child and have them place a dipper of water into the cup for each blessing they share.
As the cup fills, pause to help the children think of unique blessings from the Lord. You can prompt them by asking them to consider special people, opportunities, talents, or the Lord’s beautiful creations around them.
When the cup is nearly full, do not stop. Allow the cup to overflow onto the table and explain how God loves us. Then, begin the lesson of learning what it means to be overflowing with the blessings of our Heavenly Father.
- How does God fill your cup every day?
- Is your cup half empty or half full? Is it overflowing?
- How can we fill the cups of others?
- Why should we spend time thanking God for his blessings?
- How can we show God we are grateful for His love?
2. Create a Beaded Pendant That Reminds You to Thank the Lord at All Times
God doesn’t need us to praise Him and thank Him, but we are certainly better off for doing so. To thank God at all times is an expression of our faith in his plan for us and recognition of his greatness and glory.
This activity will teach our children how to increase their joy in Jesus by reminding them to be thankful at all times. Before you begin, talk about the importance of praising God for who He is and all He has done for us.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
- I Thessalonians 5:18
WHAT YOU NEED
- Plastic craft beads in six colors
- Several pieces of sturdy string or cord, about 1-3 feet long
- Clear glue
- Optional: necklace latches
The children will need a length of string and six beads — each of a different color — to complete this activity. Pass out the string and the beads. As you are distributing the beads, explain to them what each color stands for.
Prior to the activity, assign each color a theme. As the children are building their cross pendant, ask them to think of something they are thankful for that falls into each category.
Here are a few ideas:
- Red: Family
- Orange: Friends
- Yellow: Health
- Green: Outdoors
- Blue: Hobbies
- White: God
If they are old enough, ask them to write the things they choose down as a reminder.
Follow the diagram below to build your pendant. Before you help the children cut the length of string to the length they need, ask them to share some of the things they are thankful for.
Once the pendant is complete, instruct the children to put it somewhere they will see it often. They can use it as a bookmark, tie it to their bookbag, or wear it as a necklace or bracelet. Whatever they choose, make it clear that seeing should remind them to be thankful.
- Is it easy to remember to be thankful?
- Do you ever forget to be thankful to God? Or to your friends and family?
- What helps you to remember to be thankful to God? To your friends and family?
- Who can remind you to be thankful?
- Where can you put this pendant to remind you to be grateful?
3. Thank Jesus for His Love by Making Some Noise
We love God and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior and singing Him praises is good for the soul. Song touches our hearts. It helps us express our thoughts and desires — and we can do it anytime, anywhere.
This activity helps children put their gratitude into action by showing them how to sing joyful praises and give thanks to the Lord. As you prepare for this activity, have the children select the songs and come together to build the instruments you will be using.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!
- Psalm 68:4
WHAT YOU NEED
- Miscellaneous bottles, boxes, and cans
- Tape, glue, and string
- Rubber bands
- Sand, stones, and other filler
- Paint and markers
The exact materials you will need for this activity will vary. Do a google search or visit this site for ideas on how to make homemade musical instruments. Choose a few instruments and gather the supplies you will need.
Next, select a few fun songs to sing. This website has some great options.
The bulk of this activity is in the preparation. Use that time to talk with the children about their talents and ideas. Explain to them that these are things they can show gratitude for every day — not just as part of this activity.
- Why do we sing praise to God?
- What does the Bible say about singing?
- What role has music played in your spiritual journey?
- How does music impact your heart?
- How can you bring the joy of music to others?
4. Live Like Jesus and Thank God by Giving Back
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be the light for others. Taking a moment to be a blessing to those around us can help us to remember to be grateful and thank God for what we have.
This activity teaches our children how to be more aware of the needs of those around them. As you begin this activity, talk about why God needs us to shine His light onto others and suggest ways to give back in any season.
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
- Luke 22:19
WHAT YOU NEED
- Several small tubs or jars
- Tape or glue
In this activity, the children will decorate a jar to use to collect change over a short period of time. After you introduce this activity and as they are decorating their personal jars, ask them how long they would like to collect spare change and help them to choose a charitable recipient.
We recommend looking for opportunities to give in your local community. This will help the children witness the full impact of their giving and allow you to have meaningful discussions of gratitude and giving.
- How can you incorporate giving into your everyday life?
- What kinds of gifts do you receive from friends, from family, from God?
- Why is it important to give?
- Who should you give to and why?
- When you receive a gift how do you express your gratitude?
Gratitude is more than saying please and thank you. Teaching our children about the greatness of gratitude and the blessings God gives us is a powerful tool for helping them live humbly and grow closer to Him.