The word “gratitude” comes up frequently in classroom conversations about Mindfulness. This is because thinking about all that we have in our lives helps us to feel happier, safer, and kinder. When we feel happy, safe, and kind, we are more likely to be calm and behave in a thoughtful manner.
Gratitude is like a muscle that must be exercised regularly. The more often you practice gratitude, the stronger its presence becomes in your life. Gratitude is a wonderful activity to engage in with your family in order to increase feelings of happiness, positivity and overall well-being.
Here is a list of a few activities focused on gratitude that we think you might enjoy.
Gratitude stones are a unique way for your children to record the many people, places, and things in their lives they are grateful for. Give your children smooth decorative stones (available in the floral department of any craft store) and paint pens in several different colors. On each stone, have your children write words or draw images of the people or things in their lives that make them feel happy, loved, or safe. Your children can place these stones in their bedrooms, around the house, or as decorations in the garden as reminders of the many things in their lives they have tor which they are grateful.
Materials needed: smooth stones (large enough to draw or write on) and paint markers.
Gratitude Rampage or Walk
Sit with your child and take turns sharing people and things you are grateful for. Make it a challenge by timing yourselves to see how many objects of gratitude you can share in one minute, then do it again and see if you can name even more in the second round. The only rule of the game is that you cannot immediately repeat something the other said….even if you are grateful for the same thing, you must wait a turn before saying it as well.
Another option is to take a Gratitude Walk. Designate a short walking route and take turns sharing your gratitude with each step you take. This will require you to walk deliberately and slowly as you move down your path. This could also be done from a parked car on the way into a store.
Before beginning your Gratitude Rampage or Gratitude Walk, you might find it helpful to each write out a list of what you are grateful for. While you do not have to stick exclusively to this list during the activity, it is a helpful tool for helping you get started or to draw on for inspiration. CLICK HERE for a link to the Challenge to Change Gratitude Rampage worksheet.
Mail a Hug
Have your child think of special people in his life to whom he’d like to send some love. Ask your child to share why he feels lucky to have these people in his life. For each person that is being sent love, your child needs to trace both hands on construction paper. Have your child hold his arms out wide and cut a length of ribbon or string that measures from wrist to wrist. Cut out the traced hands and glue them on each end of the ribbon or string. Your child can write a message of love and gratitude on the hands, or can include a kind note along with his “hug”. Mail your hug as soon as possible
Materials needed: construction paper, yarn or ribbon, scissors, hot glue.
Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
Give your children something they can take pictures with and send them on a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt around your home to find things they are grateful for. They must take a picture of at least one person or object for everything on the scavenger hunt list. Once they are done, you can turn their images into a digital presentation to share with family and friends. CLICK HERE for the scavenger hunt list.
We hope you have fun engaging in some or all of these activities centered on the practice of gratitude. As always, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your families’ lives!
The Team at Challenge to Change