Simple Ways for Kids to Show Gratitude

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What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?

Do you imagine the pilgrims and Native Americans? Maybe you think about family and LOTS of yummy food. Maybe you’re excited about football or the shopping you will do the next day. 

None of those things are wrong, and I am excited for good food, family time, and my long-standing shopping date with my mom the next day.  I can almost taste the turkey, potatoes, and strawberry pretzel salad!

 I also want to make sure, however, that our family takes time to show gratitude and love to those around us at Thanksgiving.  Focusing on blessing others helps us be grateful for all we have and allows us to be a light in a dark world. 

The Bible not only calls us to gratitude to God but also demonstrates gratitude towards others.  We often see Paul giving thanks to God for other Christians. 

“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 1:4 ESV

Simple Ways for Kids to Show Gratitude #homeschool

Homeschooling gives us the perfect chance to practice intentionality with our children – and being intentionally grateful is something that will turn into automatic thankfulness.

The following ideas are so easy to implement, yet can make such a BIG difference.

8 Simple Ways to Show Gratitude

  • Treats for your mail carrier (don’t forget UPS and FedEx).

    This time of year is hectic for them, and their jobs can often feel thankless. You can bake something special as a one-time thing or get a box of prepackaged cookies and leave a basket out for them to grab whenever they drop off a package.

  • Decorated pumpkins

    Decorated pumpkins for neighbors are a great idea, too. You can get the miniature size pumpkins for less than $1 in our area. Your children can use paint or stickers to decorate them and deliver them with a smile.

  • Invite someone for the Thanksgiving meal.

    There are many people who might not have somewhere to go for the holiday – and when in doubt – ask! Don’t assume the widow in your church has somewhere to go. It doesn’t have to be big and elaborate, but many people would love to have a place to go for the holiday.

    What a great way to show them you care. We do our big dinner meal with my extended family but often invite people over that morning for brunch.

    There is so much joy in serving others!

  • Sends cards to those far away.

    You can use store-bought cards or have your children design their cards. You can have the children list out why they are grateful for them. This is a wonderful way to express how much you appreciate friends or family members that you cannot visit at Thanksgiving.

  • Visit the Nursing Home

    You can show gratitude to those you know in the nursing home or even share love with those you do not know. I know it may be more difficult with restrictions right now, but if they are open where you live, it is a great way to show gratitude and help your children learn to be grateful for their blessings.

    We have done musical performances at our local nursing home, and it was a blessing to both the residents and our family. (You do want to set that up with their activity director ahead of time and find out their specific rules.) We have also gone and done a craft with some of the residents or just sat and chatted.

Simple Ways for Kids to Show Gratitude

  • Painted Rocks

    Painted rocks are a great way to share gratitude and joy with strangers and random people in your life. You children can decorate a few (or a lot) of rocks with a gratitude theme and then either leave them for people to find or pass them out to those that need a little encouragement. These would also make great gifts for Sunday School teachers, coaches, or other people that you want to thank.

  • Soup in a Jar

    There are tons of great recipes available that allow you to put all dry ingredients into a glass jar. These give the recipient an easy and delicious meal at their convenience. They also tend to use inexpensive ingredients like beans and noodles that make it affordable to do jars for multiple people.

  • Freezer Meals

    Our family was blessed this year when one of the families from our Trail Life troop fixed us a tasty enchilada meal that we could freeze and warm up whenever we needed an easy meal. Be sure to involve the children in preparing the meal; it will help them learn to cook and serve others.

    (Check out these easy freezer meals to make with your kids – a blog post here at Homegrown Learners.)

Simple Ways for Kids to Show Gratitude

Remember, enjoy the celebration, but take time to show your gratitude to God and others for your blessings.It can be as simple as a pack of cookies or a spoken word or more in-depth like the freezer meals or nursing home visits. 

 We should do this throughout the year, but Thanksgiving is a great time to help your children learn how to express gratitude to those around them and to “count their many blessings, name them one by one.”

Share in the comments who you want to show gratitude to during Thanksgiving – or other ideas for showing your gratitude at any time of the year.

You might also like:

Thanksgiving Matching Cards for Kids

LEGO Minifig Thanksgiving Writing Prompts


Dawn is a passionate follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and homeschool mom of four. In her spare time she loves to read, hike, and write on her blog Schoolin’ Swag. She enjoys reviewing curriculum and helping moms find the right fit for their family. Some of her favorite parts of homeschooling are hymn studies, living history, and read alouds. She and her children also enjoy incorporating food into their studies as often as possible.

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