With Thanksgiving coming up soon, we are all taking the time to be a bit more grateful. So how do you ensure that your kids are being grateful? After reading this three minute post, you’ll have ideas for how to teach thankfulness the Biblical way– plus some fun gratitude crafts!
Why teach thankfulness?
Gratitude and thankfulness are essential to a positive, happy life. Being thankful is all about looking outside of yourself and appreciating what you have. It reminds you that the world does not revolve around you– a fact that many of our students could stand to know!
In the Bible, there are many, many verses about gratitude and thankfulness (like Psalm 107:21 or 1 Thessalonians 5:8). When we give thanks to God, we remember that the good things come from him. It gets our attention off of ourselves and onto God– from whom all blessings flow!
When we are thankful towards other people, it helps them to feel appreciated and happy. We remember all of the good things they have done.
Gratitude also brings joy! There are studies after studies about how being thankful actually makes you happier. It helps you to focus on the good things– which means that you notice more good things and less bad things. It doesn’t make the hard times go away, but it does show you the good things in your life.
Try it! Take a second and write down 10 things that you are grateful for. Do you feel instantly happier? It works!
Gratitude lesson for Sunday School
Print out a set of verses about gratitude and thankfulness. (You can grab one that’s ready to print and go here.) Hide them around the room, and have students go on a scavenger hunt to find them.
Once students have found the verses, look each one up and read them. I like to have the person who found it read the verse. (you do not have to read them all!)
Then, ask the students what the verses have in common. (They are all about gratitude.)
Tell students: When we are grateful, we are focusing on the good things in life– especially the good things that come from God! Being grateful actually helps us to find more things to be grateful for, so we have more blessings in our life.
Tell students: We always have things to be grateful for, even when life isn’t going well. Many of the verses we found are from Psalms. Most of Psalms were written by King David– and he didn’t have an easy life! Even though he eventually became king, he also spent a large part of his life on the run from King Saul who wanted to kill him! He traveled around, constantly in fear of being found. He couldn’t stay home or anything like that– but yet he was always grateful to God! (You can read more about David in 1 Samuel.)
Hand out strips of paper. Have each student write 5-10 things they are grateful for. Keep asking “What else?” (The idea is that once they start, they will think of more and more things to be grateful for.)
Once they’ve come up with a bunch of ideas, use tape or a stapler to create a gratitude chain. Just make one strip into a circle. Then make another into a circle, but put it through the first one before you staple or tape it. At the end, you’ll have a big chain to show the chain reaction of gratitude!
Tell the students that they can do this at home– they can even get their families involved. If you really want to encourage it, make it a competition to see who could bring the longest chain of DIFFERENT things they are grateful for next week. (Or have them write it on a paper so that it’s easier to bring!)
Gratitude Pumpkin Craft (freebie!)
You can also make this gratitude pumpkin craft– and there is a free download!
- Click here to download the craft free.
- Have students write 6 things they are grateful for on the strips
- Staple all of the strips together on the bottom (have the writing facing down)
- Then, gather the strips at the top, add a leaf, and staple!
- That’s it!
This one is super simple but also super cute!
If you need more gratitude activities, you can check out the print and go activities in my store.
Sword drills: To do a sword drill, you cut out the swords and put them into a box or cup. Pull out one of the verses. Everyone looks up the verse. The first person to find it in the Bible reads it aloud and gets a point. Whoever has the most points at the end wins!
Gratitude Bible Verse coloring sheets: These coloring sheets are great for older students, and they cover 10 different Bible verses about gratitude.
Thanksgiving coloring sheets: Similar to the other others, but these are all Thanksgiving and Fall themed PLUS most of the 10 verses actually have the word “thanksgiving” in them. These verses are different from the other set.
What is your favorite gratitude or Thanksgiving lesson for Sunday School? Let me know by sending me a DM on Instagram– it’s @beccasbibleclass