hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a week away. It seems like I
just finished eating all the leftover discounted candy I bought on
November 1st. Looking back, I seem to remember the store
setting out Christmas items as I did my annual discounted candy
run. Have we, as a country, just decided to skip Thanksgiving?! Not
on my watch!
We have so much to be thankful for, and we can
help our kids understand the importance of a thankful heart. Here
are three no-miss, easy-prep, memory-making ideas that you can use
in your ministry.
1. THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE
Parades are a fun tradition you can use to create your ministry's
unique Thanksgiving tradition.
Say: During Thanksgiving,
we think about things we're thankful for. What's God given you that
you're thankful for? Allow time.
Say: Some people celebrate
with a parade at Thanksgiving. Maybe you've seen one on television
or attended one. Let's have a Thanksgiving parade to celebrate all
that God's given us.
Have kids find random items in your room
to use as instruments. Set out paper, and let kids make hats or
other costume items they can tape to their clothes or wave in the
air. Let them parade around the room singing a song, such as "Jesus
For added impact, make arrangements ahead
of time with your senior pastor to have kids bring their parade
into your main service, and have the congregation sing a song of
thanksgiving with the kids.
Give each child a deflated balloon.
(Children under 8 years of age can choke
or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision
required. Keep uninflated balloons for children. Discard broken
balloons at once. Balloons may contain latex.)
SAY: Thanksgiving is a time to
celebrate all the awesome things we're thankful for. Let's take
turns calling out things we're thankful for. Each time someone
names something, add a puff of air to your balloon.
Let kids name things and add puffs of air to
their balloons. After everyone has had a turn, SAY:Wait, wait, it's
my turn!Call out something unpleasant such as, "Getting sick" or
"My car broke down."
SAY: Hmmm, I'm not sure everyone added
air for that one. When good things happen we're all full of
praise-like our balloons are now. But when bad things happen, it's
more like this.
Have kids release their balloons, letting them
fly everywhereand land, deflated.
ASK: Why don't we thank God when bad
Read aloud Ephesians 5:20.
• Why would God want us to thank him
for everything-meaning the good things and bad
• Tell about a time you experienced
something good right in the middle of something bad. Begin
by sharing your own storyto give kids time to think. For example,
you might talk about atime you got a flat tire, but were encouraged
by the kindness ofsomeone who helped you.
SAY: It's easy to thank God for good things.
But we can remember to thank God for hard things because he often
uses those bad things for good. Let's fill up our balloons so
they're nice and full of our praises-for the good stuff and even
the not-so-good stuff. Let kids inflate and tie off their balloons.
Helpkids tie their balloons as needed.
Lead kids in prayer, thanking God for his
blessings of goodtimes and even thanking him for the hard things we
face. Then letkids bat the balloons around as a celebration and
praise to God.
3. Rejoice Race
Beforehand, form a circle of chairs, with one
less chair than the number of kids, and mark 1 Thessalonians
5:16-18 in a Bible.
Have all kids except one sit in the chairs.
The standing child is "It" and It will remain standing.
SAY: It may point to any seated child,
and say "Rejoice in the Lord," then quickly count to 10. That
person must name one thing he or she is thankful for before It
reaches 10. If the child cannot think of anything that quickly, he
or she becomes the new It. If It says, "Everyone rejoice in the
Lord!" then everyone must quickly stand up and find a new seat
while It tries to find a seat as well. The player who doesn't find
a seat will become the new It.
Play several rounds. Afterward, read aloud 1
At the end of the game, ASK:
• What was easy or hard about thinking
of things to rejoice in God about?
• Why do we sometimes forget to thank
God for all he does for us?
• What's one way you can show God
you're joyful about what he's done for you?
• Why is it important to show thanks
SAY: We have so many reasons to thank
God and express our joy. This week, take time each day to rejoice
If you want to continue the discussion on a
thankful heart, you have to check out VeggieTales: Thankfulness Sunday School
Lessons! In this 4-week Sunday school (great for 3- to
8-year-olds), your kids will enjoy 4 Sunday school lessons with
Madame Blueberry, the very blue berry who wants more stuff! They'll
learn alongside Madame Blueberry that "being greedy makes you
grumpy-but a thankful heart is a happy heart!"
I've got a lot to be thankful for, including
all of you, my friends in ministry! Thank you for what you do to
make Jesus irresistible to kids. What are you thankful for this
year? Let us know using the comment section below.