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Give Families a Grateful Plateful at Thanksgiving

Use this idea to put kids in charge of the Thanksgiving table!

Expressing gratitude at the family Thanksgiving meal usually begins (and ends) like this:

“Let’s go around and say one thing we’re each thankful for.”

It’s a great start, but a grateful heart goes so much deeper. This year, help families explore what it means to be thankful in a fresh way. Plus, with this idea, kids get to be in charge of sharing thanks at the family meal! Empowering kids not only lets them practice verbalizing gratitude—it helps them develop leadership skills (even at home!).

We’ve seen the power of kids expressing thanks every summer at VBS. For years at our Group VBS field tests, kids each choose a different role in their small group. And there’s one role devoted entirely to thanking staff throughout the day! Team members’ faces light up when kids say “thanks” at the end of a lesson or game. And kids start seeing the impact that an attitude of gratitude can have.

You can incorporate service projects to instill a sense of thankfulness. However, here’s a simple, Thanksgiving-themed way to let kids take charge of giving thanks.

Thanksgiving Day Table Talkers

  1. Print out these thankfulness “sparks” on colorful paper. Make one copy per kid. Let kids cut apart the sentences, color them, and fold each one in half.
  2. Hand out paper coffee cups with lids. Let kids use stickers or crayons to decorate the outside of the cups.
  3. Kids can drop their slips of paper in the cups, snap on the lids, and take them home.
  4. Then, around the table, kids can take turns pulling out a thankfulness spark and asking everyone at the table to join in the feast of gratitude!

You can also email families this link to Spotify for an hour’s worth of free, faith-focused, kid-friendly music, all with a theme of thanksgiving and praise! Or have families check out Group’s buddy book Good, Gooder, Goodest! Thank You, God! which is packed with vibrant illustrations and relationship-reinforcing Bible truths that encourage kids to be thankful for all they have.

Looking for something bigger? Check out this idea for bringing families together for a Thanksgiving gathering event!

Have fun sparking family discussions filled with gratitude, as you empower kids to lead and engage in faith conversations.

Looking for more Thanksgiving ideas? Check out these articles!

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