During this upcoming holiday season, kids can naturally rush straight past Thanksgiving in great anticipation of all the treasures of Christmas. Now is the perfect time to teach kids the meaning and intent for these holidays—a time to be thankful for what we do have, not a quest for what we don’t; a time to be generous with the blessings God has graciously given us; a time to give and a time to help others.
Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
Acts of Kindness jar—write down several acts of kindness on separate slips of paper that you and your family can do together or that kids can do by themselves. Frequently let your child pull a slip from the jar and encourage them to perform that act of kindness. Even better, suggest that the child show the kindness without the benefactor knowing who did it!
Paint rocks—gather several rocks and have a family rock painting night. The designs can be words of blessing or pictures. Take frequent walks through the neighborhood and randomly leave the rocks around the neighborhood or at specific houses.
Chalk pics—Write words such as, “We’re thankful for you!” in chalk on sidewalks in front of neighborhood families’ homes. Include names of the families if you know them.
Paint pumpkins—Write why you’re thankful for a family on a pumpkin or tie a personal note telling them why you’re thankful to have them as neighbors and friends. Leave the pumpkin on the porch as a surprise!
Take a Treat—Make homemade goodies such as Rice Krispy treats cut into leaf shapes (use food coloring for different shades) and wrap them up as special surprises to give to kids and families in the neighborhood.
As a reminder for your own kids at home:
Pumpkin Turkey—Get a large pumpkin. Add wooden skewers stuck into the pumpkin where the tail feather would be. Cut out feather shapes from construction paper. Encourage kids to add words or pictures telling what they’re thankful for. Tape the feathers to the skewers. The more thankfulness, the more feathers for the turkey!
Thankfulness Chain—Throughout November and December, make a construction paper chain by writing things and events of what your family is thankful for on strips of paper. Connect the strips and use the chain on the Christmas tree or hang it around the room as décor for Christmas.
Remember, your actions and attitude will be the best teaching example for your kids. The holidays can be a stressful time, especially for parents. Prayerfully, these activities will help as you remember all the ways that God has blessed you and your family through the year.
Klista Storts serves as an Editorial Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. Before coming to Lifeway, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.