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Simple Ways to Help Kids Give Thanks

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for encouraging children and teens to give thanks for all the special gifts God has provided. Here are a few ideas to get your children’s ministry started.

Give Thanks in Prayer

Even from an early age, it’s important to teach kids that prayer begins and ends with God’s true Word. Find a few Bible verses or stories that encourage thankfulness. Then, talk about what each verse means and say a prayer of thanks specifically for the gifts mentioned in each story. Here are a few examples:

  • Genesis 1 & 2: Thank God for His Creation
  • Matthew 27 & 28: Thank God for His Saving Work in Jesus
  • Acts 2: Thank God for Sending the Holy Spirit

Another way to give thanks in prayer is through an activity called Highs and Lows. During prayer time, each member identifies the day’s highs (positive things/events) and lows (not-so wonderful things/events). Try to identify both. Talk about what to give thanks to God for in the highs and lows. Also talk about what needs help, including what needs to happen for the highs to remain high and how to solve any problems with the lows, perhaps by saying, “I’m sorry” and/or “Please forgive me for Jesus’ sake.” Then take all those things to Jesus in prayer.

Finally, at the end of this post, we have some free Thank-You prayers from Wiggle and Wonder that you can download for your children to color and remember God’s provision.

Make Craft Projects

Here are a few low-cost, simple craft projects to do with your kids.

Start a Thanksgiving chain. Write or draw things for which you are thankful on a strip of paper. Make a chain and say “Thank You, God, for . . .” as you add links. Then, each day remove one link, pray, and give thanks for the item written down.

Create Thanksgiving place mats. This can be as simple as using construction paper or regular paper to make the place mats. Have kids jot down what they are thankful for on each place mat. Add fun stickers or artwork. Laminate for durability if desired.

Make a thankful tree. Grab a small branch and place in a vase. Cut out small leaf shapes and use a hole puncher. Have children write down or draw what they are thankful for on the leaves. Using string, children can hang these on their thankful tree.

Serve Others in Need

  • Pack boxes at a food bank or donate food. Include a card with a “God bless you” note. Pray for the people who will receive the food.
  • Rake leaves with a group or as a family for older people or others who need it!
  • Make easy gifts like suncatchers or cards for older people or for those who are ill.

Looking for even more ways to give thanks? Check out our free download of 3 Prayers for Thanksgiving! Use them in Sunday School or children’s church throughout the month or print and distribute to families at your church.

Written by

Pam Nummela

Pam Nummela is Senior Editor of VBS for Concordia Publishing House. A teacher and Director of Christian Education, she’s thankful for how God has worked in her as a VBS student, volunteer, director of large and small VBS programs, and now as editor. Jesus + VBS = JOY!

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