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Thanksgiving Lesson Plans That Teach about God’s Overflowing Gifts

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)

Around Thanksgiving, we think about being thankful to God for family, friends, and food. But how can we illustrate the lesson of God’s bountiful gifts in new ways? Having something visual and tangible can make things more understandable to children of all ages—and even to adults.

Overflowing Pumpkin

In my preschool class, we thank God for things every day. However, it can be hard to explain the extent of God’s blessings. God’s blessings overflow from His love. Here is a demonstration you can use to show how God’s gifts and blessings continue to bubble up and overflow in our lives.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pumpkin-pie pumpkin, scooped out
  • Tray to catch liquid
  • 7 scoops baking soda
  • 2 pumps soap
  • 1 bottle apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Place the pumpkin on the tray.
  2. Scoop the baking soda into the pumpkin. For each scoop, have a child come up with something God gives us that we don’t normally think about. Some answers my students came up with were crayons, our strength, our mommies, books, and hats. With older people, answers could be our health, our phones, and our relationships.
  3. Add the soap.
  4. Slowly pour in the apple cider vinegar while saying, “God’s love pours out on us and our cup overflows. His blessings keep on coming!” Keep pouring for a while as your class talks about God’s love. The bubbles will come up out of the pumpkin and fill the tray underneath.

Basket of Blessings

Another tangible activity to inspire thankfulness for blessings can be done with a basket or cornucopia. Set it out in your classroom for a week. Encourage students to drop in items that represent what they are thankful for. Then, in a special prayer time after things have been gathered, come together and thank God for each blessing.

Sometimes having time to assemble things unlocks our brains and we realize the magnitude of ways in which we are blessed. I plan on using this method in my preschool class after Thanksgiving, in the time leading up to Christmas. This can be a healthy exercise to help students focus not on what they will get but on what they already have.


Download free prayers about giving thanks.

Encourage thankfulness in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. Use these prayers in your classroom or give them to your students’ families to use at home.

Download Prayers
Written by

Beth Schultz

Beth Schultz is the first grade teacher at Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, Illinois and a mother of one. Since beginning teaching in 2012, she has loved working with all age groups: in middle school and youth group theater, primary grades teaching or VBS sessions, and preschool activities. She is blessed to share the message of Christ with her students and their families every single day through school and her opportunities to write through CPH.

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