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8 Gratitude Activities for Early Education

Gratitude is an important topic for the classroom when building out any social-emotional learning curriculum, but as we know, students don’t just learn from listening, they learn from doing. Here are eight fun activities that can help students learn about and cultivate gratitude.

  1. Take a Gratitude Walk
    Is the class ready for a movement break? Try going on a class walk while looking at nature and the environment around you. Have students notice the things around them that they feel grateful for.  

  2. Make a Gratitude Journal
    For non-writers, have students draw a picture in their journal of what they are thankful for. Writers can add words to describe or list the things they feel grateful for. 

  3. Share a Gratitude Snack
    Meals and snacks are a great time to slow down and show gratitude. Whether students are thanking the person who gave them the snack or practicing mindful eating, snack time is a great opportunity to notice the gifts around us.

  4. Try a Show-And-Share
    Have students bring something they are grateful for to show to the class. Encourage listening and manners as each student presents their special item (or photo) to the group.

  5. Make Thank You Cards
    Students can work together to make a card or picture for a valued member of their community. Perhaps there is a class volunteer or an office staff member that has been especially helpful. Encourage students to take the time to thank them with a concrete letter or card.

  6. Read a Book About Gratitude
    Books are always a great way to introduce new topics. “Honey Bear I’m Grateful for You,” is a great resource for classrooms as it comes in a large format for students to easily see during group read-aloud.

  7. Create a Gratitude Jar
    Designate a jar in the classroom as a “gratitude jar.” Encourage students to  draw a picture or write down on a piece of paper something they are grateful for and put it in the jar. When the jar is full, consider doing something special with the pieces (perhaps make a bulletin board or have a special gratitude celebration!).

  8. Organize an Event to Help the Community 
    Studies show that people feel like they have more for themselves when they give more to others. Help children cultivate gratitude by finding a way to give back to the community. Try a playground clean-up or organize a fundraiser. 

We hope you enjoy some of these SEL classroom activities. To get more ideas for teaching gratitude in the classroom, check out our Gratitude with Honey Bear Unit Plan and resources

Sarah Block, Licensed Professional Counselor and Slumberkins Director of Therapeutic Content

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