It can be too easy at times to focus on the things that go wrong rather than the things that go right for us. And that can be especially difficult for still-developing brains. Practicing an attitude of gratitude is a skill that students can be taught. Focusing on the things we are grateful for in our lives can help enhance our mood. A regular gratitude practice can also have benefits for physical health that lead to better sleep and enhance immunity. There is no better time than now to work on gratitude with your students since we are heading into the Thanksgiving season. Whether you are in the mood for a game, an activity, or a craft project, there is something for everyone on our list of meaningful gratitude activities for kids of all ages.
Elementary School Gratitude Activities
Middle School Gratitude Activities
Gratitude Activities for Kids in Elementary School
1. Gratitude scavenger hunt
Print out this fun, gratitude-focused scavenger hunt, then let your students loose to find things that speak to them!
Learn more: All Natural Adventures
2. Thankful turkey craft
Encourage students to share what they’re thankful for with this adorable turkey craft made from construction paper.
Learn more: Happiness Is Homemade
3. Pumpkin pie spinner
This gratitude craft looks so good you could practically eat it!
Learn more: The Catholic Toolbox
4. Pickup sticks: Gratitude Edition
A simple yet fun variation on the classic game pickup sticks, students will select a stick and then find the corresponding gratitude prompt.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
5. A turkey puppet show about gratitude
Have your students create these adorable turkey puppets and then let them put on a puppet show expressing their gratitude for various things in their lives.
Learn more: Dream a Little Bigger
6. Gratitude alphabet
This one will prove challenging since students will be tasked to come up with some unconventional words to express their gratitude.
Learn more: The Keele Deal
7. Gratitude hopscotch
A way to practice gratitude while also getting in some physical fitness—yes, please!
Learn more: Counseling Essentials
8. Thankful turkey coloring page
This fun color-by-number gratitude activity for kids keeps little hands busy and little hearts grateful.
Learn more: Mama Miss
9. Gratitude garland
Gratitude activities for kids that double as decoration are certainly some of our favorites! The longer the garland, the more abundant the gratitude.
Learn more: Teaching Expertise
10. Gratitude reading
Choose some gratitude-focused books to add to your classroom library, then let students choose which they want to read.
Buy it: The Thankful Book
11. Gratitude sphere
If you love rustic decor, this is the gratitude project for you and your students. Grab a twine ball, some burlap, and some string to get started.
Learn more: Hello, Wonderful
12. Gratitude drawing prompts
Have your students complete a different gratitude-based drawing prompt each day.
Learn more: Let’s Lasso the Moon
13. Thankful turkey wreath
This colorful Thanksgiving wreath is the perfect craft for reminding kids about the importance of being grateful for everything we have.
Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids
14. Thankfulness chain
We love that all you need to do this project is some construction paper and markers. We also love the nostalgia of making paper chains leading up to holidays.
Learn more: Hustle & Homeschool
15. Thanksgiving gratitude game
Ask students to list all of the things they are thankful for with this free, cute, and simple printable.
Learn more: Kara Creates
16. Gratitude tree
This lovely gratitude tree is easy to make and gives everyone an opportunity to think about being thankful every day.
Learn more: Made With Happy
17. Gratitude flowers
Have students grow a garden of positivity and thankfulness with these beautiful gratitude flowers.
Learn more: Blissful Kids
18. Gratitude stones
This is one of the simplest gratitude activities for kids. Ask them to gather some stones and then paint hearts or thankful words on them. They can then take them home and distribute them around the neighborhood!
Learn more: Fireflies and Mud Pies
19. Thank-you coloring pages
While this was a popular activity during the pandemic, it’s always a good time to show appreciation for healthcare workers and people in the service industry. These adorable coloring pages are free to download and print.
20. Gratitude yoga
Yoga is a great tool to teach kids mindfulness while still being a lot of fun. Cosmic Kids Yoga videos are some of the best out there. A regular yoga practice can teach kids (and adults) to be grateful for the things they have in their lives.
21. Thank you in sign language
Teaching kids to say please, thank you, and sorry is certainly an important part of teaching gratitude. Teaching kids sign language can teach them gratitude while also encouraging acceptance.
22. Compliment circle
This is such a great way to create a kind and inclusive classroom while also teaching students to be grateful for the things that make them and their classmates special. Have kids sit in a circle with their legs out straight and then choose one student to begin by giving a classmate a compliment. Once a student has received a compliment, they sit crisscross applesauce so that others can see who is still left to compliment.
Learn more: Compliment Circles at Paige Bessick: The Interactive Teacher
Gratitude Activities for Kids in Middle School
23. Gratitude wall
Ask kids to think of one simple thing they are thankful for each night. Then, have them write it on a piece of paper or index card to hang on the wall. You can even have them build a wall at home too!
Learn more: Blog Ulliance
24. Gratitude journal
Help kids make gratitude a habit with mindful journaling at the end of every day. They can use these free printables and write about any of the prompts included.
25. Gratitude mobiles
Gratitude activities for middle school should leave room for individuality, like these pretty and unique mobiles. Students will enjoy personalizing them with their favorite charms while also including notes of gratitude.
Learn more: Meri Cherry
26. Roll the Dice gratitude game
This is a fun way for students to express gratitude, and all you’ll need is a printable and some dice!
Learn more: Playful Notes
27. Gratitude letter/email
Encourage your students to draft a letter or email of gratitude. This powerful exercise involves kids personally thanking someone for being in their lives. A handwritten letter might feel more meaningful, but a heartfelt email comes close! Since gratitude activities for middle school can be a little more involved, you may want to set a minimum word count.
28. Clothespin gratitude wreath
We love this fun, collaborative craft since supplies are minimal but the effect is big!
Learn more: Chica and Jo
29. A jar full of thanks
This will work for any age group. Have students use a variety of materials to personalize their jars, then have them write something they are grateful for each day and put it inside their jar.
Learn more: Castle View Academy
30. Gratitude collage/vision board
Students can look through magazines or take their own pictures to create a collage or vision board of things that make them feel thankful.
Learn more: Make a Gratitude Collage at Tondra Denise
31. Thankful nature walk
Encourage students to take a nature walk to appreciate all of the beautiful and amazing things around us that we often take for granted. Take it a step further and have them journal about their experience.
32. Gratitude pumpkin
These adorable pumpkins will be a breeze for older kids to construct. Plus they will look cute on their desks!
Learn more: The Moffatt Girls
33. Gratitude conversation starters
This is the perfect activity for children of all ages since you can cater the conversation starters to the age of the students. This would make for a great activity for students to do with their families around the dinner table as well.
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
34. Watercolor gratitude project
This might just be the prettiest gratitude project on this list. Get your watercolors and Sharpies ready and then have your students get to work.
Learn more: The Arty Teacher
35. Donation bin
Teaching kids the power of giving back can also help them appreciate the things they have. Regardless of whether you are collecting school supplies or taking donations of winter hats and gloves, kids will learn how good it feels to give to those in need.
36. Chore chart
Teaching kids to be grateful also teaches kids not to be entitled. Gratitude activities for middle school can involve them taking on more responsibility both at home and in the classroom. Have them keep a chore chart at home that they return at the end of the month.
37. Gratitude letter to family
Have students reflect on the ways in which they are grateful for their families and then write a letter to them expressing that.
38. Flip complaints into positives
Regardless of your disposition, we all have negative thoughts from time to time. In this social-emotional learning exercise, students write out negative thoughts and then attempt to replace them with more positive ones.
Learn more: Flipping Complaints Into Gratitude at Greater Good in Education