Teaching the Habit of Thankfulness to Children – Thankful Hands Activity

thankful-handsThe Habit of Thankfulness

This was such a powerful tool for reinforcing the need for developing the habit of being thankful that I wanted to pass it on.

I had the boys wiggle their fingers while I told them that we can use our hands for good things or bad things and that we can change our bad attitudes into good attitudes by listing ten things we are thankful for – one for each finger. Simply being thankful can impact our entire mood, and thereby our actions.

{Someone shared that little tidbit with me when I was 15 and it’s stuck with me since then! I often count out ten things I am thankful for when I’m most frustrated. It works wonders – I promise!}

Using a permanent marker I wrote out each of the ten things they told me they wanted – one per finger.

Wesley’s included things like food, stuffed animals and water. Judah’s you can see in the above photograph.

This was where I had planned to stop the lesson – and in fact, it worked well with them, they understood and were excited about the idea of using their fingers to count ten things they were thankful for.

But 12 hours later – after a good nights sleep – their words of thankfulness had faded from their hands and were illegible. Disappointed, Judah pointed it out to Paul and I heard Paul explain to Judah that that is the EXACT reason we need to remember and thank God daily for our blessings – because we so easily and quickly forget.

So the thankful hands proved to be an excellent activity for not only teaching them to think about things they are thankful for when they might otherwise have bad attitudes but also the need to continually be thankful because we so easily forget.

This activity of writing out ten things to be thankful for will be happening every Saturday through the month of January while we are focusing on the habit of thankfulness.

See Thankfulness – January’s Habit for more about our monthly focus on the habit of thankfulness.


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