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30 Simple Thankful Activities for Preschoolers to Learn Gratitude

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Whether you are a preschool teacher looking for thankful activities for preschoolers, or you have young children of your own, we are always trying to teach the littles in our lives how to be better tiny humans.

Being thankful and having gratitude for the blessings in our lives is something that we have to explicitly teach. Increasing social awareness and working on these social-emotional skills can be challenging and you might wonder how to even begin.

Luckily there are so many fun thankful activities for preschoolers that can help them learn how to express gratitude.

When Can I Use Thankful Activities for Preschoolers?

We normally think about the month of November and Thanksgiving Day when we talk about thankfulness, but you can use gratitude activities year-round!

There are so many ideas that you might want to schedule some into your calendar so you can spread them out throughout the year. Several of these would make a wonderful project to give as presents to grandparents, neighbors, teachers, and other important people in your children’s lives.

What Materials Do I Need?

Most of these thankful activities for preschoolers require minimal materials. If your kids craft or create art on a regular basis they probably already have what they need right in your home! Crayons, markers, construction paper, glue, and scissors will be the most used supplies.

Go ahead and clear off a table or counter space and get ready to have an engaging gratitude lesson with your kids!

Thankful Activities for kids

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30 Thankful Activities for Preschoolers (and older kids, too!)

1. The Absolute Best Way to Teach Gratitude:

OK, hear me out! The absolute best way to teach gratitude, and I mean a TRUE attitude of gratitude that comes from within, is to model gratitude, and I mean this in a very specific way. Grateful kids come from grateful parents!

I had this realization a few years ago when I was on vacation with my husband and our four children. We were sitting around the dinner table after an extremely fun day, and I was simply overcome with gratitude.

I had the thought that I didn’t want my children to take these kinds of things for granted. I wanted them to appreciate it and genuinely have a heart of thankfulness. And then it occurred to me, that I was keeping my feelings and thoughts of gratitude inside, instead of sharing them with my family members!

So, I immediately told them how I felt. “You know what kids?” I said. “I am just SO THANKFUL for this time we have together as a family. I want to thank all of you for taking this vacation with me. It’s a lot of work to go on vacation with 6 people, and we all did our part and worked together as a team. So, thank you. I really appreciate this fun time together as a family.”

Here’s another example: Your child’s friend shares their very favorite snack with them at the playground and you whisper “SAY THANK YOU!” Your child says “Thank you!” in a mildly robotic voice. They are learning a few things here. One, is they are learning how to repeat back what you tell them to. They’re learning how to follow directions. They’re learning how to be polite and have good manners.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all valuable, important, and good things!

But your child isn’t learning to be truly thankful that they have a kind friend. They don’t have gratitude for the yummy snack. They’re simply parroting back what you asked them to.

So, instead, lead by example. Show them how to have a grateful heart. You can genuinely thank their friend. “Charlie, that was so thoughtful of you! We are so lucky to have you as a friend. I am so thankful that you are kind enough to share your yummy snack.”

This is something that you can model for your child daily!

OK, and now on to the rest of the easy crafts and fun gratitude activities, which is probably what you came here for in the first place 🙂


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2. This DIY version of a Thanksgiving gratitude tree from Mom Vs the Boys is such a lovely way to encourage kids to think about things to be thankful for. Younger kiddos can even simply draw a picture of things they have gratitude for. I love the idea of each family member putting one item on the thankful tree every day during the month of November and then reading all of them aloud on Thanksgiving Day!

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image Credit: Mom Vs the Boys

3. This thankful activity from the OT Toolbox includes literacy, math, and fine motor skills, so your little one will be learning so much at once! All you need are some pipe cleaners and some pony beads.

Start by reading the book “Bear Says Thanks,” which is a great book for teaching your kids how to have a thankful heart. It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving books! Next, you can use the pipe cleaners to create numbers 1-9 or as high as you want to go. Then help your child put the corresponding number of beads on each pipe cleaner number.

Make it a gratitude activity by having them say something they are grateful for every time they add a bead.

4. The Gratitude Jar from My PreK Box is a simple way to incorporate thankful activities for preschoolers all year long.

Decorate a simple jar with your child or use one you already have around the house. Then each day you can write something you are thankful for together on a slip of paper and plop it in.

The best part of this activity is you can do it as many days as you like! If you or your child are having an especially rough day, you could take a note back out to read together.

Gratitude is such a powerful emotion. Reflecting on things you were grateful for in the past can really help to turn your day around and change your attitude from being annoyed to a more positive emotion.

If you want a ready to go thankful jar kit this kit comes with jars, a kid’s gratitude journal with prompts, and more!

5. Another simple craft from Coffee and Carpool is to write what you are thankful for on a PUMPKIN! Can’t you imagine having it sitting on your table during Thanksgiving dinner? That would be the best centerpiece. It could even be an activity you could do while waiting for everything to finish cooking on that day. I might add this to my own family’s traditions!

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Coffee and Carpool

6. Have you ever heard of gratitude yoga? Neither had I before today! Kids Yoga Stories has a whole set of gratitude yoga poses that are a wonderful way of incorporating movement and breathing practice while focusing on being grateful. Preschoolers are busy little people and slowing down to be more present with some yoga poses is a great practice.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Kids Yoga Stories

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7. Go ahead and break out the construction paper because you are going to want to make these thankful placemats!

Mama’s Happy Hive has gratitude placemats that are perfect to have on your dining room table. One version is the traditional thankful turkey hand prints where you trace your child’s little hands to make the turkey and write what they are thankful for on each finger.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Mama’s Happy Hive

I love the second version even more because it’s more accessible for younger children who can’t write yet. She used a paper plate and pretend utensils and her young kids drew pictures of things they are thankful for on the plate!

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Mama’s Happy Hive

8. If your littles are into superheroes then they will love this sweet read-aloud!

Gratitude is My Superpower” tells the tale of a little girl who has a magic stone that helps her have gratitude towards others. Later in the story she forgets to use her stone and finds out that she has had the gratitude inside her all along.

Reading this story is a great conversation starter to teach your child what gratitude means and how to be thankful.


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9. Gratitude Game: Grab some colored straws or popsicle sticks for this easy gratitude game of pickup sticks.

I got some colored craft sticks from Walmart and quickly sketched this little chart. Each color represents a category of things to be thankful for: we did red = person, green = place, blue = thing, orange = food, purple = anything you choose.

We are passing the jar around the table during dinner for the month of November and it’s been very precious. Some of the things the kids have mentioned they’re thankful for are a yellow snack bowl (this was the three-year-old haha), hospitals for sick kids, their school and teachers, mommy cooking dinner, and bacon cheeseburgers.

10. I’m always a fan of reading books more than once. It teaches kids that you can keep rereading books that you enjoy and that you can usually find new things to learn or enjoy each time.

Books and Giggles has a post with even more gratitude crafts that go along with the book “Bear Says Thanks.”

To make this simple bear pawprint craft, simply cut 1 oval and 4 circles out of brown construction paper and glue them onto a piece of white construction paper to make the shape of a pawprint.

Then, print out the free food printouts (found here!) and glue them onto the 4 circles. You can also glue plain white circles onto the brown circles and your child can draw their own pictures of food.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Books and Giggles

11. The gratitude paper chain from Carla Schauer Studio is one of those thankful activities for preschoolers that would also work for older children. She has printable strips on the site with a sentence starter “I am thankful for” and all you have to do is finish the sentence and tape or staple the strip into a circle. Build your paper chain and display it around your house!

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Carla Schauer Studio

12. Feeding the turkey is a fun fine motor activity from Busy Toddler that you could easily turn into a thankful activity. I love all of Busy Toddler’s activities, because they are always fun activities, and are quick and easy to set up.

For the Feeding the Turkey activity, she put googly eyes and construction paper feathers on a bottle to make a turkey. This was then placed into a bin with pom poms and her kiddos used tongs to feed the pom poms to the turkey.

This is one of those preschool Thanksgiving activities that can be done in many different ways. You can give this to your child for independent play, or you can make this a gratitude activity by having your children say something they are grateful for every time they feed the turkey.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo Credit: Busy Toddler

13. This is more of a preschool Thanksgiving theme than just a thankful activity, but the Meaningful Mama has the cutest thankful turkey craft for your littles. Paint their feet and then follow some simple instructions to create these feathers that look like stained glass. You’re going to want to make these for all the grandparents.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: Meaningful Mama

14. While we’re on the turkey theme, Toddler Approved has an adorable turkey sensory bin using play dough and feathers that is so fun for the Thanksgiving season! If you haven’t used sensory bins yet you have to try one. Your littles will love playing and you’ll love that they’re working on their fine motor skills and you might get to drink your coffee while it’s hot…well at least lukewarm.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: Toddler Approved

15. Simple Living Mama shared some of her favorite books about being thankful. One of my personal favorites from her list is “Being Thankful” by Mercer Mayer. Children are always entertained by Little Critter and you’ll love the lesson. Little Critter keeps getting upset about what he does not have and has to learn how to be thankful for the things he does have in his life. This is a big lesson for preschoolers (or anybody for that matter!), and this book is a great segue into that conversation that will be had multiple times.

16. Rock painting is such a fun way to express gratitude! Gratitude stones from Fireflies and Mudpies is a beautiful activity that will help create a grateful child. This activity requires a few extra materials such as stones, tissue paper, and Mod Podge, but the end result is a cute little rock with a tissue paper heart on it. She has several suggestions for how to use them such as passing around at the dinner table or giving them as a gift to others.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Fireflies and Mudpies

17. If you’ve been waiting for a printable craft for one of these thankful activities for preschoolers then grab this cornucopia craft from Kids Activities. As your preschoolers color, cut, and glue you can discuss how we can be grateful for the basic needs that we have met such as food, clothing, and shelter. You can go deeper into this conversation with older kids and even move towards donating to those less fortunate if you wish.


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18. This turkey activity from Fun Learning for Kids is an engaging way for children to practice those fine motor skills. Grab a small box (maybe from one of your Amazon orders), punch a few holes in the top, and stick some craft feathers in. You can decorate the front to make it look like a turkey or let your child do that. They will love trying to put the feathers back in and out of the top!

19. Musical instruments are always a hit and these corn shakers from Pre-K Pages are an easy way to include that. Simply place some popcorn kernels in a small water bottle and hot glue the bottle shut. Your littles will love shaking them around to some thankful songs or as a movement break from another activity.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Fun Learning for Kids

19. Kids of all ages love musical instruments and these corn shakers from Pre-K Pages are so much fun! Simply place some popcorn kernels in a small water bottle and hot glue the bottle shut. Your littles will love shaking them around to some thankful songs or as a movement break from another activity.

You can even make up your own thankful song, such as “If you’re thankful for your family clap your hands!” (Sung to the tune of If You’re happy and You Know It).

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Pre-K Pages

20. You can’t have a list of thankful activities for preschoolers without including some simple thank-you cards. Sending thank-you cards is such an important skill to teach!

These cards from Just Measuring Up are easy yet cute and could be differentiated depending on whether you have toddlers or older siblings who also want to make one. There are many different versions of cards to make, so be sure to check it out.

21. One thing my kids are always thankful for is water play!! This Thanksgiving-themed sensory bin from Fantastic Fun and Learning definitely fits that bill. Grab your bin, fill it up with water, and drop in some fun pumpkins or other fall materials you have around the house. Your preschoolers will adore playing in this thankful sensory soup!

Photo credit: Fantastic Fun and Learning

22. This 3-Minute Gratitude Journal is a simple way to incorporate gratitude into your daily schedule and make it a habit with your kids. It’s filled with prompts to guide you and gives plenty of space for your child to write the 3 things they’re thankful for each day. This would also work really well as a family gratitude journal, where you take turns writing.

23. If you need a snack to coordinate with all your thankful activities for preschoolers then check out this cute turkey one from The Idea Room. She made an adorable turkey out of a sandwich, some apple slices, and carrot slices. They’re almost too cute to eat.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: The Idea Room

24. Break out the paint, scissors, and paper to make a cute stamped garland of thanks like Mama Papa Bubba. Cut out giant leaves out of paper and have your child stamp them with foam paint brushes or whatever you have on hand. Then use a marker to write what they are thankful for on each leaf. This would be a cute decoration for your mantle for Thanksgiving Day!

Photo credit: Mama Papa Bubba

25. This cardboard Thankful Turkey craft from a Dab of Glue Will Do is a fun Thanksgiving craft that’s sure to teach your kids how to be thankful.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: A Dab of Glue Will Do

26. Grab a jar and some colored popsicle sticks for the 5 Senses Gratitude Activity from The Littles and Me. Print the included template and pass the jar around to your family members. This is an interesting way to incorporate the five senses into your thankful lessons.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: The Littles and Me

27. Preschool Plan It has several turkey crafts that are adorable if you have a few extra materials. The pine cone turkey is probably the most unique. Grab some googly eyes, a pine cone, scissors, glue, and colored paper. Help your child attach the eyes to the pine cone. Cut out some colored feathers and after gluing them on…you have a turkey! You could make this more of a thankful turkey craft by writing what they are thankful for on the feathers.

28. Ready to play the Hot Potato Grateful Game? We Have Kids shares that they pass the potato around during the music and whoever has it when the music stops has to share something they are thankful for. This is an easy way to make this popular game have a thankful twist.

29. Gratitude Guess Who from Put the Kettle On is where everyone writes what they are thankful for on slips and then puts them in a jar. The jar is passed around and the slips are pulled out. Who wrote that grateful message? Preschool students can help guess and can dictate to an adult who will keep their message a secret during the game!

30. This simple thankful hands craft from Mama Smiles is a perfect thankful activity for toddlers or preschoolers. Trace your kiddo’s hands and then help them write or have them draw a picture of what they’re thankful for.

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: Mama Smiles

31. The I Am Thankful Sunflower Craft from Homeschool Preschool is a bright and beautiful thankful craft. You can even have your child fill out one flower petal per day leading up to Thanksgiving.


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thankful activities for kids
Photo credit: Homeschool Preschool

32. Thankful Turkeys from The Joys of Boys is a cute pinecone turkey craft that uses feathers, construction paper, and googly eyes! It would be super fun to go on a nature walk and collect pinecones to use for this craft.

thankful activities for toddlers
Photo credit: The Joys of Boys

33. This Gratitude Tree Printout is a different way to make a thankful tree! This is a good way to make a gratitude tree if you don’t have the space to display a tree. Get the printable from Fireflies and Mudpies!

thankful activities for preschoolers
Image credit: Fireflies and Mudpies

34. My kids love making paper chains and This Gratitude Chain from The Joys of Boys is a simple and fun Thanksgiving activity! My kids are going to display theirs in their bedrooms this year!

thankful activities for preschoolers
Photo credit: The Joys of Boys

35. Another Thankfulness Tree from Meaningful Mama, this one uses branches from your yard and paper leaves.

thankfulness tree
Photo credit: Meaningful Mama

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Our Favorite Fall and Thanksgiving Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Adorable Photo Ideas for Toddlers

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