SummaryGratitude needs the habit of observation and awareness of God’s gifts. This simple craft for children makes developing that habit so much fun.
The Thanksgiving holiday (in the U.S., November 24th), followed so quickly by the Advent season, gives us a perfect opportunity to help our children reflect on gratitude.
In 2021 Harvard Medical School published results from a study on gratitude by two psychologists. The participants were asked to write a few sentences weekly on specific topics.
The Harvard Study on Gratitude
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had happened during the week, the second wrote about things that irritated or upset them during the week, and the third just wrote about the events that had affected them with no comment on whether it was positive or negative.
After ten weeks, guess which group was happier with their lives? The gratitude reflecting group was not only happier, but they were also healthier, having fewer ailments and doctor visits.
The results are hardly big news (nor is it the first study indicating grateful people are happier); however, it is worth noting because as the world becomes more divisive and intrusive, it becomes harder to feel gratitude. The nonstop (bad) news cycle robs us of our peace by never showing the goodness around us.
Learning to Observe is Essential
Saint Paul wrote to the Colossians, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Col 2:6-7
Gratitude requires the habit of observation, to be aware of what God has given.
Having children keep a log or journal of things they are grateful for helps them focus and develop this habit of observation.
I have said many times, “thoughtful people write down their thoughts,” and this act of writing helps us to be thoughtful.
A quick crafty journal that children can personalize will make the whole experience more enjoyable.
- 3-5 brown paper lunch bags
- Glue stick
- Hole punch
- Yarn/twine/ribbon (about a 12-inch length should be enough)
- White paper
- Optional – stickers, pretty papers, photos
Lay your bags horizontally on top of each other and fold them in half.
Punch three holes on each side of the fold, starting about an inch from the edge.
Cut your yarn into three equal lengths and thread one length through each pair of holes horizontally and tie. Snip any long ends.
Fold your journal in half, and using it as a guide, cut out a piece of white paper to glue on as a cover. You can glue more white squares on the pages, use scrapbook paper, or write on brown paper.
Use whatever you like to decorate your journal.
Each day, write something for which you are grateful. For young children, it might be fun to glue a photo of something to get them started, for example, a picture of grandma or your swing set.
Make a few journals as gifts for the family. I think your gifts will be treasured!
You may be interested in these Mom-written articles on Gratitude…