Teachers have big hearts. It’s quite possibly one of the biggest reasons people find themselves drawn to the teaching profession. By supporting our students through their schooling, we can have an immense impact on their life outcomes – academically, socially, and emotionally. Finding ways to support your student’s wellbeing and teach them the kinds of life skills that will benefit them through their entire life is becoming a more visible part of classroom practice. And, we want to help by providing you with simple ways to help increase student wellbeing! The practice of gratitude is an important part of building resilience, increasing mindfulness and helping to develop a growth mindset. So, we’ve created a brand new Gratitude Resource Pack that includes the most simple, but effective gratitude activities for kids.
What is Gratitude and Why Teach it?
Gratitude is the act of giving conscious thanks for all that we have, and all that we don’t! It’s more than just a “thanks”, gratitude is a mindset that chooses positivity over negativity.
“…Research suggests that grateful young adolescents (ages 11-13), compared to their less grateful counterparts, are happier and more optimistic, have better social support, are more satisfied with their school, family, community, friends, and themselves, and give more emotional support to others.” (Froh and Bono, 2014)
It’s easy to see why making each day for your students to engage in gratitude activities is so worthwhile.
We’d suggest allocating 5 minutes at a routine time, perhaps first thing in the morning, perhaps after lunch, or the last 5 minutes of the day, and alternating gratitude, kindness, and mindfulness activities.
One of the most important parts of teaching kids about gratitude is modeling it ourselves. By increasing our own awareness of how we present our feelings throughout the day, we can help our students learn to have a gratitude mindset as their default.
That’s not to say that when the projector suddenly stops connecting with your laptop that you shouldn’t express some frustration (it’s equally important to model how to cope with challenging emotions, too). However, you can make a conscious effort to express gratitude through words, writing, and acts of reciprocity. These seemingly small things don’t go unnoticed by the little sponges in your classroom!
These gratitude activities can be used as a part of your class’ daily gratitude practice, or as stand-alone activities.
Make a Gratitude Tree
A wonderful way to expose your students to a daily gratitude reminder is to create a gratitude tree. It’s a simple and beautiful concept. Students take a leaf-shaped piece of paper and write on it something they are grateful for. Then they add their leaf to the class gratitude tree!
We created one using crepe paper for the tree trunk and grass, and then our Gratitude Tree Leaves Template for the leaves.
Another great alternative to a wall display is to find a tree branch to stand up in a pot and get students to hang their leaves from the branches.
Printable Kids Gratitude Journal
Rather than create printable gratitude journal pages, we’ve designed some beautiful gratitude resources that you and your students can use to set up a gratitude journal in any type of notebook. Use the Gratitude Journal Notebook Cover and the Gratitude Journal Poem to ‘create’ a gratitude journal. Then, the Gratitude Journal Writing Prompt Cards as a prompt for daily journaling.
The Gratitude Writing Prompt Cards contain 50 different prompts for students to respond to.
A Gratitude Poem for Kids
This original, printable gratitude poem was written with kids in mind! Sometimes, we need a simple way to both teach and remind kids about what gratitude is. This poem can be stuck into the front of their gratitude journals as an easy way to remember what gratitude is all about.
Create a Gratitude Jar
A gratitude jar is one of my favorite gratitude activities for kids! The idea, again, is a simple one. Download and print the Gratitude Jar Cut and Assemble Kit and use the printable labels to create a gratitude jar. Students write on the slips something they are grateful for and put it into the jar.
At the end of a decided period of time, maybe a week, a month, or even a 9-weeks or semester, you can read these out as a class as a beautiful reflection!
The Gratitude Jar Cut and Assemble Kit that we’ve created also include two beautiful gratitude quotes that are perfect to display in a photo frame beside your gratitude jar and slips.
Gratitude Writing Prompt Sheets
This resource contains five nature-inspired gratitude writing prompts. Each page has a different picture and a simple prompt for students to respond to.
There is no right or wrong way to use this resource. Students can write words, phrases, or whole sentences. They can write on the picture, or in the space around it. They can color it in, or not! How you use this gratitude writing prompt depends on what kind of writing you’d like your students to complete, or simply what they feel inspired to do!
Gratitude Quote Posters
We should never underestimate the impact of a poster that sits unassumingly on our classroom walls. As our students look around the room seeking a little brain break, their eyes fall upon displays. These little messages, read again and again, can turn from a fleeting thought into knowledge.
These two simple gratitude quote posters make a wonderful addition to your classroom decor.
- “Gratitude Turns What We Have Into Enough” Quote Poster
- “Start Each Day With a Grateful Heart” Quote Poster
Gratitude activities for kids might just seem like another thing to add to the list, however, it can be such a simple practice to set up and include in your daily classroom routine.
These gratitude activities work beautifully with our collections of kindness and mindfulness activities, too. So, why not try taking 5 minutes after lunch each day for your students to engage in a kindness, mindfulness, or a gratitude activity? The benefits will far outweigh the ‘loss’ of that little bit of time.