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Thankful Kids: Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

2016-11-17 by Zina Harrington

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Help your children understand and feel gratitude through art. Below you’ll find 10 gratitude-based drawing prompts from our Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington of Let’s Lasso the Moon.

Gratitude: Love

Time and again, studies have shown that cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” can increase one’s hope, happiness, self-esteem, empathy, and optimism.

Phew! That’s a hefty list of benefits for something so EASY to do!

Or is it…?

Gratitude can actually be a tricky concept to explain to young children because it’s a mindset. There’s nothing physical you can point to and say, “Right there… That’s what gratitude is, honey. Do you see it?”

So, how can we as parents teach our young children how to live a thankful lifestyle?

My answer? Help them FEEL the joy of gratitude.

One of the simplest ways to do this—to help them FEEL gratitude deep inside their hearts—is not through words, but through art. Read on for 10 simple drawing prompts that help kids recognize what they’re grateful for right now in their young lives.

But first…

Set Up an “Invitation to Create”

I suggest that you begin by setting up an invitation to create for your child: Simply put out some art supplies and set up an intentional work station for your child to discover. Most children (and adults!) won’t be able to resist participating in a semi-structured art project when you’ve already gathered everything needed to get started. All that’s missing is the artist!

According to Jean Van’t Hul of The Artful Parent:

Invitations to create are OBVIOUS and CLEARLY DEFINED, unlike strewing, which is a more ambiguous and subtle way of encouraging learning and creativity. I encourage you and your kids to experiment with both!”

Gratitude Activity Marker and Eraser

I love using Melissa & Doug’s Picture Frame Pad when setting up an invitation to create. It makes a child’s drawing automatically feel like a masterpiece. I’m also a big fan of Melissa & Doug’s Triangular Crayons and Non-Roll Markers because they stay ON the table!

Gratitude Project Product Collage

However, lately my girls and I have defaulted to using the Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel. What’s great about this easel is its mobility. You can set it up on the dining room table, outside in the backyard, or even on the kitchen floor! It’s sturdy while you work, and when you’re finished, it folds flat for handy storage.

Easy-Storage Easel Design

Get the Full Scoop:

Inspire endless creativity with this double-sided tabletop easel, featuring a magnetic dry-erase board on one side and a chalkboard on the other. The included paper-roll holder with a paper guide and tear-bar accommodates 12-inch paper rolls and adds even more ways to create masterpieces! The deluxe set comes with a dry-erase marker and felt eraser, five colored chalk sticks, a 50-foot-long paper roll, 36 letter and number magnets, and an art supply tray. LEARN MORE

Once you’ve got the basic art supplies set out, you’re ready to move forward.

10 Gratitude Drawing Prompts for Kids

Below you’ll find 10 simple drawing prompts to help your child FEEL the joy of gratitude:

  1. Draw something that makes you happy.
  2. Draw something you couldn’t live without.
  3. Draw someone who helps you.
  4. Draw something that makes you smile.
  5. Draw something you love to do.
  6. Draw something you are thankful for.
  7. Draw someone you love.
  8. Draw something you think is fun.
  9. Draw something that makes you feel good.
  10. Draw something that makes you laugh.

Give your little one the prompt, then let him or her quietly think about it and draw in solitude.

Drawing Reasons for Gratitude

Extension Activity: Talk with your kiddo about what they are thankful for, then use the letter magnets that come with the Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel to spell out words from their drawings together.

Gratitude Project Trio

Here’s where the dynamic nature of the Tabletop Easel is great…

When creating a drawing on either the chalkboard or the dry-erase side, there’s no permanence to it. This allows you to use these 10 drawing prompts with your child over and over again. You might be surprised to see how your child’s answers will change from day to day.

And no matter how bad anyone’s day ever gets, this “invitation to create” reminds us all that…

There is always something to be thankful

In the end, that’s our goal as parents, isn’t it? To teach our kids that there is always something to be thankful for. ALWAYS.

May these drawing prompts help you uncover what those things are in your own children.

In gratitude,

sig

P.S. If you use Melissa & Doug art supplies, share your invitation to create or your kiddo’s gratitude drawing with us on Instagram using the hashtags #CountlessWaysToPlay or #MelissaAndDoug for an opportunity for your pic to potentially be showcased in our photo gallery here on the Melissa & Doug website. We’d love to see what YOUR kids are grateful for!

Pin this idea for later:

Gratitude Project Pin

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Zina Harrington

Zina is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon and Becoming UnBusy, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments. Facebook | Pinterest | Blog | Instagram

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