Eight easy gratitude activities for families

Written by JJ Campbell
Published on November 18, 2022

Thanksgiving – the holiday of gratitude and thankfulness! 

The call to gratitude existed long before the first Thanksgiving meal between pilgrims and Native Americans. And having a grateful heart and a spirit of thanksgiving is a big part of the Christian faith, going all the way back to the Old Testament. 

God knew from the very beginning that when we focus our attention on gratitude and are genuinely thankful for what we have in our lives and through faith in Christ, we can truly live with joy and contentment. 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Living with gratitude and thanksgiving are core tenets at the heart of every believer. 

And during this special time of year, we get to emphasize thankfulness with our families in unique ways, teaching our children what it means to truly be grateful. 

One of the best ways we can celebrate this beautiful holiday and demonstrate gratitude in real time is by purposefully setting time aside for special gratitude-focused activities with our families. 

You can do any of these activities as a family on Thanksgiving Day or the days leading up to Thanksgiving. You could even do these activities while riding in the car if you’re traveling (only a few will need slight modifications).

It doesn’t matter when you do these activities. All that matters is that you make time to come together as a family, have fun, and set your minds and hearts on the buzzwords of the holiday – gratitude and thankfulness. 

Here are 8 easy gratitude-focused activities to do as a family this year:

Before we dive into the specifics, we’ve put together a free gratitude games bundle for you to download. The downloadable PDF includes the instructions for each game, done-for-you options to make these activities as easy as possible, and a bonus game you can only get when you download the bundle.  

Click here to get your gratitude games download bundle.

ABC gratitude 

The ABC game or alphabet game is a tried and true activity that is great for car rides, walking through the grocery store, or working in the kitchen together. Go through the alphabet naming things that you’re grateful for. Repeat the words and letters as you go so by the end of the game you’ve said the entire alphabet with things that you’re grateful for. This is a great group game or can be a fun 2 person game. Whoever is around can play!

Gratitude dice game

Create a list of things to name such as, “Things that make you smile.” Then, use a pair of dice or a random number generator to determine how many things you have to name. For example, if you roll a 5, then everyone would name 5 things that make them smile. 

You can get creative with your kids coming up with the list of things to name, but try to keep it gratitude-focused. I’ve written out a list of prompts in the gratitude games download bundle that you can use to get started!

Family gratitude game

This is a spin on the gratitude dice game. You’ll create a list of things like we did in the dice game, but you’ll have people-focused prompts instead. A great example is, “Name someone who you like to have fun with.” I wouldn’t suggest rolling dice for this one, but if it makes the game more fun for your family, go ahead!  

I’ve written out a list of prompts in the gratitude games download bundle that you can use AND a bonus game variation for this activity. Download here. 

Gratitude spotlight

When you’re around the table for a meal, it can be the actual Thanksgiving meal or just a regular family dinner, everyone gets a chance to be in the spotlight. Everyone around the table will take a turn telling the person in the spotlight how grateful they are for them and highlight something special that they do. 

Gratitude sticky notes

Grab a stack of sticky notes and markers. Have everyone write down things that they’re thankful for. Stick them on a prominent wall in your home. Look at them every time you walk by and feel the gratitude!. 

Funny Thanksgiving-themed drawing game 

Brainstorm a list of Thanksgiving-themed things to draw. When it’s time to play, have everyone sit at the table (you could also do this in the car or at a restaurant). Give a drawing instruction, then after a short time, instruct your kids to switch hands. Go back and forth between drawing with the left hand and the right hand. 

I’m not sure how much gratitude and thankfulness will come from this game, but it’s definitely a funny activity. I’ve written out drawing prompts in the gratitude games download bundle that you can use. Grab it here. 

Fill in the blank thankfulness game 

Create a mad-libs-style list of prompts and have the kids fill in the blank. 

“I am thankful for ______.” “I love it when we _______ as a family.” I’ve written up a list of prompts for you in the download. Feel free to use mine or make yours specific to your family. 

Guess who said it! 

This one will require a little extra effort and a printer, but I promise it’s not a craft! Have everyone write down 5 things they are grateful for. Then, type up the answers in a Word doc and print it out. Cut out each answer, fold them up, and put them in a box or a hat. Everyone can take a turn pulling one of the pieces of paper out of the hat and guessing who wrote that answer. 

Any of these simple games can boost your family time and awareness of the things that you are most grateful for. I hope that you have the best time doing these activities with the most special people — your family!  And don’t forget to grab your copy of the gratitude games bundle here

I hope you have the best Thanksgiving ever! 

Consider a few extra resources:

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JJ Campbell

JJ Campbell is the host of The JJ Campbell Show, a weekly interactive show that helps you have more good times with your family while riding in the car together. These fun activities get everybody talking and laughing and before you know it, strengthening family bonds and making special memories. 

She’s always loved games and gets her best ideas for the show from childhood experiences and playing with her own baby boy, Evan. She says you can make any family experience enjoyable with some creativity and a fun mindset! 

Find her on Instagram @thejjcampbell_ and say hi!

Read more about JJ

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