Many families use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to teach children about gratitude. A sense of gratitude, or feeling thankful and appreciative of the good things in one’s life, is an important social-emotional skill that can increase happiness and improve health. In this post, I share a simple nature craft for kids, Gratitude Stones, that can be used to cultivate an attitude of gratitude from an early age.
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From infancy, children are taught to say thank you when a person does something kind for them or gives them a gift. As they grow, kids can be challenged to reflect upon why they feel grateful for the kind act or gift. When I recently asked my 6-year-old to think about why he felt thankful for a new book, he replied, “I am thankful for the book because you didn’t have to buy it for me, but you did. I am thankful for the book and for you! My heart feels happy!”
My heart feels happy! ~ My son, age 6
What an incredible description of the feeling that a sense of gratitude awards! Gratitude does make your heart feel happy, and that is why a single heart is used to embellish the craft shared below.
To make this craft you will need:
Cut out a small tissue paper heart with scissors. Place the heart on the surface of a clean stone. Using a paint brush, lightly spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the tissue paper and top half of the rock. Allow this layer to dry undisturbed. Flip the rock over and spread Mod Podge over the bottom half. Allow this layer to dry undisturbed.
When the rocks are dry, notice how seamless and smooth they feel! The thin tissue paper conforms to every nook and cranny within the rock so that it almost seems a natural part of it!
5 Ways to Use Gratitude Stones
The gratitude stone is a physical reminder to remember your blessings! There are many ways to use them.
1. Family Dinner
Pass a gratitude stone around the dinner table before eating. When holding the stone, you must share something or someone you feel thankful for.
2. Calm Down Strong Feelings
Thinking and talking about the good things in our life can calm down angry or sad feelings. Teach your child how to hold the stone in their hands and list everything they feel thankful for.
3. As a Bedtime Ritual
Pass your child the gratitude stone and ask him, “What was the best part of your day?” Reply with your answer when he passes the stone back to you.
4. Share a Stone
Create extra stones and share them with the people you feel thankful for! Include a little note expressing your gratitude.
5. Spread Joy in Your Community
An attitude of gratitude is contagious! Scatter gratitude stones around your community and neighborhood to spread joy to others. Finding tiny hearts on stones is sure to bring a smile to other people’s faces!
Spreading holiday joy and expressing gratitude makes everyone’s holiday season brighter. How do you teach your children about gratitude?