Home Children's Ministry Leaders Articles for Children's Ministry Leaders Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas for Thankful Kids & Families

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas for Thankful Kids & Families

Thanksgiving dinner

At Thanksgiving dinner, many families take time to share what each member is thankful for. But ideas for expressing gratitude during the big meal aren’t always super creative. In fact, they usually begin (and end) like this: “Let’s go around and say one thing we’re each thankful for.” Yes, that’s a great start. But a grateful heart goes so much deeper.

This year, help families explore what it means to be thankful in a fresh way. Plus, with these ideas for Thanksgiving dinner, kids get to take the lead. Let children be in charge of sharing thanks at the family meal! Empowering kids not only lets them practice verbalizing gratitude. It helps them develop leadership skills (even at home!).

Use these fun ideas to put kids in charge of expressing gratitude during Thanksgiving dinner (and beyond).

The Power of Gratitude

Every summer at VBS, we see the power of kids being thankful. For years at our Group VBS field tests, kids each choose a different role in their small group. And one role is devoted entirely to thanking staff throughout the day! Team members’ faces light up when kids say “thanks” at the end of a lesson or game. And children start seeing the impact that an attitude of gratitude can have.

You can incorporate service projects to instill a sense of thankfulness. However, here’s a simple, Thanksgiving-themed way to let kids take charge of giving thanks.

Thankful Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner

  1. Print out these thankfulness “sparks” on colorful paper. Make one copy per child. Let kids cut apart the sentences, color them, and fold each one in half.
  2. Hand out paper coffee cups with lids. Let kids use stickers or crayons to decorate the outside of the cups.
  3. Kids can drop their slips of paper in the cups, snap on the lids, and take them home.
  4. Then, around the table, kids can take turns pulling out a thankfulness spark and asking everyone at the table to join in the feast of gratitude!

You can also email families this link to Spotify for an hour’s worth of free, faith-focused, kid-friendly music. All the songs have a theme of thanksgiving and praise! Or have families check out Group’s buddy book Good, Gooder, Goodest! Thank you God! It’s packed with vibrant illustrations and relationship-reinforcing Bible truths that encourage kids to be thankful for all they have.

Looking for bigger ideas to use at your church? Check out this idea for bringing families together for a Thanksgiving gathering event!

Have fun sparking family discussions filled with gratitude. “Thanks” for empowering kids to lead and engage in faith conversations!

Looking for more Thanksgiving dinner ideas? Check out these articles.

This article about ideas for Thanksgiving dinner originally appeared here.