Gratitude is in the air this month. Everywhere I look, there are ideas for how we can practice being thankful. I wanted to come up with something new, educational, and fun to express gratitude with our kids.
My daughter is in pre-school and everything is about the alphabet right now. She is learning letter recognition and the sounds they make. I decided to create an alphabet gratitude game so she could practice letters and say thank you at the same time. The other day my son, daughter, and I played and it was a huge hit!
How to Play the Game
- I put all the letters in a hat. I used foam letters from a set we have. You can use letter magnets, cards, blocks, or whatever else you have in your playroom. Alternatively, you can create your own letters on index cards or sheets of paper. Even better, add making the letters a step in the process and have your little ones cut them out to practice their scissor skills.
- Each of us took a turn–in age order–picking a letter out of the hat. We first said which letter we got, mainly for my daughter to practice her letter recognition.
- The challenge then was to say something we were thankful for starting with the letter we chose. Sometimes it was so easy to come up with an idea, and other times it really took a few minutes to match a letter to what we were grateful for. Of course, letters like Q, X, and Z were extra tricky.
- I recorded a list of each letter and what we all said. It is interesting to look for patterns from your children. My daughter mentioned food quite a bit: eating ice cream on the beach, going to the ice cream store, hot dogs for dinner, and yogurt squeezers. My son was a bit more sentimental: Daddy, Mommy, his middle name, and having water to drink. They both were quick to mention some of their favorite things in life: my son football and my daughter tutus for dance class.
Overall, this game is a multi-faceted exercise because it helps children organize their thoughts by letter. It is appropriate for all ages–even I felt challenged with some of the letters! It is a wonderful opportunity to have a mindful moment with your children and to really find out what they love. My children truly enjoyed the experience and said they have never played a game like this. They requested to do it again soon. I am thrilled to add this to our family gratitude practice.
Some ways to enhance the game are to set guidelines for what you are thankful for, such as foods, places visited, activities, what they love at school, or hobbies. So in the food game, everyone names a food they are thankful for based on the letter they pick.
Test out the game and let me know how it goes. Can you come up with other creative categories for the game?