As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, it's the perfect time to teach kids about the power of giving. The holiday season can be so much about the "gimme" mindset that it's easy for tots to forget about having an attitude of gratitude. These 10 ideas will help little ones learn about how they can make a difference, even at such a young age.
Create curriculum about giving and gratitude: The first step is to plan a lesson that focuses on what it means to give back. Preschoolers have heard these words but may not fully understand them. What do they mean? How do people do this? Why? Who in the classroom has volunteered before? Plan a lesson to help kids learn and set the stage for comprehension during other giving-back activities.
Food drive: This is the ideal time of year to host a school-wide food drive. Set a goal and see if you can reach it. It could be number of items, weight of food or amount of meals. When you reach that goal, celebrate with an ice cream party or extra recess time. Remember to post your accomplishment on social media!
100 acts of kindness challenge: Download this 100 Acts of Kindness poster to hang up in each classroom to inspire children. Check off each one as it's completed and see how many you can get done by the end of the year. Or, get a large jar and add a small ball or craft puff every time a child completes a kindness task. When the jar is full, celebrate with a class kindness party!
Make cards to give away: Ready your craft supplies and prepare for a fun activity when you make cards for the local hospital or nursing home. Kids adore creating and it brings special meaning to them when they can give their creations to others. Talk about why it's important to care, even when helping out a stranger.
Candy collection for troops: Your class can brighten the day of military men and women overseas by starting a candy collection for the troops. Check out www.operationgratitude.com for more information. Your preschoolers can collect their excess Halloween candy, plus go shopping for a few extras and bring them to class to make a group donation.
Volunteer as a class: Volunteering is the ultimate way to give back; however, you must be selective in your activity to ensure it's appropriate for preschool ages. For example, plan a trip to the local park where everyone picks up trash throughout the grounds. After your bag is full and the park is clean, play for a bit as a reward for all of the hard work.
Host a coat drive: For kids, a winter coat is essential to keep the cold out. Talk to students about how some people can't afford a new coat every year, so this year the class is going to collect new and gently used coats for families in need. Work with a local charity that collects coats and see how many you can donate through your drive.
Craft gifts for parents: Mom and Dad are the most special people in a preschooler's life. Talk about the importance of caregivers and then make a special craft that students can gift to loved ones. Thanksgiving crafts for kids that convey gratitude are particularly applicable and help underscore the value of giving versus getting.
Sponsor a family: During the holiday season many organizations allow you to sponsor a family in need. This can be a great class project where everyone can participate to ensure another family has a happy holiday. It might be collecting food for Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. It might be holiday gifts for children who might not otherwise receive any.
Pay it forward: Teach preschoolers that adopting an attitude of gratitude isn't all about big gestures; many times it's the small acts of kindness that mean the most. Compliment someone who looks upset. Offer to help pick up a mess even if you didn't make it. The best way to teach this is to live it, so always be a role model in the classroom.
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, it's the perfect time to teach kids about the power of giving. These 10 ideas will help little ones learn about how they can make a difference, even at such a young age.