Thanksgiving Prayers and Other Expressions of Gratitude For Children
There are many ways to express gratitude at Thanksgiving. One tradition is to say grace before the meal. Customs range from simply reciting the things for which we are thankful, to more structured religious prayers. Here is a selection of different types of Thanksgiving prayers suitable for children.
Heartland Meadows lists a nice collection of religious prayers and Psalms specific to Thanksgiving.
Bella online has a few short mealtime grace prayers that can be used all throughout the year.
Annie's Thanksgiving Grace Page offers a few simple prayers and some sage (sorry - couldn't help myself!) advice. She says to remember that the ... best grace is often the one that comes right from the heart... ... don't be afraid to pray without a memorized prayer or grace.
For parents who want to go deeper into the biblical foundation for giving thanks, Thunder Queen provides a thorough scriptural study guide for Thanksgiving.
Kids love to learn about children from different cultures. Because Thanksgiving in America is focused on the story of pilgrims and Indians, why not teach kids about how early American Indians may have given thanks.
I found this nice prayer, supposedly Iroquois from the 1800's, on a nice site that lists many prayers of thanks from several different cultures and faiths. It might be something to read to children and discuss. You could even have them come up with things to ‘return thanks' to and their reasons.
We return thanks to our mother, the earth, with sustains us. We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with water. We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases. We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and squash, which give us life. We return thanks to the bushes and trees, which provide us with fruit. We return thanks to the wind, which, moving the air, has banished diseases. We return thanks to the moon and the stars, which have given us their light when the sun was gone. We return thanks to our grandfather He-no, that he has protected his grandchildren from witches and reptiles, and has given to us his rain. We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye. Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children.
Here is another, much shorter, Indian prayer from Holistic Online.
Gratitude transcends all faiths. It's a value for all of us. Whether or not you practice a religion, giving thanks is healthy in so many ways. Help kids practice thanksgiving at the holiday and all year long.
- Here's a neat craft/prayer that kids can take to the table to help express thanks. When kids initiate the expression of gratitude, adults will likely chime in too!
- Check out the super easy Thanksgiving Crafts at Oriental Trading and get kids talking about all they are thankful for while their hand are busy!
- Here's a super cute song for little ones:
Let's Be Thankful (To the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
Let's be thankful for this day
Four our friends and our play
Let's be thankful; let's be glad
For our food and the things we have
Let's give thanks for you and me
And our home and family.
More Thanksgiving Fun:
Find more Thanksgiving songs set to familiar tunes at Perpetual Preschool.