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Thanksgiving Prayers and Other Expressions of Gratitude For Children

Updated on October 16, 2008
Photo Credit:  Wired Zune
Photo Credit: Wired Zune

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.

Christian Prayers

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.

Indian Prayers

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:

Kid-Friendly Vegetable Recipes for Thanksgiving

Keep Kids Entertained on Thanksgiving Day

Best Thanksgiving Books For Kids

Find more Thanksgiving songs set to familiar tunes at Perpetual Preschool.


Submit a Comment

  • Seafarer Mama profile image

    Karen A Szklany 6 years ago from New England

    Hi Lela,

    I just came across this hub while I was looking for links to the hub I just wrote. I love the diversity of prayer experience you promote in this hub. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Papa Sez profile image

    Papa Sez 8 years ago from The Philippines to Canada

    Hi Lela,

    Our family has a nightly gratitude ritual we do after dinner. You might want to take a peek Please let me know what you think.

    I love that you gave everyone resource...from prayers to non-religious expressions of thanks, which are very good ones.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  • shazz01109 profile image

    shazz01109 8 years ago from Western Massachusetts

    I really enjoyed this article, and love the resources. I know the article was written some time ago, but I just recently came across it. Hope all is well:)

  • profile image

    KK 8 years ago

    Very nice and useful prayers, THANKYOU!

  • AndyBaker profile image

    AndyBaker 8 years ago from UK

    Great hub - have made a note of it.

  • profile image

    vanessa 9 years ago

    I love your prayers add more nicer ones pleacxe.

  • Mr Nice profile image

    Mr Nice 10 years ago from North America

    Nice hub, well written. Very interesting.

  • dc64 profile image

    dc64 10 years ago

    Nice page for the coming holidays. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Debra

  • Robin profile image

    Robin Edmondson 10 years ago from San Francisco

    Great hub, Lela. Teaching children about gratitude is so important...all year round.

    Our daughter says and signs a wonderful grace at her preschool: Thank you precious Earth for this beautiful food that will nourish our bodies and help us grow. May people all over the world, and all living things, have good food to eat, a home to live in, and many reasons to be happy...namaste. I think it's very sweet.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    GREAT HUB Lela!! Wow!! It is just filled with wonderful expressions of gratitude!! Thank you so much for compiling them!! Actually, every year on Thanksgiving I help at a local church and we feel about 200 homeless!! These will be perfect!! Thank you soooooooooooooo much!! Blessings to you and yours!! Earth Angel!!