The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it lots of gift-giving, celebrations, and shopping! With the holiday season also comes a time of reflection as we look back on the year we just experienced. Sure, 2020 hasn’t been the greatest year, as it brought several disappointments, life-style changes, and maybe even loss. This can make it difficult to give thanks and maintain an attitude of gratitude. As parents, it is important to teach children to find gratitude in the simplest of life’s pleasures, as this will help prevent or ease negativity, anxiety, depression, and stress. As the holidays approach, parents can use expressive art activities to integrate a habit of giving thanks.
For example, you can gather some clear ornaments, some construction paper, markers, scissors, and any other fun art supplies you may want. Cut the construction paper into strips, have your children write what they are thankful for on different strips, and put them in the ornament. To top it off, fill the ornament with glitter, sequins, and other festive decorations. Hanging this ornament on the tree will serve as a yearly reminder of all that your family has to be thankful for.
If ornaments aren’t your style, you can use those strips of paper to make a festive garland. Take one strip, and staple the ends together to make a ring, and continue this with the other strips, making a chain. This garland can be hung on a Christmas tree, spread the length of a thanksgiving dinner table, or hung over a doorway. There are so many places where you can hang this beautiful garland of gratitude!
Making a suncatcher is another activity that is sure to amaze! All you need is a sheet of wax paper, crayon shavings, a clothes iron, a towel, a pair of scissors, a hole puncher, and a string. Take the wax paper and lay it flat, sprinkle crayon shavings on half of the wax paper, fold the wax paper in half, place a towel over it, and iron it until all the crayon wax has melted. Now you can cut your colorful creation into a beautiful shape, like a fall leaf, a snowflake, or a heart. Finally, punch a hole in the masterpiece, thread a string through it, and hang it up by the window. During the creation process, as your family sprinkles on their crayon shavings, for each different color that they use, they should say something different that they are thankful for. Now, when you see that beautiful shade of pink shinning in the sun, you’ll remember how grateful you are (perhaps for hot cocoa).
There are so many fun ways that we can reflect on the things in our life that we are grateful for. It can even become a daily habit. Get a magnetic whiteboard for the fridge, and have every family member write what they are grateful for every morning before school/work. Through this daily practice and some fun art activities, you are sure to foster an attitude of gratitude in your kids!