Creating a Gratitude Jar Share Your Attitude of Gratitude!

What’s an attitude of gratitude, you ask? It’s the consistent expression of thanks for all of the good in your life, and the benefits are endless! From improving mental and physical health, to getting a better night’s sleep,to maintaining lasting friendships, making gratitude a part of your everyday routine can truly change your life for the better.Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach your children about the power of thankfulness, and a gratitude jar is an easy, visual way to get started. Follow these four steps and instill an attitude of gratitude in your family today!

CreativeFamily Thankful JarImage courtesy of

Step 1—Gather your physical materials
You’ll need a large, clean jar (Mason-sized is perfect) for each member of your family, a pretty ribbon for each jar, a pad of paper, and a pair of scissors. Tie the ribbon around the jars as a reminder that you are fully “tied” (committed) to an attitude of gratitude.

Step 2—Gather your family
Whether first thing in the morning, just after dinner, or right before bed, expressing gratitude together and making the expression of gratitude a part of your entire family’s daily routine will help the practice stick.

Step 3—Gather your mental materials
Each family member should spend just a moment thinking about three things they’re grateful for each day. Those things could be as basicas a roof over your heads, enough food on the table, or a steady job to pay the bills. Or they could be specific, like a special outing with Mom, a really great soccer practice, or feeling healthy again after a cold. Each family member writes each of these items on individual slips of paper, folds the paper in half, and drops them into their jars.

Step 4—Look to the jar
When things are going well, look to the jars! See how full they are of wonderful things and feel thankful for all that you have! When times are tough, pull a few slips of paper out of the jars and read them to remind yourselves of how much you have to be grateful for, what wonderful things you have in your life, and all of the gifts that you’re given each and every day.

Thankful JarImage courtesy of

Have you tried teaching your children gratitude? Share what’s worked for you and how it’s benefited your kids in the comments below!




15 Fun, Family-Friendly Activities To Add More Meaning to Thanksgiving

Kids Help on Thanksgiving

Between cooking and cleaning, airport pick-ups, and last-minute runs to the store, kids can get lost in the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving Day! Since Thanksgiving is meant to celebrate family, friends, and all of the other people and things we’re grateful for, we’ve pulled together some fun ways to involve kids in Thanksgiving prep! This Thanksgiving, let your kids:

Help in the Kitchen!

Holiday cooking can be more fun with kids! Pull a chair to the sink or counter and let your kids help prepare your Thanksgiving Day feast. Depending on their age, kids can:

  • Wash fruits and veggies in a colander
  • Snap the ends off of green beans
  • Peel potatoes and carrots
  • Mash potatoes
  • Roll out pie crust

Kids Helping


Add a home-made touch to your turkey table with crafts your kids create. Set up a craft station (away from the kitchen!) and check out these Thanksgiving crafts for kids to make:

  • Glitter leaves table runner—Send the kids out to collect fall leaves of all sizes. Brush one side of a leaf with Elmer’s glue and place it, glue side down, in a tray of glitter. Glue the leaves, glitter-side-up, to a festive, fall-colored ribbon and snake it across your Thanksgiving table.
  • Turkey place cards—Kids trace their hands on construction paper and decorate them like turkeys with markers, glue-on feathers, and googly eyes. Cut them out,write the name of someone attending your Thanksgiving meal in the center, and you’ve got the perfect place cards!
  • Paper bag Pilgrims centerpiece—Provide paper lunch bags, construction paper shapes (rectangles, squares, circles, triangles), glue, and markers—and let your kids decorate their bags like Pilgrims! (Don’t forget the ubiquitous cockel hat!)


Set the Table!

While placing your best china may be a bit TOO MUCH responsibility, kids can:

  • Put napkins in napkin rings and set them on the table.
  • Place silverware with the help of this simple rhyme: The fork’s all alone on the left side of the plate. The knife stops the spoon from meeting his date!
  • Place glasses and bread plates. Have your kids make the “okay” sign with both hands and show them that the left hand makes the letter “b”, so the bread plate sits to the left of the dinner plate; the right hand makes the letter “d”, so that’s where the drinks go!


Entertain Younger Kids!

Older kids crave responsibility—putting them in charge of your younger guests is a great way to make everyone happy. Set up a play area and let your big kids:


Do your kids have any special jobs on Thanksgiving Day? Let us know in the comments below!





Outdoor Fall Activities To Add More Meaning to Thanksgiving

Together Time

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, a time to celebrate family, and all of the important people we’re so grateful to have in our lives. But with all of the hustle and bustle of out-of-town guests, meal planning, and more, Thanksgiving can get a bit busy! So before things get too crazy, set some time aside to head outside and be with your family, creating a new holiday tradition or doing something new and meaningful that brings you closer together. Choose one (or all!) of the Thanksgiving tradition ideas below and join us in celebrating family this month! (And, if it’s too cold for outdoor fun where you live, check out our great, family-friendly, INDOOR, fall activities here.)

  1. Try a Cell Phone Scavenger Hunt—Slip a bit of science into your family time with an outdoor cell phone scavenger hunt. Create a list of natural objects and animals—like pine cones, squirrels, and birds’ nests (you could even sneak in a scarecrow or other surprises!)—then head into the crisp, cool weather armed with your phones! Search for the things on your list—together—snapping photos as you find them.
  1. Get Moving with a Turkey Trot—Speaking of the great outdoors, try a local Turkey Trot! Many cities host a Thanksgiving-day 5K run and walk—take it on as a family and kick off the big day with a bit of exercise!
  1. Ready, Set, Hike—Hit the park, split into two teams, and try a game of touch football—or tag if your kids are younger!
  1. Build a Bonfire—Before it gets dark, take a walk, together, to gather tinder (moss, bark, pine needles), kindling (twigs, small branches), and stones (you’ll probably need to come prepared with logs or larger pieces of wood). At twilight, dig a dirt fire “pit” and surround it with a circle of stones. Place your kindling down first and top it with tinder. Build a teepee out of your larger pieces of wood and ignite the tinder. Sit back, tell stories, roast s’mores, and enjoy the nighttime sky (an easy-to-use telescope, like the GeoSafari® Vega 360, makes stargazing super amazing!).
  1. Do a Good Deed—Speaking of neighbors, why not spend an afternoon helping an elderly neighbor? They’ll likely be as grateful for the company as they are for the help. Offer to rake leaves or sweep walkways and enjoy doing the deed as a family.
  1. Go Fly a Kite—Take advantage of a windy fall day to hit the park and fly a kite! Bring a blanket and some sweet apple cider and enjoy a bit of together time afterward.
  1. Think Like a Farmer—Spend some time walking your local farmer’s market, or if it’s too cold outside, hit the produce section of your grocery store! Let each family member pick out a fruit or vegetable they’ve never tried – take them home and research recipes, together – then enjoy your bountiful feast as a family.
  1. Pack It In at the Petting Zoo—Everyone loves a petting zoo! Gather the troops and head off for some soft and furry family fun at your local farm or petting zoo. Bring the camera to capture those sweet and snuggly family memories.

Fun, Family-Friendly, Indoor Activities To Add More Meaning to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families. With fall comes cooler weather, which means more time inside, together! If the weather outside is frightful, hunker down and have some good old fashioned fun with your family using this list of our favorite indoor activities designed to get your family laughing, loving, and sharing, together. So next time you’re stuck inside, join us in celebrating family and give one of these activities a go!

  1. Write Thanksgiving Thank You’s—On small slips of paper, note the names of everyone who will be sharing your Thanksgiving meal. Sit your family down and have everyone draw a name out of a hat. Using markers, crayons, colored pencils, and stickers, have each person write and decorate a note to the name they drew, thanking them for being a part of their life. Pass the notes out on Thanksgiving Day and watch the smiles spread.
  2. Give Outgrown Goods a Second Life—Encourage each member of your family to clean out their drawers, closets, and toy chests, tossing the junk and separating items that are in good shape. When weather permits, visit a local family shelter—together—to make your donation; then stop somewhere quiet for a cup of cocoa and a conversation about gratitude.
  3. Give Game Night a Go—Surprise your family with a drop-everything-and-play game night. Collect everyone’s electronic devices and put them in another room; then, let each family member choose their favorite board or card game. Even preschoolers can get in on the action, with games like Shelby’s Snack Shack and BBQ Blitz!. Light a fire, if you’ve got one, set some snacks out, and just enjoy being together.
  4. Climb the Family Tree—Gather the gang together and start drafting your very own family tree, going as far back as you’re able. Share a story or two about each family member, and ask your kids to tell you what they can remember about each of the family members they’ve met. Take things a step further with younger ones, and take turns sharing fun and fanciful stories about your great-great-great-great-greats that you make up on the fly.
  5. Bake & Share—Make something sweet to share with your neighbors! We love the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe below – deliver them while they’re hot!
     Bake and share

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe
    1 ½ cups white wheat flour
    ½ cup sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
    4 tablespoons butter, cold
    ½ tsp salt
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    ½ cup half-and-half or whole milk
    1 egg
    1 ½ tsp vanilla
    ½ cup chocolate chips

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 and grease your muffin tin.
    2. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice mix to a food processor (or mix in a bowl).
    3. Cut putter into a few pieces and add to flower mixture. Pulse (or cut with a pastry knife) until the butter is pea-sized or smaller.
    4. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, half-and-half, egg, and vanilla.
    5. Mix the pumpkin mixture and the flour mixture, folding until it’s just combined. Add chocolate chips and fold.
    6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin, filling each about half full and sprinkling a bit of sugar on top.
    7. Back 25 minutes and cool for 10.


  6. Rub It In—Start a collection of fall leaves – when you’ve got enough for everyone, set out the fall-colored crayons and paper and try some leaf rubbings! When you’re done rubbing, press your favorite leaves between wax paper with a warm iron. Cut out the pressed leaves and the rubbings and staple them, pennant-style, to a long string for a fun, homemade, fall decoration!
     Rub Leaf Activity

What’s your favorite fall family tradition? Let us know in the comments below!