Image credit: Evgeny Atamanenko
Thanksgiving is just around the corner!
Are you looking for some simple activities to keep kids busy (and calm) at the holiday get-together? Family events can be a lot to handle, so every little bit of calm should help. Here’s a simple 2-part exercise to help create a thoughtful and enjoyable day.
Part 1: Body gratitude meditation (ages 4+)
The why: At its core, Thanksgiving is about sincere gratitude and saying thanks. But, have you ever considered saying thanks to your own body and spirit? It’s such a simple idea that we often overlook this. Or, we might think that it’s selfish to do so (but in fact, the opposite is true, because as we become more compassionate and accepting of ourselves, we also become more compassionate and accepting of others.)
The magical thing about gratitude is this: when we’re in a state of gratitude, there’s no room for judgment, criticism, or resentment—basically, there’s no room for any negative muck or anxiety. A sincere state of gratitude fills us with peace and calm. It’s a very healing state to be in.
So here’s the exercise. It’s a variation of a mindful body scan (which centers us and brings calm awareness) with an addition of gratitude (which makes the exercise perfect for Thanksgiving!).
(By the way, you can precede this exercise by reading Thank You, Me to the group. The little book is a meditation in itself and can serve as a nice intro to the body scan meditation.)
Gather all the kids at your get-together (and maybe some grown-ups—they need some peace, too.) If you’re guiding the group, lead them through this exercise:
- Sit in your favorite meditation position. This can be cross-legged, laying down, or just sitting on a chair. (Make sure everyone has enough space.)
- Breathe in and out deeply through the nose. Repeat 3 times.
- Close your eyes and focus your attention on your body. Notice the belly expand as you breathe in and out.
- Focus your attention on your feet. Notice how they feel—cold, warm, etc. Think, “Thank you, Feet, for…” and think about what you’re thankful for. Walking? Dancing? Wearing cool socks?
- Next, move your attention to your knees, then hips, then belly. “Thank you, stomach, for…” (fill in the blank…like “for digesting all of this yummy Thanksgiving food!”)
- Then move your attention to your arms and hands. “Thank you, Hands!”
- Next, pay attention to your face…think about thanking your eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
- After that, focus on your heart. The heart is where all the best “thank you’s” come from. Think about something you’re really thankful for. Think, “Thank you, Heart, for letting me say thank you for…”
- Feel that awesome sense of gratitude and keep thinking about what you’re thankful for. Stay for a few minutes in silence, focusing again on your breath, in and out.
- Open your eyes and look around at the group. Thank each other for doing the meditation together.
After this, everyone will hopefully feel more relaxed, calm, and happy.
Part 2: Coloring a thank you card (ages 4+)
Thanking yourself (body and spirit) is the first part, and now it’s time to thank someone else. Is there someone (or many someones) that are very special in your life? Write them a note to say thanks.
Cards are a fun way to say thanks, and when you color your own card, you’re putting in effort and intention. That makes the card so, so much more special.
For this exercise, you can download these printables (button below), or create your own.
If you download these…
- Print them on 8.5 x 11 standard paper
- Think about that special person you want to thank
- Color the card with them in mind
- Fold the card in half. Cut off the top and bottom on the dotted line
- Write a message on the inside. Say why you’re thankful for them.
- Give it to the special person!
- Yay! Thank you’s all around.
If you enjoy coloring the cards, be sure to share your creations. Tag us on FB or Instagram @thankyoumebook. We’d love to see what you come up with.
Also, the body-gratitude children’s book, Thank You, Me is on a November promotion of 20% OFF when you purchase at the #thankyoumebook shop here.
Don’t forget to use the code THANKSGIVING at checkout to claim your discount.
If you prefer to shop on Amazon, books are on sale there as well, for a limited time price of $12.95.
Wishing you all a very happy and joyful Thanksgiving!