Most would agree that gratitude is vital habit of a happy, faith-filled home. In our house, we certainly believe this is true. Thus began the first of our kitchen “bulletin boards” several Novembers ago.
At the time, my oldest son had begun to show an increased interest in coloring everything in sight – including the kitchen walls. Instead of letting frustration overcome me, I decided to shape my son’s coloring interest into a lesson in gratitude.
I made a paper bag cornucopia and printed out a stack of fruit and vegetables pictures from various sources online. I then wrote, “We thank God for…” on the cornucopia, and each day, my children colored a fruit or veggie picture to post on it.
On the colored pieces, my husband or I helped the children write something that they said they were grateful for, or we simply wrote whatever word rolled off the kids’ tongues just before mealtime. We cut these out and up they went.
The art-in-progress which developed served as a sort of a Thanksgiving countdown calendar. It also served as a wonderful alternative for actually coloring on the walls, at least momentarily. (My daughter later passed through the same stage and my youngest son is presently in it. Praise God for Magic Erasers!)
Since then, we have made our Cornucopia of Thanks an annual tradition, adapting it to the children’s skills and learning goals each year by having them hand-draw their own produce, color or try to write what they are thankful for on the fruit pieces, add numbers to the produce pieces for each day of the month, do the cutting themselves, recite related Bible verses, etc.
It’s a tradition we enjoy and perhaps one your family would, too.
At a Cornucopia of Thanks’ most basic level, all you need is some paper, a roll of tape and crayons, markers or colored pencils. For crafty folks or people with older children, let your imaginations soar. I envision a real basket with hand-made air-dry clay produce with praise messages attached to their bottoms in years to come at my home.
How might you adapt this activity in your own?
Martianne writes about faith, family and homeschooling at Training Happy Hearts, where she has begun a weekly Sunday series on Faith Formation for Young Children. She also is a voluntary contributing editor and writer at Our Journey THRU Autism.