Giving Thanks!

“Giving Thanks!” Unit: Living in Gratitude


MATERIALS: Thanksgiving props, toys and craft materials

BOOKS: What is Thanksgiving? / I Am Thankful / Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks / The Blessings Jar

SONG IDEAS: Put A Little Love In Your Heart / Giving Makes You Happy / If You’re Thankful and You Know It / He’s Got the Whole World

AS CHILDREN ARRIVE: Choose 1 Sensory Activity:

  • Class Drawing- Have a large poster or butcher paper on the floor. Ask children to draw pictures of the things they are grateful for!

  • Play dough- Ask children to mold their favorite things and tell you about them!

  • Fall Sensory bin- Let children play together and explore a fall sensory bin.

  • Cardboard Box Boat- Have children help you decorate a giant cardboard box and turn it in to a boat! Adding colors, decorations, a sail, steering wheel, anchor etc. In preparation for the story of the Mayflower!

SCRIPTURE: Display the weekly scripture reading, have an older child read it or use it in the lesson as you like.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” -1 Chronicles 16:34

“Wherever you go, feel grateful that these things exist for you.” -Rev. Sun Myung Moon

INTRODUCE the Lesson:


SONG IDEAS: If You’re Thankful and You Know It / He’s Got the Whole World / Put A Little Love In Your Heart / Giving Makes You Happy


God made such a beautiful world for us. Right? We’ve been learning about how we can be an awesome part of living in peace and giving and receiving with others. This week we are going to learn about Gratitude and celebrate Thanksgiving together by being Thankful! Grateful hearts bring happiness.


  • Thanksgiving Props: Show children a variety of Thanksgiving props: Native American headbands, Pilgrim newspaper hats, corn, play food, a boat, lincoln log house etc. And ask children if they can tell you what it has to do with Thanksgiving! Great intro for the story.

  • Headbands & Hats: Provide each child with a Native American headband or Pilgrim hat and invite them to go on a journey with you to learn about the very first Thanksgiving!

  • Gratitude Game- Have children sit together around a pile of random items. Take turns picking up one item and sharing why we should be thankful for it! Some examples: socks keep our feet warm, flowers smell pretty, spoons help us eat…

INTRO: Today We Will learn About Thanksgiving and Being Thankful!


  • VIDEOS: click on the link for educational, sing along or dance videos



    • “If You’re thankful and you know it” If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your hands! If you’re thankful and you know it and you really want to show it! If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your hands! ..Stomp your feet! … Say “Amen/Aju!”)

    • “Thank You, God” to the tune of “This Old Man.” Thank you, God. (Point upward.) I love you (cover your heart), And I love my family, too. (Slowly open your arms out wide.) Thank you, God, for everything you do. (Turn around in a circle.) My family sends a kiss to you! (Blow a kiss upward.) (Repeat.)

*TEACH the Lesson:

TEACHING POINT 1: The Story of Thanksgiving!

STORY TIME: If you have a tee pee tent- have children huddle together in the Tee Pee with you as you tell the story! You can tell the story in a variety of ways: storytelling with props, pictures, acting it out with a few teacher helpers, reading a story book, drawing the story, using puppets… Some main characters/images: Pilgrims, Mayflower, Ocean, America/New Land, Faith, Building a Church, Homes & School, Winter, Squanto, Native Americans, Corn, Harvest, Feast!

Optional Script: A long time ago, the Pilgrims came on the Mayflower across the Ocean to a New Land where they could freely practice their faith, worship God! They sailed on the Mayflower for a long time. When they landed in America, they first built a church! Then they build homes & a school. They had to learn to plant their own crops. They did not know much about this new land. Squanto a friendly Native American befriended them and taught them how to plant corn. The Native Americans and Pilgrims helped each other and taught each other new things! After a successful Harvest, they decided to have a feast together and thank God for their friendship and for all their blessings! They had turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, corn...etc. And that was the very first Thanksgiving!


  • How did the Pilgrims get from England to America? On a rocket ship, airplane or boat called the Mayflower? Mayflower.

  • What is the first thing the Pilgrims built? A school, a church or a store? Church.

  • How did the Pilgrims and Native Americans help each other? Squanto taught Pilgrims how to plant corn.

  • How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your family? Family dinner, watching football etc

TEACHING POINT 2: Gratitude- Giving Thanks!

TEACHING WITH DISCUSSION: At this time of year we want to think about all of things we are grateful for! Our family, nature, food, our bodies, toys, friends…

Visualization: let’s close our eyes & imagine, envision all of our favorite things! The things you love the most and are the most thankful for! Call on a few- what did you see? It’s important to take time and think about what we’re grateful for. Sometimes we can take things for granted and always want more. Saying “thank you” is our way to receive love and return beauty. It’s good to feel God’s love for us in everything He provides. Let’s say a prayer to God, our Heavenly Parent! Have each child take turns saying a prayer, or say a prayer all together. Share with children that they can always thank God at any time. A great time to do this is before bed time at night- to pray to God and talk to him about our day and what we’re thankful for!


  • What are your favorite things?

  • What are you thankful for?


This week, we are grateful for everything and we show our gratitude by saying Thank You to God and others! Sometimes its easy to forget how lucky we are and to remember how many wonderful things we have. So we want to reflect on God’s blessings in our lives as we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families. We also learn about the importance of helping others and learning new things together from the Pilgrims & Native Americans! We can be helpers to our friends too.


Dear Heavenly Parent, Thank you for Thanksgiving! We are so excited to celebrate together with our families this week and eat lots of delicious food. We pray that we can thank you for all of the things we are grateful for and have a heart of gratitude this week. Thank you for everything! Amen. Aju.

APPLY the Lesson:


  • Gratitude Color Game: Have a pile of colorful Popsicle sticks or straws. Each color represents a gratitude theme. Have children draw one & answer what they are grateful for: Red= a Person. Orange= A Place. Green= A Food. Blue= A Thing. Purple= Anything!

  • Thanksgiving Hot Potato: Play the hot potato game passing an item around in a circle and playing music. And each time the music stops & hot potato lands in someone’s hands- have them share what they are grateful for!

CRAFTS: choose 1

  • Thank You Card: Provide a variety of colorful construction paper, stickers, glitter etc and help children make a Thank You card for someone they love, maybe their parents! Have them write why they are grateful for that person in the card.

  • Gratitude Collage: Have children cut out pictures from magazines of things they are grateful for and glue it on a paper to make a gratitude collage.

  • Thankful Coloring Page: Have children color.

  • Paper Bag Turkey Puppet: glue on eyes, a beak, gobbler and feathers. Help children write what they’re grateful for on the bag.

  • Class Gratitude Tree: As a whole class- have children draw or write what they’re grateful for on a leaf and place it on a class “tree”, sticks in a vase, in the Sunday School room or on a bulletin board.

  • Family Gratitude Tree: Each child receives a mason jar to bring home. Have children collect sticks to put inside it. Each child can write what they’re grateful for on a leaf and hang it on. And place a leaf on a string on the branch for each member in their family. Tell them that their family can each write on a leaf at home.

For Older Children:

  • Pine cone Turkeys: Each child receives 1 pine cone to glue googley eyes & a beak on. Then smaller strips of paper to write or draw what they’re grateful for on can be placed in to the pine cone to look like feathers. A cute table decoration!

  • Turkey Book: Pre cut light brown paper folded into a square for the card. Children can glue on different feathers on the back and a turkey face on the front: googly eyes, beak. On the inside children can draw or write what they’re grateful for!


  • Cornucopia inspired snack! Like an ice cream cone filled with fruits.

Enjoy the lesson! Feel free to submit photos to Love seeing lessons come to life and each community

Home Connection: coming soon!