Activities to Inspire Gratitude

Heading into the holiday season, especially with everything that has happened in 2020, I think it is a good time to reflect on what we are grateful for. And what better way to do that than alongside the youth we serve? The Ancient Roman statesman Cicero is quoted as saying

Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all of the others.


When we can be grateful for the things we have and the progress we’ve made, it gives us the strength to work to change the things that need changing, or to strive to meet our goals. Here are some activities I found that can help foster gratitude in youth. Some are more clearly Thanksgiving-based than others, although all could be modified slightly to work year-round with just a change of art supply color.

Please let me know if you have other activities about gratitude that you love, or if you try any of these and it falls flat! The best thing about ClubX Blog posts is that they are endlessly editable, and I’d love for this to become a growing repository of tried and true favorites. You can comment below or email me at, or even message me through the BGCA Youth Development Facebook!

Let’s kick it off with a couple of videos. The first is everyone’s favorite Kid President, and is appropriate for younger viewers. The second is for teens, and you could even do what they do in the video!

We know I always like to include a list of read-aloud books. Love the multi-cultural options in this one, just leave off the preschool books (unless you have preschoolers at home!)

I also almost always include a link to A Mighty Girl, because they have lists tagged by subject and AGE RANGE! Here are their picks for Gratitude.

The activity I want to point you to is that she suggests turning these leaves into GRATITUDE leaves, but annoyingly she split the directions up lol. So here’s how to make the leaves, and you can find the link to gratitude them within, but essentially its just stamping words.

This link has a few ideas, but I especially like this pumpkin pie spinner, which could be made easier or more involved for youth of different ages.

Love the easy printable template to make this paper chain, another activity that works for all ages and could make a cute display.

Here’s another printable to make a display, this one with leaves.

Definitely do the black and white version of this printable worksheet here, for coloring.

Here’s a version of Pick Up Sticks centered around being grateful. I like how she painted chopsticks to make a reusable set, you could make endless variations on what the kids have to say with the colors, or you can use colored straws or buy sets online. This is perfect for the Gamesroom!

This game makes good use of Scrabble tiles.

This printable dice or these conversation prompts would make a great community builder activity to get a program session started.

A scavenger hunt would be PERFECT as a Virtual Club activity! Youth could take photos of the things they find. You could also adapt the activity to work in Club as a community builder, with youth having to find a different partner and share their answer/get their partners for each item. You may want to create your own list, but this gives good inspiration.

Similar idea, but this one uses photos already on your phone, and would be good for teens. I’d change the prompts, not using their specific printable, but its a good starting point. If your teens don’t all have phones, consider pairs.

This sunburst worksheet would work well for teens or also as a staff bonding activity. I’m probably going to do one myself because I think it is really lovely.

I recognize that there are a lot of worksheets happening here but this one is also very cute and it is free! Youth could write or draw, and I like that it asks for ideas from interesting angles.

Ok another obviously don’t make youth do all of these but here’s a more open-ended option and good for littles who may not be super strong writers yet.

Last week I was browsing through the BGCA Youth Development Facebook group, and Morgan from the Boys & Girls Club of Vernon had just posted her Club’s incredible bulletin boards, and one of them was THIS! I LOVE IT!

And don’t forget, November is ALSO Native Heritage Month every year at BGCA, so be sure to use this time to check out the incredible work our Native Clubs are doing in Indian Country. You can find ideas in these two ClubX Blog posts, and be sure to also read the Club Stories featured in the Native Heritage Month tag.

Gratitude GIF by TOTT Products LLC - Find & Share on GIPHY

How do you teach youth about gratitude? What are your favorite holiday season activities? We want to share them with everyone! Contact us by commenting below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email

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