Thank-o-Rama ~ Explaining being Thankful to Kids

This post is in partnership with Disney Books Group

May is Thank-o-Rama month!

Although my daughter Izzy is only 4, she has a big personality and lots of feelings. Izzy and I discuss feelings often, but we don’t frequently discuss what we are thankful for or what being thankful means.

So before I get into how we discussed being thankful,I’m going to start by saying, “Thank you Mo Willems.” I’m thankful for Thank-o-Rama & the reminder to further discuss being thankful with Izzy. We have always been fans of Mo Willems books. I actually started collecting Elephant & Piggie books long before Izzy was born. The Elephant & Piggie books introduce children to feelings and social situations in a fun and silly way. The books foster conversations about emotions and support thinking through scenarios that may arise (likely in a less silly way of course.)

It’s a daily ritual to read a bunch of our favorite Mo Willems books together. Izzy was so excited when I introduced her to the newest addition to the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series: Harold and Hog Pretend for Real by Dan Santat.

In case you need a refresher, Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! is an early-reader series created and coedited by Mo Willems. The series features exciting new stories from renowned, award winning children’s book authors and illustrators.

Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! is a super silly book about two best friends pretending to be Elephant and Piggie. We of course joined in!

Through playing pretend, Harold and Hog learn the importance of being yourself and to accept your own, unique personality- another lesson to be thankful for.

To start the discussion on being thankful, I let Izzy know we were going to talk about things we are thankful for. Then I began modeling by using the word thankful in a few sentences.

Example: I am thankful for photos. I’m thankful for photos because they allow us to look back at memories.

Example: I am thankful we are back in Maine. I’m thankful we are back Maine, because we get to spend more time with family. I also really love that your get to see your cousins so often.

Doing this helps kids deepen their understanding of the word, which then allows them to start to comprehend the meaning of the word and they begin to form their own thoughts and definition of the word.

Next we discussed the definition of being thankful. Being thankful means we are conscious of the benefit we received. I told Izzy the definition, because being a teacher, there is no harm in exposing her to the actual definition. Exposure to new words, definitions and concepts, even if they are a bit over her head are beneficial to her learning and comprehending now and down the road.

I then said to Izzy, “Being thankful is thinking about the things that make you happy. What makes you happy?”

Izzy said, “Music makes me happy!” I said, “Good! You can say, I am thankful for music.”

Then Izzy said, “I love playing with you and daddy and Teddy. I am thankful for my family. Let’s do a team hug!” In our house a team hug consists of the family doing a big group hug.

After our discussions, we were ready to draw and write what we are thankful for. I hung chalk board paper over a door and we opened up our Elephant and Piggie sidewalk chalk. Izzy and I started drawing and writing about what we are thankful for.

What are you thankful for? Click here for more Thank-o-Rama fun and activities.

XO Eryka

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