A Thankful Heart: A Thanksgiving Activity for Kids

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We are honored to have contributor Katie from Live Craft Eat sharing a new Thanksgiving activity for kids and families. This is sure to be an ongoing family tradition. ~Zina
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My husband and I have lived far away from our families for the past couple of years. While it is difficult spending holidays and other special occasions away from them, it does give us the opportunity to introduce and develop our own family traditions with our children. I believe last year’s Thanksgiving involved a lot of turkey and cranberry sauce in addition to all-day football. I don’t intend that to change too much, but I do look forward to introducing a few new things in addition to the things my family already loves.

One of those things we’re starting this year involves making a whole lot of hearts using scraps of fabric. If you have lots of fabric scraps, too, then this activity will cost you almost nothing to make! If not, you could definitely use paper or other materials in lieu of fabric to make this activity both affordable and successful! My kids loved helping me stuff these hearts, so I think we’re going to stick with them.

Visit Live Craft Eat to get full instructions and templates on making these little cuties.

thanksgiving activity hearts in basket

Most people will probably associate hearts with Valentine’s Day – not Thanksgiving – but stick with me on this. Valentine’s Day is about love – expressing the love that we have for other people. We draw cards for our parents telling them how much we love them. We give candy and flowers to our spouses to express the love we have for them. The way I see it, Thanksgiving is also about love – except it’s about recognizing and acknowledging the love that other people show towards us whether it be through service, acts of kindness, or tasks that are performed on our behalf and for our benefit. Thanksgiving is all about taking note of these things and then taking the time to thank that person for what they do.

I read once that you can learn to love a person by consistently doing nice things for them. I also think, especially in a family setting, that people do nice things for others simply because they love them. So here’s how we’re attempting to help our children recognize those things that the people who love them do for them, however mundane it may seem:

Throughout Thanksgiving Day, our family will take on the task of giving away as many hearts as possible. To give them away, we need to notice something that a person does for us, without being asked, that shows they care about us. (This can include neighbors and others, but I think we’ll just be sticking with the members of our family this year.) We give them one of our hearts, thanking them for the thing they’ve done for us, recognizing the reason why they’ve done it.

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To take it just a step further, I’ve made a printable “I Am Thankful” chart so they can keep track of the nice things people do.

The first part of the printable is to color the pattern of the heart you gave away, and then to write in the reason why you gave that person a heart. It’s like a kids version of a “Gratitude Journal.”

a thankful heart printable

My hope is that Thanksgiving will not just be a day of feasting and football, but a day to consider and be grateful for all the things we do for each other – to appreciate and love each other more. And I hope it will be a standing tradition in our family for years to come.

Visit my Thanksgiving Pinterest board to find more Thanksgiving ideas.


What traditions do you have in your family to celebrate Thanksgiving?



Kate Heap

Meet Katie

Katie Heap is the author of Live Craft Eat–a place where she writes about her 3 loves: raising her family, her crafting endeavors, and learning to cook. You can subscribe to her blog or follow Live Craft Eat on Pinterest and Facebook.

Find her online here →
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  1. MJ
    October 20, 2013

    Such a great way for kids (and adults) to focus on others!

  2. the Happy housewife!
    October 24, 2013

    Great Idea!

    how special someone would feel to receive a charming heart like this. i wonder about putting a drop of nice smelling essential oil on it as well.

    October 26, 2013

    Such a wonderful idea ! In lieu of paper for those that do not have fabric scraps people could repurpose the not quite good enough for donation clothing or other linens before it hits the rag bag. Thank you for reminding me what Thanksgiving is really for – gratitude!

  4. Cindy @ OnePartSunshine
    November 16, 2013

    What a beautiful idea! I am always searching for ways to include my kids in doing good deeds for others and this is perfect. In fact, I just shared it on my blog at http://www.onepartsunshine.com/blog/3407.

  5. Amanda Norris
    November 16, 2013

    I love this idea! It might be a little late for me to whip up some cute little stuffed hearts but it’s something that’s going to make my plans for next year. Thanks!

  6. Adele- Playfullearners
    November 17, 2013

    Should a beautiful idea. I may make them with my daughter for Christmas to give out some Love to her friends

  7. Jenn
    November 26, 2013

    Such a great tradition! I have a friend who runs a grieving center for kids who have lost a loved one… they use little hearts like that to hand out to those kiddos… they call it a “feely heart”… so the kiddos can carry around love/comfort in their pockets… if you guys want to “love” children… you could contact Heather at the Mary Bridge Childrens Hospital in Tacoma WA and send some hearts their way! =) my daughter hosted a heart sewing party one year and made hearts for the program… the girls loved doing it… =) blessings! Jenn~

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