In today’s world, it’s hard for a kid to feel like they have enough. It may seem like they always want nicer clothes, more screen time, and fancier toys. Whether the search for ‘more’ comes from peer pressure, the media, or the human’s basic need for comfort, research has shown time and time again that there is an antidote: gratitude. Read on for activities, book ideas, and a kitchen table question to inspire the kids (and adults!) in your life to regularly practice being grateful.

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GRATEFUL MAIL
 
Intro: 
Practicing gratitude is linked with so many benefits; how can we teach our children to grow up with an “attitude of gratitude”? In this activity, kids (and adults!) will make art about what they are grateful for, then they will send the art to someone they love.
 
Goal: 
To recognize what we are grateful for and communicate that gratitude with others.
 
Instructions: 
1. Gather Materials: for this grateful art, you can use any art materials. Keep in mind that, if you will need to mail your art to someone, it should be able to fit in an envelope or box!
2. Make your art: Explain to the children that they will be drawing or creating what they are grateful or thankful for. One of these things they are grateful for should be a person that they want to share their art with. Adults are encouraged to make art, too!
3. Talk about your emotions: While you make your art, you can discuss the emotions that arise when focusing on gratitude. How do the emotions change based on which item you are focusing on?
3. Deliver your art: Hand deliver or mail your art to the person in your piece of art.
 
Discuss:
What emotions did you experience while creating your art?
What emotions did you experience giving your art away?
How could you focus on what you are grateful for a little bit more in life?
 
Picture Books
 
by Loren Long
Giving thanks makes Otis happy. He gives thanks for the land and country he loves. Told with a sense of warmth, heart, and above all else, gratefulness, this is an uplifting tale that speaks to the soul of Otis’ character and reminds readers that taking the time to appreciate our lives is a virtue in itself.
 
by Nikki Grimes
In sixteen extraordinary poems that range in form from a haiku to a rebus to a riddle, Nikki Grimes reminds us how wonderful it is to feel thankful, and how powerful a simple “thank you” can be.
 
 by John Parra
A young boy (biracial Mexican/Caucasian) tells about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, ¡Gracias! Thanks! Book is in both English and Spanish.
 
Chapter Books
 
Ann M Martin
A thoughtful story about an isolated girl, this tale will challenge us all to notice the ways in which our fears and discomforts limit what we do. Rose Howard’s heroic effort to do the right thing for her beloved dog Rain will inspire us all to pay attention to the gifts around us, and within us.

Each month we will be featuring the story of a past POP-Up Festival host. Meet Paige Dest, a superstar POP-UP Festival host from last year.

Where did you hold your POP-UP Festivals? They were located in Connecticut, in the United States of America.

How many children attended your POP-UP Festival(s)? Between the two wonderful festivals I held, I had nine children attend.

Do you have a favorite memory from the POPUP Festivals? I would have to say my favorite memories were the smiles and excitement that came over each child’s face as they played the games, and the pride they exhibited when they had “center stage” in discussions and recognized their importance in this world. 

What did you love about the POP-UP Festivals? I love the awareness of emotional literacy the festivals bring to children and adults!
 
What is a tip you would give to a new POPUP Festival host about holding a festival?  I would recommend that they be open to learning from the attendees, and to be flexible and patient with each attendee’s level of engagement.
 
 
 
 
Would you like your POP-UP Festival story to be shared here? E-mail Maria at [email protected]

People who regularly practice gratitude have better immune systems, lower blood pressure, and are less bothered by aches and pains? Check out the research here!

Kitchen Table Question:

“What are you grateful for today and why?”

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