There are many reasons to give thanks, especially at this time of year. The holiday season is full of gifts and invitations that call for an important gesture – a thank you note, even from the youngest recipients. Giving a “thank you” is one of the most fulfilling gifts you can give a person. Feelings of gratitude are important to nurture. To help children get in touch with these feelings, make time to create thank you activities, from the simple note to other creative ways of showing appreciation.
The Thank You Note
From the time I was a child, my mother always encouraged (and insisted) that I write thank you notes for gifts. A simple verbal gesture was not enough in her eyes; a handwritten note was in order to show my gratitude. I carried on this tradition with my kids (even though they sometimes balked at the thought). The only difference is how they sent their note of thanks. Getting creative with homemade stationary or ways to express appreciation is the way to go. The process can be fun for kids. Here are a few ideas:
Gather up paper and matching envelopes. Now, encourage the kids to search through collage materials for decorations to make their notes special. Suggest they look for stickers, lace, small buttons, trims, sequins, fabric, wallpaper swatches and so on. Begin by folding the paper in half and printing a cute message on the inside. Younger children can draw pictures, especially of the person they are thanking (which are worth a thousand words, so to speak). Then challenge the kids to decorate the outside cover with drawings and glued-on trinkets. When dry, put the notes in the envelope, address and deliver or mail.
What about postcards? Make these using index cards. Let the kids draw a picture on one side and the message and address on the other side. Don’t forget the stamp, but note that these cards are less expensive to send than a letter.
When making cards, show the children how to accordion-fold a small, long strip of paper to make a “spring” and attach a cutout design to it for a surprise card. When the card is opened, the spring surprise will pop up.
Make Your Own Stationary
Invite your children to make their own note papers by sponge painting watercolors on white paper. When dry, they can write their thank you message on designer stationary. They can even add a trademark at the bottom of the page – designed by (add the child’s name).
A neat way to create your own design is to etch a picture or insignia into a Styrofoam meat or produce tray from the supermarket with a stylus or broken point of a pencil. Use a brayer (available in art or craft supply stores) to spread printer’s ink or paint on the tray. Have the kids press paper onto each tray, smooth carefully with their hands and peel the print up. This technique allows children to make many cards of the same design. You can even wash the trays and change the color if you wish.
Other Ways To Say Thank You
How about recording a mini-cassette? Let the children make a fun recording of their thank you to send to a loved one. Add music, jokes, imitations and such. Grandparents especially love this idea. Bake some cookies and place in a container with a note saying, “Thanks to the nicest cookie I know!” Help the kids make award certificates for the special people they wish to thank. These are fun to design and decorate. Today there are computer programs that make certificates utilizing your child’s technology skills. Make candy cups (a small container filled with goodies) and give these to the person you are thanking with a note saying, “You’re so sweet!”
Source: Personal Experience
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