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3 No-Miss Thanksgiving Messages for Kids

ThanksgivingIt's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a week away. It seems like I just finished eating all the leftover discounted candy I bought on November 1st. Looking back, I seem to remember the store setting out Christmas items as I did my annual discounted candy run. Have we, as a country, just decided to skip Thanksgiving?! Not on my watch!

We have so much to be thankful for, and we can help our kids understand the importance of a thankful heart. Here are three no-miss, easy-prep, memory-making ideas that you can use in your ministry.



Thanksgiving Day Parades are a fun tradition you can use to create your ministry's unique Thanksgiving tradition.

Say: During Thanksgiving, we think about things we're thankful for. What's God given you that you're thankful for? Allow time.

Say: Some people celebrate with a parade at Thanksgiving. Maybe you've seen one on television or attended one. Let's have a Thanksgiving parade to celebrate all that God's given us.

Have kids find random items in your room to use as instruments. Set out paper, and let kids make hats or other costume items they can tape to their clothes or wave in the air. Let them parade around the room singing a song, such as "Jesus Loves Me."

For added impact, make arrangements ahead of time with your senior pastor to have kids bring their parade into your main service, and have the congregation sing a song of thanksgiving with the kids.


Give each child a deflated balloon.

(Children under 8 years of age can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons for children. Discard broken balloons at once. Balloons may contain latex.)

SAY: Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate all the awesome things we're thankful for. Let's take turns calling out things we're thankful for. Each time someone names something, add a puff of air to your balloon. Ready?

Let kids name things and add puffs of air to their balloons. After everyone has had a turn, SAY:Wait, wait, it's my turn!Call out something unpleasant such as, "Getting sick" or "My car broke down."

SAY: Hmmm, I'm not sure everyone added air for that one. When good things happen we're all full of praise-like our balloons are now. But when bad things happen, it's more like this.

Have kids release their balloons, letting them fly everywhereand land, deflated.

ASK: Why don't we thank God when bad things happen?

Read aloud Ephesians 5:20.

Then ASK:

• Why would God want us to thank him for everything-meaning the good things and bad things?

• Tell about a time you experienced something good right in the middle of something bad. Begin by sharing your own storyto give kids time to think. For example, you might talk about atime you got a flat tire, but were encouraged by the kindness ofsomeone who helped you.

SAY: It's easy to thank God for good things. But we can remember to thank God for hard things because he often uses those bad things for good. Let's fill up our balloons so they're nice and full of our praises-for the good stuff and even the not-so-good stuff. Let kids inflate and tie off their balloons. Helpkids tie their balloons as needed.

Lead kids in prayer, thanking God for his blessings of goodtimes and even thanking him for the hard things we face. Then letkids bat the balloons around as a celebration and praise to God.

3. Rejoice Race

Beforehand, form a circle of chairs, with one less chair than the number of kids, and mark 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in a Bible.

Have all kids except one sit in the chairs. The standing child is "It" and It will remain standing.

SAY: It may point to any seated child, and say "Rejoice in the Lord," then quickly count to 10. That person must name one thing he or she is thankful for before It reaches 10. If the child cannot think of anything that quickly, he or she becomes the new It. If It says, "Everyone rejoice in the Lord!" then everyone must quickly stand up and find a new seat while It tries to find a seat as well. The player who doesn't find a seat will become the new It.

Play several rounds. Afterward, read aloud 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

At the end of the game, ASK:

• What was easy or hard about thinking of things to rejoice in God about?

• Why do we sometimes forget to thank God for all he does for us?

• What's one way you can show God you're joyful about what he's done for you?

• Why is it important to show thanks to God?

SAY: We have so many reasons to thank God and express our joy. This week, take time each day to rejoice in God.


If you want to continue the discussion on a thankful heart, you have to check out VeggieTales: Thankfulness Sunday School Lessons! In this 4-week Sunday school (great for 3- to 8-year-olds), your kids will enjoy 4 Sunday school lessons with Madame Blueberry, the very blue berry who wants more stuff! They'll learn alongside Madame Blueberry that "being greedy makes you grumpy-but a thankful heart is a happy heart!"

I've got a lot to be thankful for, including all of you, my friends in ministry! Thank you for what you do to make Jesus irresistible to kids. What are you thankful for this year? Let us know using the comment section below.

Posted at 15:30


Cle said...
This is such great should spice up our thanksgiving lessons and help the kids have fun while developing a thankful heart.
November 21, 2013 01:29
David said...
Cle—Thanks you so much for your kind words, and a big thank you for your work with kids!
November 21, 2013 08:20
Heidi said...
I have chapel with two groups of 30 preschoolers...they are going to love Rejoice Race. Thanks for sharing such an awesome idea!!!
November 21, 2013 05:59
Heidi said...
I have chapel with two groups of 30 preschoolers...they are going to love Rejoice Race. Thanks for sharing such an awesome idea!!!
November 21, 2013 05:59

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