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The following has bunches of Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and Stewardship -related ideas and resources, as well as links to other topics in our Bible Story forums related to thanksgiving and stewardship. If you have a specific Bible story in mind that teaches thankfulness, gratitude, or stewardship, look it up in our Bible Story Lesson Forums.

Here are three of the most popular "thanksgiving" stories: Parable of the Talents, The Thankful Leper, and Widow's Mite.

Need help with a lesson idea? Post your question in our Teachers Lounge.

We're sharing Thanksgiving Lessons & Ideas in this topic

See Also: Stewardship and Gratitude lessons and ideas

"Take what you need, share what you can"

Pumpkin Pics & Ideas

Pumpkins are a terrific symbol of harvest and thanksgiving. Arriving late in the fall, they bring joy, food, and the seeds of a future harvest --which all the best things to be grateful for do.

After Halloween, pumpkin patches sometimes literally give away their remaining pumpkins. (Contact them, tell them what you want the pumpkins for, then make them an offer.)

How about a Gratitude Pumpkin Painting Project --inviting people to "buy" a pumpkin from your collection and use a paint pen to write what they are grateful for --and then donate the proceed (pro-seeds") to the local food bank or to help "seed" a new mission effort. This is an easy project to get kids involved.

When your pumpkins are "done," mulch them with fall leaves in the church's compost heap. Don't have a church compost heap? You do now!  Taking care of Creation means providing for next year's harvest.


The two above are free to use from provided you reference the source.



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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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When I think of giving thanks, I think of the Psalms.  

Go to Erica Daniel's "Thanksgiving" blog entry at https://www.personalcreations....alms-of-thanksgiving  for a list of "Psalms of Thanksgiving" and some wonderful graphics for each.  She has a good list of other "thanksgiving scriptures" as well.


You could also explore some of the festivals from the Old Testament. There is a nice chart in my NIV study Bible (in Leviticus). Several feast days that seem appropriate to Thanksgiving are First Fruits (Lev. 23), Weeks/Harvest/Pentecost (Lev 23), and Tabernacles/Booths (Lev 23).


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"Seeds of Thanks" Bird Feeder

Students create a hanging birdseed feeder with various types of seed -- each of which represents a different idea about what we are thankful for.

Purchase or make 6" to 8" grapevine wreaths, preferably those which have multiple strands forming the wreath.


Using their hands (for a fun tactile experience), students cover the wreath with a mixture of seeds and peanut butter or lard. Use as little of the sticky stuff as you can get away with. Using your hands, thoroughly coat the seeds with the mixture for maximum stick. Wreaths made out of several strands of woody grapevine are best because the mixture can be pressed in-between the strands. Don't completely coat the vines.

Add a twine hanger and place in a bag to go home. Include a "menu" of the five seeds used by students and their meaning, along with a Bible verse.

The following website has a number of really nice printable Psalm quotes. https://www.personalcreations....alms-of-thanksgiving

This is a cold-weather activity and feeder. The peanut butter or lard will go rancid in warm weather and won't cling to the woody vine as well.

Here are the suggested "types" of seeds and possible meanings. Questions can be asked about each one. Examples can be asked for.

  • The first seed reminds us that we give thanks that God feeds our soul. (How does God do that? What things feed our souls? What does it feel like?)
  • The second seed reminds us that God blesses our lives with good things. (What are some of the things our lives are blessed with?)
  • The third seed reminds us of the good friends and caring family members that God has surrounded us with. (Who are the people who "feed" you the most?)
  • Additional seeds can be added and discussed if desired.


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Our lesson plan ideas for teaching Thankfulness. The special names (Lighthouse Cafe, et al) are the names of our workshops.


  • Lighthouse Café: Will put together a cookbook of faithful generation recipes. I will get all families to bring recipe in and this class will put it together. I will later photocopy the whole project and distribute. Book – Rag Coat

  • Mission Possible: Courts of the King games and string web games

  • Holywood: Storytelling – will give story stems and children will act out, write a Thanksgiving blessing – learn Thanksgiving songs – Read book Follow Your Dream

  • Creation Station: Apple Cinnamon Sugar Dip – set a Thanksgiving table. Read Stone Soup.

  • Special Assignments: Thanksgiving Poem Placement. Read Henry’s Song


  • Lighthouse Café: Stone Soup – will get the children to bring in soup ingredients

  • Mission Possible: Attitude is Gratitude – presents will be on the floor – they will be empty inside except for colorful strip of paper. Kids must refill box with gifts they have abstract or real written on paper

  • Holywood: Storytelling – The Giving Tree (book)– prepared lesson plan

  • Creation Station: Seeds of Thanks project – you will be making dirt – chocolate pudding with crushed oreo cookies 

  • Special Assignments – Thanksgiving potholder craft

    Books to be used are Stone Soup, The Giving Tree, The Rag Coat, Henry’s Song, and I’m Thankful Each Day
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Blessings Mix 

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance. 

Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country. 

Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day. 

Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence. 

Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land. 

M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future. 

Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

original post by Dianesf

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Charlie Brown

We are doing special rotations for Thanksgiving Sunday and will be showing the movie "This is America Charlie Brown - The Mayflower Voyagers" as our movie rotation. It is full of historical facts and inspiring faith in God, and will remind our kids of our rich heritage.It is 24 minutes long.


2016 - Moderator notes this video can be found under Special Features (extras) on the DVD - "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Remastered Deluxe Edition", 883929006489.

Last edited by CreativeCarol

Thoughts and a craft idea for

1. Horn of Plenty, aka, "Cornucopia"

2. Making a Cornucopia with a  "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow" never ending ribbon.

Important Background to Share

Cornu meaning "horn" and Copia meaning "plenty" in Latin (Roman). The tradition of the "horn of plenty" comes from the Greeks and is found in one of their myths. As the story goes, Hercules broke the horn off of a god he was battling who had transformed himself into a ram. After the battle he gave it to his defeated enemy as a peace-offering gift which never ran out.  The symbol found its way into Israel and was found in various forms on coins and tombs.  According to the Bible, ritual horns were also used as signals to begin holy days, as warnings, and to make announcements from heaven.

In the USA, we use the "Cornucopia" image at Thanksgiving to symbolize "abundance." We seem to have lost its original meaning of "never running out" and peace-offering.  (In the craft suggestion below, that's why I'm adding the "never ending ribbon" to the project.)

Related ancient traditions include the use of "drinking horns," to toast or pledge loyalty with. These various traditions are not unlike the use of the ritual "cup of blessing" used at Passover, which Christ used at the Last Supper. Christ's gift in this sacrament never runs out.

I'm reminded of a similar "cornucopia at the well" when Jesus says to the woman, "whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  A peace-offering indeed.

Cornucopia Craft Project 

Here's a cornucopia made using colored foam sheets which are better than construction paper because they look more substantial, and won't tear or fade.   It can serve as a Thanksgiving centerpiece and family devotional.


Tips  A teacher with a hot glue gun dispensing dabs of glue to fix items on the cornucopia will speed up the process and make the foam adhere much faster than white glue.

Tip: Add a blank "fruit or two" on the cornucopia that kids can invite parents to fill in at the table.

How to add a "never ending ribbon of blessing" to the cornucopia

The addition of a ribbon loop that can be pulled from the cornucopia helps reinforce the corncupia's original "never-ending" meaning. In addition to the typical things kids are thankful for (pets, grandmas, etc), it becomes a place to record things of Godly importance.

How to:  On a 12-16" ribbon, students write a scripture verse and series of "things God never runs out of" (Love, forgiveness, salvation, help,)  Then they cut a slot in the "mouth" of the cornucopia and slide the ribbon in it. STAPLE the ends of the ribbon together to form a loop. The "endless" ribbon can now be pulled as if it is coming out of the cornucopia -revealing the blessings which continue to flow.  Add the phrase, "Praise God from Whom All Blessing Flow" (from the Doxology).

Tip: Allow students to select a thanksgiving verse. Here's a collection of them at (there are many such collections online). Print the verses and let kids pick one to put on their cornucopia or ribbon.  For non-readers, write the line from the Doxology.


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My children are following a Thanksgiving theme for two weeks. October 6th and then the 13.  The parable of the mustard seed is in our anglican church lectionary for the 6th, so we are making a mustard and root vegetable soup for the parish soup luncheon in "Martha's Bistro".  And on the 13th we are making thanksgiving trees, in the "Thou art studios". Families will fill in the trees as a family event at home. It will make a nice table centre piece. 

Psalms are full of thankfulness! 

Here are a few quick ideas:

Coloring sheets with the words from the Psalm to help the children memorize the words:

  • Psalm 107
  • another Psalm 107
  • Psalm 118
  • Psalm 136 - this one is not as fancy as the others, demonstrating you could make a basic coloring sheet yourself with whichever verse you are learning.
  • search for the verse you are looking for + coloring page and you will find more!


And this downloadable book has puzzles, games and crafts in addition to coloring sheets.



There are links to coloring sheets and activities for preschoolers here. 

And Psalms are filled with action words that can turn into games!  For example:

  • what about a memory/matching game using Bible story pictures to go along with Psalm 136. Here is a great site with lots of Bible story pictures you can use for this and other games. 
  • And Psalm 107 has lots of images and action words that would become a terrific relay race, obstacle course, or game using water!


The What's in the Bible dvd series covers Psalms in general in dvd #8: "Words to Make Us Wise." Supporting Members can see an outline of the video and suggestions on how to use it here


You can find more PSALMS OF THANKSGIVING ideas in the Psalms topic here


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Videos to share and ignite discussion

This first one can be used in worship, post on your church's FB page, or to start a discussion with.

A "Social" Thanksgiving

Craft suggestion: Have the kids build a "cellphone and tv remote jail" out of cardboard and paper. Invite family members to put theirs in it.

⇒ What other "attitudes instead of gratitude" belong in the jail?
Have your family write down several and put them in jail.

Try an Unplugged Thanksgiving: No TV, video games, or phones.

Youth Video Discussion Starter About Thanksgiving Discussion

Here's a funny Saturday Night Live video your teens and millennials will appreciate. A young girl turns on "Hello" by Adele to change the tone at her family's Thanksgiving dinner.

Part of its humor is that it mimics a famous Adele "Hello" music video  (linked here). More importantly, the lyrics express sorrow for past mistakes, which is the understated message of the parody.

Follow up with a discussion about how we should talk and what we should talk about at mealtime. Listen carefully for those who express serious issues related to their family meals.

Crossroad Kids Video Explaining "Generosity"

This four-minute video shares several biblical ideas and stories, including the widow's mite and how our generosity is a response to God's generosity.

The puzzle device which the video uses is a bit of a metaphor in its own right. Each piece or act of generosity and giving creates a picture, i.e. fills a need and sends a message. What's the message that God wants our generosity to share with others? What pieces are missing from your life?

FYI: Resource companies like Oriental Trading sell bulk "blank" puzzles that students could draw on to create their own "generosity" puzzle (as seen in the video) and take home to their family.


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Laurie’s Little Monkeys has athanksgiving  devotional for families that can be purchased for $8 and printed and shared with your church members.  


This is a family Thanksgiving devotional OR a Devotional of thanksgiving to use with your entire church, your church families, or just your own family! There are 28 daily devotionals that would get you through Thanksgiving (depending on the year you may need to take a few out) or through most of the month. This does NOT have to be done in November. If your country doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving or if you want to do this devo during another month, that can certainly be done. (The heading of each devo says "Day 1", etc, so that it can be done any time of year.

This devotional contains many interactive elements. One of them is for each family to create a "Thanksgiving tree" to put up somewhere in their house - on their table, wall, floor, etc. Ideas are included. Each day, each member of the family is to write down on their leaf what they are thankful for that day (it's in the daily instructions) and hang it on the tree.

Each devotional contains a topic to be thankful for (animals/pets, creation, teachers, diversity, family, water, technology, sports, etc), a Scripture to read together (unless marked all Scripture came from NRSV), a short devotional, a call to action (something to DO that day or sometime that month), instructions for what to write on your leaves, and a prayer.


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Thankfulness Tag

This energy-burning game from Meaningful Mama's blog is great for families gathered for Thanksgiving as well as for Sunday school classes or Wednesday night groups.


The original game is played like normal tag. However, if you are about to get tagged, you can sit down and say a TV show that no one else has mentioned, and you are safe. Once the tagger start chasing someone else, you can pop back up and continue running around.

If someone gets tagged or if they can’t think of a new TV show in time, they are it.


Game play is similar to TV Tag, except the child being chased can sit down (and be safe and not be tagged by "It") by naming something that he or she is thankful for—that has not already been named by someone else. If someone is tagged or can't think of a new thing that they are thankful for before sitting, they become It.

Full description and rules (if a kids' playground game can have rules?) can be found at the blog.

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