Gratitude Jar

Highlight the power of gratitude! In tough times, help children pause, notice, and savor the feelings that the good things in our lives bring.  

Before watching this video together, explain: “We feel grateful when we take time to feel happy and thankful about a person, a place, or a thing. Being grateful celebrates all we have and can help us feel happier when we’re having a hard time.” 

After watching the video, you might make your own gratitude jar, like Gabrielle, Tamir, and their Grandma Nell! Invite children to decorate a jar. From time to time, encourage them to draw a picture of something or someone they appreciate (or you can write down what they dictate), and put the slip of paper in the jar. Add your own too! When it’s full, pull out the slips one by one, look at them together and talk more about them, take time to “absorb” the good feeling they bring up, and glue or tape them to a large piece of paper to create and display a gratitude collage.  

Developing a sense of thankfulness places us in a better position to face challenges with inner strength and resilience. And gratitude isn’t reserved only for big things such as our families or having enough food; appreciation for small things is just as powerful: a loving hug or a puppy’s soft fur. The power of gratitude lies in pausing, noticing, and enjoying the good feelings that come up.  


  • You might take the collage idea one step further and create a “dream board” together. Invite children to draw or collage their own hopes and dreams and share yours as well. Display it where all can see. The more you actively engage with hope, the more you’ll feel it—and the more likely children will be to join you. This project can be a springboard to talking about good things to come, big dreams and ideas for your family, planning towards long-term goals, and your own hopes for the future.  
  • You can also let your child see and hear you showing your appreciation for others. Thank the servers in the restaurant, the crossing guard who helps you move safely, the plumber who unclogs your bathtub. It’s not just about being nice or having manners—it’s about noticing, acknowledging, respecting, appreciating, and being grateful for the efforts of others.