So the blizzard has arrived, and you’re stuck at home with the kids. All the usual weekend activities have been canceled, and it’s too cold and snowy for your children to be outside yet, building those snow castles and hurling snowballs. The blizzard’s energy has got them revved up, so their usual indoor activities are of no interest, and you’re about to join them in climbing the walls. What to do? We have a suggestion: play the Thankfulness Game! This game will occupy your family for a while, give you a chance to get to know each other better, and hopefully calm them down enough to sit still for dinner, or get prepared for bed….
So here’s how to encourage thankfulness in a snowstorm, or anytime you and your family are cooped up in someplace familiar. The Thankfulness Game is pretty straightforward. You will go through every room of your house, and each person, starting with the youngest (although if that child is pretty young, you may need to go first—at least in the first room—to set an example), will choose one thing in the room that they are thankful for. They will also need to share why they are thankful for this item—and perhaps the older children and adults also need to share a story that is based on, or a memory sparked by, that item. In their own bedrooms (and the bedroom of the youngest is probably the best place to start) this is easy—there will likely be toys galore, and at least some of them will be hand-me-downs, giving each child a chance to point out something in the ro om that they have enjoyed, and share why. The living room, game room, kitchen…those will probably not be too difficult, and of course this is not a competitive game, so helping can be encouraged when it’s clear that someone is ready to give up. If you have older children and want to stretch them a bit, include all those other rooms and closets: laundry room, bathroom (teenagers will probably have fun with those!) and storage areas. If the game is going really well, consider trooping up to the attic and pulling out great-grandfather’s trunk to see what treasures might be hidden in there….
And of course, if the electricity goes out, this game is still playable—and even more fun when each person has to use a flashlight in order to find that elusive item for which they are thankful! So make sure your flashlight batteries are at full strength and be thankful for the Thankfulness Game when the next blizzard hits!