Let Thankfulness Ring: Teaching Gratitude This Independence Day

For many, the Fourth of July brings to mind images of cookouts, fireworks, and of course the good ol' red, white, and blue. It's a time to connect with family members and celebrate the birth of America's independence. However, it is easy in the midst of all the hamburgers and flying rockets to forget the brave men and women who have sacrificed everything so that Americans can enjoy freedom each day.

Independence Day is an excellent opportunity to teach gratitude to your children. Rather than making this holiday all about tasty food or an impressive fireworks show, check out these ideas for creating an attitude of thankfulness in your children's minds and hearts:

Make a thankfulness banner. Use butcher paper or poster board with "I am thankful for my freedom because..." written in bold letters across the top. Allow your children and family members to write whatever comes to mind. Use your mealtime as an opportunity to talk about each of the items listed on the banner.

Enjoy some Independence Day trivia. Come up with five or ten quiz questions about America's history and how this country gained its independence. Allow family members to work as teams or individuals and provide small prizes for correctly answered questions. Give each team a small American flag that they can raise in the air if they know an answer, or allow them to write their answers. Take a look at these quiz questions to help give you a few ideas. For a bonus point, ask each participant to come up with one way they can demonstrate their thankfulness for freedom in everyday life.

Write thank you notes to active and veteran military. This is a great way to help your children make the connection between the daily freedoms they enjoy and the sacrifices of countless men and women in the military throughout the years. If you don't know any family or friends who have served in the military, consider exploring the "A Million Thanks" website. This is an organization that distributes letters to both active and veteran military. Visit their website for sample letters, drop off locations, and instructions for writing letters. Get creative with your thank you notes by allowing your kids to enclose pictures they've drawn or poems they've written. Amy Adele has an excellent selection of patriotic stationery that would be perfect for sending these notes.

Contact us if you'd like to find out more about customizing your thank you notes for your Fourth of July celebration!

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