a bowl of popcorn

3 Fun (And Intergenerational!) Ways to Practice Gratitude

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In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp observes, "Slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life. A lifetime of sermons on ‘thanks in all things’ and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time " (p. 57).

In other words, gratitude is not simply an attitude; gratitude is a faith practice. It’s something that we need to do repeatedly, on our own and together, to become more like Jesus.

Here are three fun intergenerational ways to practice gratitude. You’ll find more ideas in the gratitude section of the Faith Practices Project!

A New Twist on Popcorn Prayers

  • Give everyone in your group 10-20 pieces of popcorn (whatever number works for you). Invite them each to think of things they’re grateful for. Take turns saying these things out loud. After every suggestion, everybody eats a piece of popcorn. See if you can finish your popcorn before you run out of things you’re thankful for.

Photo Challenge

  • Organize a 30-day Gratitude Photo Challenge with your small group, with your extended family, or with your entire congregation. Assign a different gratitude topic to each day of the month. 

  • Send out an invitation for participants to submit one photo each day on those topics via Facebook, Instagram, email, or however you choose. You can create your own topics or use an already-created list like this one

  • After the 30-day challenge is completed, start a conversation about your experience with it. What was wonderful about this challenge? What was hard? Did searching for things to be grateful for change your general outlook?

Gratitude Mosaic

Here’s a great intergenerational activity to do with small groups of people or with your entire congregation. Create a “gratitude mosaic” together. Here’s how:

  • Give everyone a small square of white paper (or ask them to use one they have at home if you’re meeting virtually). 5 x 5 inches (12 cm) square is a good size.

  • Invite everyone to draw, paint, or collage something that they’re grateful for on their square.

  • Collect the squares in person, by mail, or by asking people to send a photo of their square to one person who is assembling the mosaic.

  • Glue the decorated squares onto a large piece of poster board or mural paper, interspersing them with colored scrapbook paper where desired.

  • Display your gratitude mosaic in your sanctuary, at home, or in another location.

In addition to resources on gratitude, the Faith Practices Project covers 11 other spiritual disciplines, offering resources for individuals, groups, and families.

Here are a few other gratitude posts from FFM you might enjoy:

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These are awesome and easy-to-implement ideas. Thank you!