Just wanted to post what I did for Thanksgiving this year and provide a link where you can get the PowerPoints I made for the lesson – it was a lot of fun and really got the kids thinking!
As an introduction we played my Thanksgiving Gimmie Gimmie Game, which is always a TON of FUN!
I introduce it by telling the kids there is something that spoils our attitude of gratitude, it is something I like to call “the gimmie gimmies.” It is when we start thinking about what we want, and forget all we have! I ask the kids, “how many of you are already thinking, or maybe even asking, about what you want for Christamas?” (hands go up!) “Have you thought yet about what you want to give?” (blank looks!)
Below is my quick PowerPoint I used for explaining the rules. I had about 150 kids playing, so you’ll notice I used 5 cards per kid in my rules, even though in the official game, it says 7 cards each. I modified for our large group. We played for five minutes and it was a blast.
If you have never played “Gimmie Gimmie” – you have GOT to let your kids play this!
Too late for Thanksgiving, check out the Gimmie Gimmie Christmas version!
Here is a video of the game in action, there are videos and photos. (just 2 minutes)
After the game, review the point of the game. I often have at least one boy show me that he collected all Gimmie Gimmie cards! I say something like this as it’s a great point.
“One boy showed me he collected all Gimmie Gimmie cards! I’m not going to say who, but you know who you are! I think he missed the point of the game, or, maybe he did it because he realized it was easier to collect Gimmie Gimmie cards since everyone was trying to get rid of them. So it was easier. You know, the same is true in life – The Gimmie Gimmies are easier! It’s always easier to forcus on what you want, than on what you already have.”
SIT or STAND Game.
Next, explain that there are times to be thankful and times when it is hard. Start the SIT or STAND PowerPoint (linked below) and say, we are going to play another game where everyone gets to play. I’m going to show you some situations on the screen, and if you should be thankful, stand up. If you wouldn’t be thankful, sit down.
It’s best if you prep ahead of time and know the questions, because you can lead from one to the next. Use your tone of voice to suggest thankfulness or unthankfulness, but don’t say whether it was right or wrong to stand or sit, just acknowledge, “a lot of you are thankful” or “I see many of you aren’t thankful.” At the end of the PowerPoint it is revealed that God says to be thankful in ALL circumstances.
Talk about what this means. (The next few slides will help.)
Point out that this doesn’t mean we are thankful FOR bad things that happen, but thankful IN those situations knowing that God is in control. You can also talk about Jeremiah 29:11 which talks about the good plan God has for our life, or use James 1:3-4 that talks about considering trials joy as they will lead to perseverance and making us mature and complete. You may even want to mention in I Corinthians 1:3-4 where Paul talks about how we can encourage others who are going through what we have gone through.
Challenge kids to not just be thankful for the obvious things, but even for the hard things and even hard people in our lives, because God is using those things to make us a better person!
I wore my “Turkey Hat” during the lesson – it’s a fun intro since as soon as you go up, the kids start laughing. Ask them what they are laughing at, and they will all yell about the Turkey on your head. You can say, “Who you calling a turkey?” Act like you don’t know what they are trying to tell you, and say, “A turkey? Where?” Look around and as they point at your head, act like you think they are pointing behind you. It will drive them nuts. Finally find it and say, “This turkey’s gonna get cooked for that!”
Then, during the closing prayer, I had a bag at my feet with bible, props, etc. and switched to my cooked turkey hat during the end of the prayer. The looks on their faces when they open their eyes and your turkey hat is now a cooked turkey, is priceless! Then say, “I told you that turkey was gonna get cooked!”
Perhaps you can use these ideas and resources!