How to make a family gratitude jar using shaving cream marbled paper. A fun activity on thankfulness for your toddler or preschooler!
Help your children learn about gratitude this year by making this adorable Thankful Jar.
Toddlers and preschool-aged children are starting to learn so many new academic skills – letters, numbers, how to spell their names. One of the most important jobs we have as parents is to teach them the “other stuff”. The stuff they can’t learn by flashcards or workbooks. Things like how to be kind and caring and to appreciate what they have.
The Thanksgiving season is a perfect time to focus on teaching our preschoolers about thankfulness and gratitude.
Thanksgiving comes right in between two holidays that can cause kids to have a case of the “gimmes”. Halloween, when they want ALL the candy. And Christmas, when they want ALL the things.
Making a thankful jar is a great way to help your kids focus on feeling grateful this holiday season.
I wanted a fun way to involve my three-year-old in creating a thankful jar this year. We made marbled paper using shaving cream to use for writing down what we’re thankful for.
Here’s how my three year old and I made this super cute thankful jar.
1. Find the perfect jar
We used a large glass vase for our thankful jar.
If you have older children who might be handling the jar, you may want to use something plastic or unbreakable.
2. Make marbled paper using shaving cream
I didn’t want to just use plain paper to write down what we’re thankful for on. We made this super pretty marbled paper instead. It’s so easy to make and all you need is paper, shaving cream, and food coloring!
Spray the shaving cream onto a surface that’s big enough to fit a piece of paper.
You can use a cookie sheet, baking pan, or even just cover a table in plastic wrap and spray shaving cream directly on the plastic.
We used leftover lids from disposable baking pans. I keep a bag full of recycled products to use for art projects and craft activities (I keep egg cartons, baking pan covers that we didn’t use, empty paper towel rolls, and anything else I think might come in handy for DIY crafts with my kids).
Add food coloring.
The first time we did this, I used plant-based food coloring which didn’t work very well at all. I’d recommended sticking with regular food coloring for this project – the colors were much more vibrant!
Mix the food coloring around in the shaving cream. Spread shaving cream out on the tray or whatever surface you’re using.
Place the paper on top of the shaving cream and press down. You don’t need fancy paper. We used plain printer paper which worked great.
Scrape the excess shaving cream off the paper. For this, I used a piece of cut up cardboard.
If you want a marbled effect on both sides, you can repeat steps four and five on the other side of the paper.
Let your kids play with the shaving cream! This was my three year old’s favorite part of the activity, of course.
We’re having beautiful weather in New England right now so we did this project outside since shaving cream play can get a little messy. My daughter managed to dye her hands and legs completely orange from the food coloring but we jumped into the tub when we were done and it came right off.
If you’d rather your kids not play with the food dye, you can always give them a container of uncolored shaving cream to play with.
3. Decorate your Thankful Jar
Once you have your paper marbled, cut out a fun shape to label your thankful jar. I used a circle because it’s easy! Write your label on the cutout and punch a hole in the top. I labeled ours: Thankful Jar, but you can also call it a Gratitude Jar or Blessings Jar or whatever phrase you like.
Tie your label onto your jar with ribbon or string. I used raffia because it helped make our thankful jar look autumn-inspired.
4. Cut up the rest of your marbled paper into strips for writing
Place paper in a container with a pen next to your thankful jar.
Now you’re ready start recording what your family is grateful for.
Thankful Jar Activity
Once you have your thankful jar made, it’s time to start filling it up with gratitudes.
I like to ask my daughter what made her thankful today as were sitting down eating dinner. I also share something that I was grateful for during the day.
You can use prompts such as:
- What are you thankful for today?
- What made you happy today?
- Tell me something good that happened today.
- What did you have fun doing today?
- What made you smile today?
Since she’s only three, she sometimes tells me the same thing for multiple days. Her go-to right now is “I’m thankful for my friends!” But when she comes up with something new, I write it down and put it in the jar.
Throughout the day, if if something happens that makes me feel especially grateful or if my daughter mentions something she’s thankful for, we’ll write it down and put it in the jar.
On Thanksgiving, we plan to read all our notes on what made us thankful this year.
Read more valuable tips about teaching toddlers and preschoolers to be thankful.
When should you start using your Thankful Jar?
If you want to specifically focus on learning about thankfulness during the holiday season, you can start filling up your thankful jar after Halloween.
However, the great thing about having having a thankful jar is that you don’t have to just use it during the Thanksgiving season. You can use it any time of the year to help your family practice gratitude.
Make Your Own Thankful Jar
Make a Thankful Jar this year as a fun way to help your kids learn about being grateful. Using marbled paper made with shaving cream is a great activity that your toddler or preschooler can participate in.
What are you thankful for this year? Share it in the comments below!
Related Thanksgiving Posts:
- Thanksgiving Traditions To Start With Your Family
- Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Craft
- How To Teach Toddlers & Preschoolers To Be Thankful