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Giving Thanks and Giving Back

While Thanksgiving is a special day for many families to celebrate and honor traditions, it can also be a wonderful opportunity to teach little kids how to become more aware of themselves and others. Even the word “Thanksgiving” can be understood in two ways – showing “thanks” while also “giving” to others. How can we as parents model or encourage these values in our little kids?

Especially at such a young age, giving thanks begins by developing kids’ awareness of self and helping them to identify and express their feelings, like gratitude. Then, you can help instill the importance of giving back by building their awareness of others and an understanding of empathy. Here are some fun, engaging ways that kids and grown-ups can start to foster these thoughts and actions together this Thanksgiving.


How Kind is Your Child?

Take this parent quiz, and get personalized recommendations on how to boost your little learner’s social & emotional skills.


Thanksgiving Toolkit

From table manners and cooking together to managing big feelings, Noggin’s interactive games, engaging activities, and learning videos help prep your little one for the big holiday!

Learn Together

Expressing feelings & developing empathy

PAW Patrol

Feeling Faces: Rubble

Identifying and expressing feelings can be challenging for young ones. This interactive game with Rubble helps them to work out how he is feeling and learn to express their own emotions as well.


Feelings & Friendship

These little classmates are having big feelings! Your kids can practice empathy as they try to understand how each character is feeling and discover ways to make them feel better.

Create Together

Giving thanks and giving back


Grateful Jar

Inspired by Noggin’s original video Grateful Jar, create your own with your family!


Giving Tree

Inspire kids to give back with a fall-inspired tree project.


School of Yum Recipe Cards

Cooking is a delicious, fun way for the whole family to bond and learn together, especially during the holidays.

More Ideas

We reached out to the parents on our Noggin team for ways they give thanks with their children!

"My family always makes a big drawing that everyone who’s there for Thanksgiving contributes to, adding things that we are all thankful for. Then we put the finished artwork up on the wall! It’s always a lot of fun and a nice creative activity we can all participate in."

Emma Assin

Director of Authoring

“My mom started a gratitude jar years back and each day she'd write down something new she was grateful for (from that day or more generally) and put it in. Then, at Thanksgiving, she shook out the jar, and we read through all of the little moments.”

Jennifer Treuting

Supervising Producer

“We draw a turkey with my daughter and cut out feathers from construction paper and on each feather write down one thing she says she's thankful for.”

Brittany Sommer Katzin

Director of Learning & Impact

Thanksgiving Tool Box

All the skills they need for the day

Baby Shark

Wash Your Hands with Baby Shark and Friends

Motivate your kids to wash their hands to help you cook or before the big feast

Noggin Short

Winner at Dinner

Encourage good manners at the dinner table

JoJo and Gran Gran

It's Time for a Special Visitor

Someone visiting from out of town, help your kid understand the importance of welcoming your visitor and that what makes it a special time is that you can spend time with family

Where to Get Started

From volunteering your time to donating books, toys or clothes, there are many opportunities for your family to reach out to others. If you are looking for ways to get started, here are some organizations Noggin partners with:  

Give Noggin a Try

Kid-safe & ad-free

Accessible on multiple devices

New content added weekly

Downloadable books & games for offline play

Kid-safe & ad-free

New content added weekly

Accessible on multiple devices

Downloadable books & games for offline play

Here's What You Need

Decorate the jar or container together using any craft materials.

Use child-friendly scissors to cut sheets of paper into smaller slips, then help kids write or draw things that they’re grateful for on each one. Leave the jar and paper somewhere central where they can add to it over a few days.

On Thanksgiving, or any day your family chooses, read them all aloud together!