How to Make Gratitude Stones


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This easy, creative, and meaningful craft project is fun for kids and adults alike and can result in family and personal keepsakes. It may even become a new Thanksgiving tradition!

What You’ll Need:

♦ Smooth, flat stones of ample size to paint on, plenty for everyone participating to have several. These can be found on a walk with kids, especially near creeks, or you can pick up a bag or two very inexpensively at your local craft of dollar store. Creek rocks may also be found in bulk at some gardening centers.

♦ Soap, water, a sponge or cleaning rag, and an old toothbrush for scrubbing

♦ Acrylic paints and brushes, or paint pens in a variety of colors. Permanent marker can be used for accents. Metallic paints/markers also can be fun.

♦ Glass of water and mixing tray if using paints.

♦ Smocks and other items needed to protect from paint stains on clothing and nearby surfaces

♦ Optional: clear varnish

Caution: If very young children are about, be careful to make sure chocking hazards are kept out of reach of tiny hands, as the painted stones’ bright and beautiful colors may make them tempting to taste.


1. If you are using “found” rocks, have kids clean them of dirt and debris with soap, water, and a rag and/or toothbrush, and set them aside to dry thoroughly.

2. Prepare your crafting surface and provide smocks or any other necessities that will allow children to work freely without having to worry about ruining clothing, furniture, or other items with paint.

3. Place rocks and painting materials out in the center of the crafting area for children to choose from as inspiration.

4. Encourage children to decorate the rocks with images and/or words that represent the people/places/things they are grateful for. Before they begin, let them know that, after the rocks are dry, they will be gathered together in a bowl or arrangement as part of the holiday decorations, but that after the Thanksgiving gathering, they will be able to take their rocks home as keepsakes and/or for celebration/contemplation, or to be given as gifts. Tell them to put their initials on the backs of their rocks so they can easily be returned to their owners. You may also want to include the date.

5. Set aside the rocks to dry. You may add an optional coat of varnish for longevity.

6. Arrange stones on the Thanksgiving table along with candles and fall foliage to create a centerpiece. Or put them in a bowl to pass around during a sharing time for expressing thanksgivings, discussing what each stone represents to them.

7. These beautiful stones can be brought back to future Thanksgiving celebrations and added to year after year!

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