Journey to the Gratitude Garden or Viaje al jardín de la gratitud is without a doubt one of the best Thanksgiving activities for kids that I have seen. Leanna at All Done Monkey created this activity and has generously agreed to let me share it here for Spanish learners.
Please refer to Journey to the Gratitude Garden: Activity for Thanksgiving on All Done Monkey for a detailed description of how to do this wonderful activity. Then come back to see how to adapt it for Spanish learners.
El viaje al jardín de la gratitud combines two Thanksgiving activities for kids: making a thankfulness tree, a craft you may be familiar with, and then acting out a journey through dangerous places to reach the The Gratitude Garden. For Spanish learners, I have also add a story version of the activity before kids do it.
These Thanksgiving activities for kids help children understand the concept of gratitude and also why it is so important. In the game and story, being thankful is the key to reaching happiness. I think this is an activity adults should do too!
The Gratitude Game and Story
In addition to teaching why gratitude is important, these Thanksgiving activities for kids combine to make a wonderful language learning experience. These are a few of the reasons El viaje al jardín de la gratitud is effective with language learners:
- You can tell the activity as a story to set the stage. I do this to increase comprehension provide valuable repetition. Plus, the kids help tell the story, and they think it is fabulous! You can see my props in the photo below.
- Pre-game craft, el árbol de la gratitud, lets kids work with vocabulary before producing it again as they act out the journey
- Making el árbol de la gratitud combines drawing and the target language
- Acting out the emotions links movement and meaning
- The thankfulness tree serves as support to produce the target language
- Context! This game establishes a context to use the language. Be sure to read Leanna’s explanation of how she describes the journey and how she acts out the emotions in each place with the kids.
- It’s real and relevant. This game is a representation of what children (and all of us) live. The activity condenses their experience, and that allows us condense and practice language. Kids are perceptive and recognize when what we are teaching applies to their experiences.
Doing the Thanksgiving Activities for Kids in Spanish
Here are suggestions and vocabulary for using these Thanksgiving activities for kids with Spanish learners
- When kids make el árbol de la gratitud, encourage them to draw pictures and also write the words on the leaves.
- Make pictures representing the dangerous places. These can be simple drawings. Label and hang them where you will do the activity.
- Add a few causes of negative emotions to the dangerous places drawings. Ask kids what makes them sad, angry or puts them in a bad mood.
- Tell a story with the same idea before you act it out. I use small animals and pictures, as you can see in the photo above. The story is about how the animals are lost and have to go through the dangerous places to their home in El Jardín de la Gratitud. You can make it quite dramatic as the animals are almost overtaken by sadness, bad moods and anger. The children help tell the story by calling out things they are grateful for. They love it!
- You can do this activity by acting it out in place, or you can move to different spaces representing the dangerous places.
- Practice acting out the emotions before you start: Estoy triste. Estoy enojado/a. Estoy de mal humor. Estoy feliz.
- If it fits your situation better, you can break the game into smaller segments by changing the imaginary geography of the game. The dangerous places surround the garden, so you can get there by crossing just one of them at a time. One day you go through the Sad Swamp. Another day you climb Mad Mountain. A different day you go through Frowny Forest. This lets kids repeat the words for the things they are thankful for over various days and will take less time if you are working with a short class period. It also will make these Thanksgiving activities for kids easier for beginner learners and very little children.
Spanish Vocabulary for the Thanksgiving Activities for Kids
These are the Spanish equivalents for the names in the game. In Spanish, they lose the alliteration, which is too bad, but the activity is just as fun and effective.
- El árbol de la gratitud – The Thankfulness Tree
- El jardín de la gratitud – The Gratitude Garden
- El bosque del mal humor – The Frowny Forest
- El pantano de la tristeza – The Sad Swamp
- La montaña del enojo – The Mad Mountain
You may also be interested in this post: Spanish Thanksgiving Vocabulary List and Printable Activities