Although we tend to remember to express gratitude around Thanksgiving, it is a habit that can and should be implemented daily.

This gratitude game is a fun way to practice gratitude! Based on the game pick-up sticks, the only necessary items are colored sticks and a color-coded guide (and even this is optional). When the sticks are tossed on the floor or table, each person takes a turn trying to pick up a stick without making any of the other sticks move. If a player is successful, he names two things for which he is grateful based on the color-coded guide. If she is not successful, she places the stick back in the pile and names one thing for which she is grateful based on the guide.

For instance, red could represent food for which a person is grateful, blue could represent actions, green could represent senses (e.g., sight, hearing, proprioception), etc. The goal is to gather as many sticks as possible to win.

Painted chopsticks could be used as sticks, but many other colored items would work as well. For instance, colored paper or silicone straws, baby spoons, paperclips, colored pencils, markers, crayons, thin wooden dowels, pipe cleaners, colored foam tubes from a foam blocks kit, etc. Wander around your home, and you will likely find objects that would work for this game.

Educationally, the gratitude game teaches the concept of categories (e.g., food, people, toys, actions, places, animals). It also teaches colors for younger children, as well as the concept of “one.” Grammatically, it can be used to teach a variety of skills. For instance, a child could practice past tense verbs (e.g., I got yellow, You chose red, It moved), inclusion of auxiliary or copular verbs (e.g., I am / You are/ He is thankful for ____), or use of present progressive tense verbs (e.g., I am choosing blue; She is picking red). A child can practice voiceless “th” in the word “thankful,” /f/ in the word “for,” or /s/ and /z/ in the words “This is (blue).” Use your creativity to identify other ways to make this game educational.

Below is a photo of a child playing the gratitude game during speech therapy and practicing use of the word “am” by saying, “ I am grateful for ….”).

Enjoy! Be creative listing all of the wonderful actions you can do, skills you have, people in your life, plants available to you, colors, smells, running water, electricity, and more! And make sure to let your playmates know you are grateful for them as well!

By Alissa Ketterling
Based on a post by


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