20 Gratitude Activities for Middle School Students


Cultivating gratitude at a young age is critical for developing lifelong positive habits. Incorporating gratitude activities into the classroom has been shown to improve academic performance, emotional well-being, and overall happiness. Here, we offer 20 gratitude activities tailored specifically to middle school students.

1. Gratitude Journal

Encourage students to keep a daily journal where they can record at least three things they are grateful for each day.

2. Thank You Notes

Develop the habit of writing thank-you notes to friends, family members, and teachers for their kindness and support.

3. Gratitude Jar

Create and decorate a gratitude jar in the classroom where students can drop anonymous notes of thanks for each other or their teachers.

4. Gratitude Collage

Have students collect images of people, places, or items they are grateful for and form a collage on a poster board.

5. Gratitude Circle

Organize regular meetings where students sit in a circle and share something they’re grateful for with their peers.

6. Alphabet of Gratitude

Ask students to list something they are thankful for starting with each letter of the alphabet.

7. Themed Artwork

In art class or during free time, have students create artwork centered around the theme of gratitude.

8. Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt in which students must find items symbolizing experiences they are grateful for and explain why.

9. Class Mural of Thanks

Paint a class mural consisting of many contributions from individual students showcasing their gratitude for various aspects of their lives.

10. Sharing Time

Allocate time each week where students can share positive stories with the class, focusing on moments of gratitude and kindness.

11. Daily Highlights

At the end of each school day, encourage students to reflect on their favorite moments from the day and what they’re most thankful for having experienced.

12. Gratitude Rocks

Have students paint rocks with messages of gratitude and leave them around the school as a reminder to be thankful for everyday events.

13. Gratitude Role Play

Create a scenario where students role play a situation that demonstrates gratitude, followed by a group discussion on the importance of expressing thankfulness.

14. Gratitude Speech

Give students a chance to prepare and present a short speech on someone or something they are grateful for, with positive feedback from their peers.

15. Kind Words Bingo

Play bingo using kind words and phrases from daily life to promote a culture of appreciation.

16. ‘Grateful-For’ Tree

Help your students create a class tree that features handwritten leaves expressing gratitude for people, experiences, or objects in their lives.

17. Chain of Gratitude

Use pieces of colored paper to create an ongoing chain representing things students are grateful for. Continue adding links throughout the school year.

18. Community Outreach

Encourage acts of kindness and community service, showing gratitude by giving back to the local community or helping others in need.

19. Thankful Thursdays

Set aside Thursdays as days where the focus is on expressing gratitude in the classroom through various activities and discussions.

20. Random Acts of Kindness

Organize random acts of kindness among students in the classroom to encourage an environment of gratitude and compassion.


Incorporating these gratitude activities into your middle school classroom will not only foster positivity but will lay the foundation for emotional resilience and mindfulness throughout your students’ lives. As they learn to acknowledge, share, and embrace all they have to be thankful for, their outlook on life will continue to shine brighter.

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