Thank you God
Here are some ideas for each page of the book:
1. Thank you God.
- Tell your child that this book is all about thanking God, that is, “saying thank you to God”.
- You could ask, “What do you think those girls might like to thank God for?”
- As I wrote this book, I was challenged myself about my level of thankfulness each day. Hopefully this book will help you to grow an attitude of
thankfulness in both you and your child.
- As you turn this first page, you can say something like, “Let’s see some things we can thank God for…”
2. Thank you God for people who love me.
- I know that in everyone’s life, there are a whole different set of people who love us. So I’m deliberately leaving it open for you to
complete by telling your child (or asking them) the people who love them (eg. “Nanna loves you. We can thank God for Nanna.”) You could mention
one person each time you read it. “Let’s think of someone who loves you. We can thank God for them.”
- For a really little one, you might begin with parents and siblings. Then later on, extended family and friends.
3. Thank you God for friends to play with.
- The definition of a friend in a child’s eyes is often someone they play with (or at least see).
- In the case of babies and toddlers, there might not be a lot of interaction with ‘friends’. But friends are babies and children they
see. And friends may be of varying ages (like in the photo).
- Is your child old enough to say the names of any of his or her friends? Each time you read this page you could mention one friend by name (and thank God for them).
- You can talk about the photo asking questions like: “What are the children playing? Where are they? What do you like playing with your
- You can ask an older child “Why do we thank God for friends?”
4. Thank you God for food to eat.
- This photo is showing us real food coming out of the ground where it grew—partly so that your child can see where vegetables come from.
- You can talk about other foods that grow in the ground like carrots. God made them and he made them grow.
- See if your child can name anything else in the photo.
- Talk about foods that grow on trees, vines, bushes… (i.e. not in the ground).
- Can you take your child to see a vegetable garden? Do you know someone with a vegetable garden? Or maybe just a fruit tree? Or a passionfruit vine?
- Maybe you could find pictures showing different vegetables and fruit growing.
- When shopping for fruit and vegetables, point out and name some of them. Or you can ask your child questions like: “What’s a vegetable
you can see? Can you see a banana? Where are the carrots?”
- You can ask an older child “Why do we thank God for our food?”
- Before you eat, it’s wonderful to thank God for the food. You could say a very simple prayer, for example, “Dear God, thank you for
this food. Amen”. You could name one of the foods you are about to eat. Perhaps you could begin a prayer which your child finishes, for example,
“Thank you God for…” (and they might finish with “food”, “dinner”, “lunch”). Over time, they might be
able to pray by themselves (thus it’s helpful if you model simple prayers first).
5. Thank you for water to drink.
- This is a deliberately simple photo and yet a springboard for lots of chats.
- For a really little one, each time you read it you might simply point to the water as you read it. Or you could point to taps in your home and say
“tap” and when it’s turned on say “water”, thus making the connection with your child’s world.
- When you pour water from a tap into a drinking cup or bottle, you could sometimes say “We can thank God for water to drink.”
- Water is something that many children (and adults) in the world take for granted—growing up in homes with multiple taps and a plentiful water
supply (which is clean and doesn’t make them sick). The reality is that many children in the world can only dream of having a tap and many parents
would love to have safe water. Maybe you’d like to talk to your child about your family donating some money to help an aid agency to provide clean
- You can ask an older child “Why thank God for water?”
- Talk to your child about all the things we use water for. It’s quite a list!
- Maybe each time you read this page you (or your child) can think of one thing we use water for.
- If you want to, for an older child, you can then extend this to talk about what if we didn’t have water? What if we didn’t have a
tap—how would we get water? How can we pray for children who don’t have a tap and who don’t have safe/clean water (explain what
‘safe’ or ‘clean’ water is)? Then you could pray for them.
- Another way of approaching this page is to ask questions about the photo like: “Whose hands are they? What do you think the child is doing
with the water? Where do you think the child lives? Does this tap look like it’s outside or inside (see the leaf bottom right)? If their homes
don’t have inside taps, and this tap is for a group of families to use, how do they get the water to wash? And drink?”
- Let’s help our children to be thankful for water, and for taps, and to pray for the children who don’t have taps for water. You can
begin with, “Let’s thank God that we have water.”
6. Thank you God for all the things I can see that you have made.
- This photo was changed multiple times before publication. It started off as a far more scenic vista. But scenic vistas probably aren’t things
we often see!
- Ask your child what is in the picture. For a really little one, when looking at this page you might simply say, “Thank you God
for…grass (point to it)”. Each time say something different.
- Ask an older child about the hens. Why can we thank God for hens (hint—eggs)?
- Ask your child to think of something else God has made (that they have seen) and they can thank God for.
- When you are out and see something God has made that is of interest, you can respond with something like “we can thank God for”.
7. Thank you God for butterflies and flowers.
- To see butterflies and intricate flowers, we need to look around a little more carefully than say for trees or grass.
- When you go for a walk or go to a park, look out for things that you can thank God for. Tiny things like ladybirds. Pretty flowers. Autumn leaves.
A nest in a tree. Bright green blades of grass. Encourage your child to notice things. Allow time to look around and explore. When praying at home, your
child (or you for a really little one) can thank God for what they saw.
- One idea is to ask your child “What’s something outside (or inside, in the park, where we live etc) that we can thank God for
8. Thank you God for animals.
- There are lots of animals! Each time you read, your child could think of a different animal.
- For really little ones, you can name an animal, and you could make the noise the animal makes. Or do an action for that animal. Or name an animal
and your child makes the noise.
- For bigger ones you could ask them to think of a…tall, little, big, slow etc…animal.
9. Thank you God for fun times.
- Help your children to thank God for things that aren’t physical objects that can be pointed to: experiences; fun; time with friends and
- Thank God for simple things—running on grass, playing with friends…
- “What’s something fun you did today?” “What’s something we/you did today that we can thank God for?”
- Also thank God for the people they were with.
10. Thank you God for smiles and laughs and hugs.
- These photos are rather special. What can you talk about with your child as you look at these photos?
- You could have a special hug as you read this page.
- An older child could think of something funny to say to make you laugh, or you could think of something funny to say (or do) to make your child
- For a really little one, maybe just a quick tickle?
- Also talk about smiles. And thank God for the people who give us laughs and hugs.
11. Thank you God that I can talk to you and thank you that you hear me.
- It’s wonderful that little ones can talk to God—we call talking to God ‘praying’.
- God wants us to talk to him.
- God can hear us when we talk to him—wherever we are (outside or inside) and any time of the day or night.
- Model short (one sentence at first), simple prayers, using simple vocabulary.
- Encourage your child to say “Amen” at the end (when you do).
- When appropriate (given their age and development) you could encourage your child to say a prayer themselves or finish a prayer that you start,
after you have talked about what they could say (eg. You say “Thank you God for…” and they finish).
- Talk to your child about what and who you/they can pray for.
12. Thank you God for your book, the Bible. Thank you that I can learn in the Bible about Jesus and about how much you love me.
- We can so easily thank God just for the things we see or do and people we know. But also cultivate a sense of thankfulness to God for the Bible and
for being able to learn about Jesus in the Bible.
- Tell your child that the Bible tells us all about Jesus so it’s a very important book.
- Show your child your Bible. If you don’t have a Bible I encourage you to get one.
13. Psalm 118 verse 1, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good, and his love is eternal.’ (Eternal means it lasts forever and ever. God’s
love never ends.)
- ‘Lord’ means God.
- There are so many things we can be thanking God for: he is good, he is loving and his love never ends, never stops.
- There are many, many more things about God that we can be thanking him for—share these with your child when appropriate at their age and
understanding and thank God for the great God he is.
14. Thank you God that there are so many things to thank you for. Please help me to remember to say “Thank you” God.
- Encourage thankfulness—look for things to thank God for and make it a habit to say ‘thank you’ to God either then or at a special
time in the day. I asked my friend Nathan (age 7) what we could thank God for. His answer was ‘oxygen’ (he explained how we really need oxygen)
and ‘paper’ (we need paper to make the books). I asked my son when he was 2 (at the time of writing he is 20) what we could thank God for, and
one night he said “We can thank God for blue” (as in, the colour blue). Both Nathan and my son thought of things that I wouldn’t have
thought of to thank God for! There are so many things to thank God for!
- You could express both praise and thanks to God, for instance, “Dear God, you are very clever to make…butterflies (flowers, centipedes,
rainbows etc). Thank you God. Amen.”
- Remember to thank God for Jesus.
- Think how thankfulness can become a natural part of life for your child from a very young age. It’s easy for children in my part of the world
to have high expectations as to what they can or should have and to be ever asking for things rather than thanking God for what they have.
- Why a photo with a cardboard box? Lots of reasons. Here are some:
- often young children can surprise us by being enthusiastic about unexpected things (like the box rather than the gift in the box)
- cardboard boxes are lots of fun for imaginary play (they can be a boat, car, plane, house, cave, cubby house…). They are something to be
thankful for. (But please check the suitability and safety of a box before your child plays with it—look out for things like staples.)
- many children have very little and would love to have a cardboard box to play with
- some regard a cardboard box as garbage, while some live in houses partly made of cardboard (a friend of mine met such a person—a lady living
in slums in Lima, Peru)
- You can have a significant impact on your child’s attitude (from a young age and as they grow) towards possessions, generosity, expectations
- Be on the lookout for things that we can thank God for. And remember to say ‘Thank you God’.
Making your own ‘Thank you God’ book
Idea #1 Thank you God photo book
It would be great to make your own ‘Thank you God’ book.
Take photos of people, places and things known to your child—people, places and things that are part of their lives and they can thank God for. For
example, family members, friends, a local park, a tree in/near your street, a tap in your home, water in your child’s cup/bottle, one or more of
their meals, your child’s favourite fruit, their bed…
You could put the photos in a mini album or a book with a caption for each photo (either on the facing page or below each photo), eg. “Thank you God
for Grandad”, “Thank you God for my bed.”, “Thank you God for yummy apples”.
Idea #2 Thank you God pages for prayer
During the day your child might be interested in drawing, pasting or colouring* a picture of something to thank God for. You can write at the top of the
page: “Thank you God for…”.
Then when you pray sometime later in the day, you could use the page for your child to say (if old enough) or you to say, for example, “Thank you God
for apples. Amen.” This page, along with others like it, can go in a book that you use when you pray. Your child can choose what to thank God for
that day and turn to that page. As it’s a ‘picture book’ they don’t need to be able to read to use it.
* For a really little one, you can draw simple pictures for your child to colour in. Remember that their ‘colouring’ is more like
‘scribbling’! So it really doesn’t matter how lacking in artistic talent your drawings are.
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