Mealtime Blessing Placemats
‘I am nourished.
I consume mindfully and with gratitude.
I give thanks to mother earth, the provider of all things’
This activity invites your children to cultivate a practice of daily gratitude around mealtime. Children will make placemat that honors the natural world in order to remind them about the bounty it provides.
Contact paper or laminator
Construction paper, cardstock, or poster board
Crayons, oil pastels, or markers
Optional: dried flowers, magazine cut outs, photographs, paper confetti
Have a brief discussion about where food comes from. Focus the conversation on the ways the earth provides what we as humans needs to survive. Depending on the interest/maturity of your children you can discuss the financial necessities needed to access food. End the conversation by talking about the importance of having gratitude for the food we consume.
Invite your children to create a design on construction paper or cardstock that honors the food that the natural world brings. They may want to draw sun or rain, cut out pictures of magazines of food growing, or even incorporate a family photograph as a symbolic reminder that they are grateful that everyone in their family is nourished. Allow time for creative expression. The focus should be on the process of making the gratitude mat rather than the aesthetics of the final product.
Have conversations themed around gratitude while you are making the mat.
When your children are finished cover with contact paper or laminate.
Use your place mats during mealtime as a gratitude reminder.
Your child may want to write a gratitude mantra on their placemat that they can say before mealtimes. They may want to write independently, co-write with you by contributing letters or mock words, and/or dictate to you for you to scribe. Examples of mantras:
-Thank you, thank you for this food
-Thank you, Mother Earth
-In gratitude, I am nourished.
Questions to ask:
Where does food come from? What does food need to grow?
How does food get from the farm to our table?
Who are the people that help us get our food?
Why is food important?
Why is it important to be grateful for our food? How can we show gratitude?
Before making your place mat, take a moment to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Call in a state of gratitude by picturing the food you are grateful for.
This is an opportunity to develop other group mealtime rituals such as a song, prayer, or moment of silence that you give in honor of the food you eat before you eat it.