Set Your Thanksgiving Table with a Devotion and Art Activity Based on Saying Grace by Jean-Simeon Chardin

Let’s set our Thanksgiving table with a cute children’s art activity and devotion that will encourage your family to thank God for all their blessings. 

As always, there’s a cute Molly the Artsy Corgi picture at the end with more things you can do.

The Devotion

Let’s look again at Chardin’s painting, Saying Grace, the moment when the children are thanking God for their meal.

Saying Grace, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1744, The Hermitage, public domain

Do you think this is a special day or a normal one when the mother has called the children from their play for lunch or supper?

What food has the mother cooked?

That’s right–just a normal day with a simple meal of soup, but the mother and children are taking time to fold their hands and thank God for providing for their daily needs, as Jesus teaches us to do in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11).

You may need to explain that in the Lord’s Prayer, “our daily bread” symbolizes all our daily needs.

Read James 1:17 and ask children to list some of the daily needs and blessings God provides for them.

Read Luke 18:15-17 and point out that, like the people in the Bible, the mother in the painting is teaching her children that they can go to Jesus to talk with Him and thank Him for His care. They don’t have to wait until they’re older.

Invite your children to tell about a time they went to Jesus with a prayer.

Chardin could have shown the mother saying grace before the meal, but his focus is on the children, perhaps to emphasize that we are all like children, dependent on God, who made us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture, and we must come humbly into His presence with thanksgiving and praise for His loving care.

Read Psalm 100 together.

We know we don’t need to fold our hands or close our eyes to talk to God, but the mother has taught her children to sometimes fold their hands like this for prayer.

We see this same position in the iconic Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer. It’s as if our hands become a church steeple pointing to God, which may just remind us that we can always look up to our heavenly Father who is good and whose love endures forever (Psalm 100:5).

Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, public domain

Prayer: We praise you, Lord, that we are the sheep of your pasture. Thank you that we can bring every need to you, and you love and provide for us each day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Art Project, Praying Hands

Praying hands for thanksgiving table

This simple project will remind your children that their praying hands can be like a steeple pointing to God as we bring our praises and requests to Him.

It can be done with crayons in about 15 minutes, so could be a simple project to engage children as they wait for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But I’ll also explain an extra step you can do if you have time and don’t mind a little mess.

 At the Thanksgiving table guests may write prayer requests or praises on slips of paper and put these in the bottom of the bag under the praying hands.

Supplies:

  • brown, white, or Thanksgiving-motif paper lunch bags
  • scissors
  • pencils
  • glue
  • crayons or markers
  • Tempera paint, a largish brush, and paper towels if you want to do the extra step

Directions

  1. Place a folded paper bag flat on the table with the folded bottom of the bag facing up
  2. Have child place his or her hand flat on the bag with finger tips pointed toward the top of the bag and their wrist at the upper edge of the folded bag bottom
  3. With a pencil, trace around the child’s hand
  4. Keeping the bag folded, cut in from the sides of the bag (just above the folded bag bottom) to the child’s wrist line. Then cut up and around the traced hand (through both thicknesses of the bag) and out to the bag’s other edge on the other side of the hand
  5. The child may then decorate or color the hands. Most want to add rings, fingernails, watches, etc.
  6. Open the bag
  7. To form the praying hands, glue the tips of the fingers together. (just a little glue so you can still put things into the bottom of the bag)

The extra step:

  1. Before opening the bag, fold the two hands away from each other and the bag bottom
  2. Spread a thin layer of paint on the child’s hands and help them make hand prints on what will be the inside or palm of their praying hands
  3. They need to hold their hand still, fingers together, and just press down gently
  4. They will also need to do each hand separately so thumbs and fingers match

Helpful Hints

  • When tracing the child’s hand, have them keep their fingers mostly together, although you’ll want to draw the lines between their fingers.
  • If you’re not sure how much paint to use for the hand prints, have some scrap paper handy and do a couple trial prints

Cleanup tips

If you decide to do the hand prints, as you finish printing with each of the child’s hands, fold a paper towel into their hand to hold until you get them to wherever you’ll wash up

Before You Go

Are you looking for a kid’s devotion for fall that’s all about God’s care for butterflies and us? Visit Devokids for a children’s devotion I wrote. It’s called, Get Ready, Butterflies! Winter’s Coming!.

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for you whole family!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope this devotion and activity based on Saying Grace has been a blessing as you prepare for Thanksgiving. We put them together so you and your children would have plenty of time to go through the devotion and make the craft before Thanksgiving.  

We hope you’ll come back next time for an interview with Nancy Sanders about her new children’s book, Bedtime with Mommy.

9 thoughts on “Set Your Thanksgiving Table with a Devotion and Art Activity Based on Saying Grace by Jean-Simeon Chardin

  1. JD Wininger

    Not sure how you do it Ms. Kathy, but you bring a sense of peacefulness and inspiration to each post you write ma’am. Thank you!

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    Reply
    1. Kathy The Picture Lady Post author

      You are so kind, J.D.!Thank you for visiting. Your posts from the Cross Dubya always bring inspiration too!And I love visiting such a peaceful place with beautiful sunrises and contented creatures through your pictures and posts!

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      Reply
  2. Jeanne Takenaka

    I agree with JD. You have a way of instilling peace through your art selections, your devotions, and the activities you share. I’ve never seen this painting. I love the aspects you highlighted!

    Like

    Reply
  3. Sally Matheny

    What a cute and meaningful craft idea for children. I’ll share this with my daughter who is the director of a Christian preschool.

    Like

    Reply

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