Real-life parents share their best creative solutions for teaching kids to write thank-you notes to loved ones.

Over the years, your kid will have many reasons to express gratitude to loved ones, whether it's for a birthday gift, holiday surprise, or act of kindness. Getting them to sit down and write thank-you notes, however, is never easy. But the task doesn't need to be boring and tedious! Check out these fun ideas from real-life parents, which might actually get your child excited to create a thank-you note.

Thank-you notes
Credit: Illustration by Josie Portillo

Mass Produce Art Cards

My kids love to paint, so I had them make one big piece of art on the easel, and then I cut it into shapes. They wrote thank-you notes on the back of the painted pieces. — Tricia Hornback Decatur, GA

Play With the Words

We write a list of synonyms to use in our thank-you notes—marvelous, fantastic, awesome, fabulous—and the kids try to use a different one in each note. By the last letter, they have to get pretty creative! — Lorraine Lodge Timonium, MD

Write a Secret Message

My kids love writing thank-you notes using invisible ink. We make the ink by whisking a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of water, then we dip a paintbrush or cotton swab into the ink and write the message on white paper. When it dries, it turns invisible. We also include a decoder card for the recipient with instructions on how to reveal the message. One way is to place a towel underneath the note and iron it on low until the message mysteriously appears. — Melissa Richer Sheffield, Ontario, Canada

Enlist Help With Prizes

When guests arrived at my kids' birthday parties, we would ask them to write their address on an envelope. I would put the envelopes in a basket and draw a name during the party, and the winner would receive a prize. Then when it came time to write the thank-you notes, the hard part was done. — Tammy Consani Ashburn, VA

Turn Photos Into Cards

I always take lots of pictures at birthdays or holidays. The kids pick their favorite shot, and we use it to create photo cards. Sometimes we'll print a message on the cards, and sometimes I'll have the kids handwrite a special note. — Allison Tate Delran, NJ

Film the Action

After my kids got a little older and had dutifully written thank-you notes for several years, we decided to get creative. We filmed short videos of the kids using, wearing, or playing with each of the gifts they received. Just as with written notes, they addressed the giver by name, showed the item, and said why the gift was appreciated. We then sent the videos to relatives via e-mail. — Jennifer Steele Worthington, OH

All Grown Up

"I purchased personalized return address stampers for each of my girls, which makes them feel very grown-up." — Cherie Archibeque Lodi, CA

Family Fun