Activities for Kindness
Kindness means being friendly, generous or considerate to ourselves and others through our thoughts, words and actions. Teaching kindness has a positive influence on a range of academic, health, and social outcomes for kids. When kindness is taught in school, children experience increased self-esteem, increased motivation to learn, improved attendance, and decreased bullying and violence. One of the most effective ways of teaching gratitude and kindness is by providing children with opportunities to be thoughtful and giving to people, animals, and nature. Helping others is known to increase happiness, promote positive behaviors, and improve self-esteem for children and adults alike. Studies also show kids who engage in random acts of kindness are more likely to be accepted by their peers. Their good deeds improve their well-being and help them develop positive perceptions of their world.
Kindness Activities for the Holiday Season (or anytime)
Make some gifts in the kitchen
Cooking up gifts is fun and meaningful way to help teach kids about giving! It also fosters developmental skills including executive functioning, motor planning, following directions, and sensory exploratio
- Bake and decorate cookies for your friends or neighbors.
- Help prepare and deliver a dinner for a family with new baby or an older adult in your neighborhood.
- Make a pomander ball. This a fun, multi-sensory experience. Here is an excellent tutorial.
- Salt dough ornaments or keepsake gifts for family and friends. Try baking then painting with watercolors for a beautiful finish. Salt dough tutorial here.
- Hot cocoa mix a mason jar make delightful gifts for friends and neighbors. Check out Pinterest for excellent jar decorating ideas to make it extra special.
Make your own greeting cards
Friends and family members love receiving homemade cards because they are thoughtful and special. If you are using scrap materials then you are also being kind to the environment. To make your own cards, fold recycled paper in half or up-cycle and old card. You can also purchase recycled Sustainable Blank Greeting Cards Sustainable Blank Kraft Greeting Cards with Envelopes (100 Count for less than $20). Making your own cards is fun and the experience provides opportunity to practice fine motor skills.
- Cut shapes (e.g. peace symbol, tree, moon, star) from wrapping paper scraps and glue them to a folded piece of paper (DIY card). You could even cut out snowflakes!
- Make your own potato stamp of a snowman or anything that reminds you of the holiday(s) you celebrate this time of year.
- Handprints. They are simple, beautiful, and everyone loves them.
- Color an image using a white crayon then paint with watercolors over the top to reveal the image. These cards turn out beautiful! Here's a tutorial.
SUPER KIND ACTIVITY BONUS: Save extra cards to mail to essential workers and/or other people you are grateful for (Dolly Parton perhaps), as well as to seniors you know (or don't know) who might really be happy to receive a card in the mail!
Giving to people, animals, and nature in need is special way to show kindness. Children can participate in gathering canned food for a food bank, pet food for a shelter, blankets and jackets for the homeless, gently used books for the library, and clothes in good condition for low-income families. Passing along used items in good condition is a way to also care for nature and our planet's resources. When your child packs a box or bag full of items and helps to carry them to the car, they will be using motor skills and feeling the sensation of carrying weight which assists in developing proprioceptive senses. Alternatively, your child could choose to donate money to a cause that is meaningful to them (for example: coral reefs, rainforest, elephants, wild cats, racial justice, and so on).
Perform Random Acts of Kindness
Completing random acts of kindness with your child will teach them how to be generous, compassionate, and giving, and could be key to helping them recognize opportunities to show kindness later in life.
Spread some cheer
- Give compliments
- Smile at people you see
- Tell a joke
- Give a big, strong hug.
Do a chore for someone
- Help clean up a mess you didn't make,
- Offer to carry in groceries
- Help mom or dad around the house
- Take in the trash for a neighbor.
Be kind to animals
- Spend a little extra time nursing your family pet(s),
- Take your neighbors dog for a walk.
- Learn about endangered species and what you can do the help protect them.
Surprise a friend
- Pass on some favorite clothes to a friend who is smaller than you. Fold them and put them in a nice bag with a note.
Be kind to nature
Learn how to take care of mama Earth, the planet needs us more now than ever.
- Help with recycling
- Clean up litter at your local park or beach
- Learn about zero waste ideas and make some changes in your household
- Make your own recycled wrapping paper for holiday gifts and birthday presents.
Be kind to yourself
-Model being kind to yourself as a parent.
-Practice self love as a parent and try to instill that in your children.
-Use growth mindset language. Try to help children rephrase negative self talk with growth mindset language. Learn more here
For more inspiration check out: