It seems like every day the world and our country grow even more polarized. It makes sense, of course. No matter what side you sit on, a scroll through Facebook can leave you seething. That’s probably not going to change any time soon for grown ups. However, you can make sure that the world is kinder and more peaceful for your kids. By starting early in your efforts to teach your kids empathy and kindness, you’ll instill a need for understanding and a push for acceptance that often seems lacking from adults these days. More than anything, we want our kids to be happy, right? These kindness activities for kids will go a long way to not only making others feel better, but will also help them feel better about themselves.
We all know that giving someone a high-five or simply smiling at a stranger can make their day better. But, how do you encourage your kids to do kind things? Further down, you’ll find a list of ways your kids can spread kindness. All of these activities/games can be customized using that list, but that’s only a jumping off point.
1. Kindness BINGO
Find a printable blanket BINGO board online or make your own. Fill each box with a different kindness activity. As your kids do them, you can mark off the activities together. Once they score a straight line or complete the whole board, make sure you find a simple reward.
2. Kindness Paper Chain
If turning kindness into a game seems a little too pushy to you, but you still want a way to encourage your kids to spread kindness, a paper chain might help. You’ve probably made paper chains before to count down days until holidays or events. Or maybe you just made them to decorate for a certain event? This time around, use each link of the chain to write down a kindness activity. Each day, you guys can remove a link in the chain and work together to complete the task and spread kindness.
3. Kindness Cootie Catcher
You remember cootie catchers! Back in the day, you probably used them to guess who had crushes on you or who you were going to marry. This time, put ideas for kindness activities under each flap.
4. Collect Compliments
This one works best in a classroom, but can be done in any family. Start by having each kid write their name at the top of a notebook paper. Next, have everyone pass their paper to the person next to them. That person will write a compliment about the name at the time of the paper. Continue passing papers every minute or so until every person has left a compliment on each person’s paper. Before passing back everyone’s papers, make sure you take them back and read through them. If you have the time and resources, you might even want to type them out or find some other way to present them nicely. We did this in my fifth grade class and I carried my list of compliments around with me until I lost my wallet in 10th grade.
5. Encouragement Stones
Ever painted rocks before? Your kids probably loved it. Do that again. This time, however, add encouraging notes and affirmations in Sharpie onto the dried rocks. Next, find places to leave the encouragement stones so people will find them while playing in the park or out walking around.
6. Secret Compliment Art
Assign each person in your family, group or classroom the name of someone else. Let them use a white crayon on white paper to write a compliment and decorate the paper (write the assigned person’s name on the back in pencil or pen). Next, hand the compliment back to the assigned person. Everyone can use watercolor paints to color over their white paper and reveal their compliment.
7. Encouraging Sidewalk Chalk
Do you get a ton of Amazon shipments? Or maybe your neighborhood is full of speed walkers? Next time you send your kids out to the driveway or sidewalk with their chalk, ask them to write note of encouragement to anyone who might see their art.
8. Blizzard of Affirmations/Kindness
Making paper snowflakes. On each one, work with your kids to come up with kind sentiments or encouraging notes to write on them. Consider hanging them around the house, on the front door or all over the kitchen cabinets, so everyone takes part in the kindness blizzard.
Do you give out or donate mittens or gloves during the holidays? Next time around, let your kids write sweet notes and compliments to hide inside the finger tips. Whether the mittens are going to a specific relative or the familiar houseless person you see on the way to Target, your compliments (whether they’re personalized or generic) will bring a smile to the recipient’s face.
Kindness Activities To Try With Kids
This is just a jumping off point. Be sure to add your own to this list.
1. Give a compliment
2. Give a hug
3. Give a high five
4. Share your toy
5. Draw a kind picture of someone
6. Sit with a new kid
7. Make someone’s favorite snack
8. Bring extra to share
9. Smile to someone who looks like they’re having a bad day
10. Say hi to someone
11. Hold the door
12. Do an extra chore
13. Do someone else’s chore
14. Point out someone else’s good/hard work
15. Invite someone to sit with you
16. Make someone a card
17. Say thank you