Sometimes as adults, we like to make things more complicated than necessary. Whether it is trying to explain a math problem to a child or how to build something, I know I tend to overcomplicate even the simplest things. (It shouldn't be so difficult to explain to my kiddos how to multiply or how to do a simple craft!)
This idea definitely applies to our values and gestures. Kindness, giving, gratitude and respect - all great values we want to instill in our kids. But sometimes, we try to think of some extravagant way to show them how they can make a difference in someone's life. We forget that it's the simple things, the smallest acts that can make the biggest difference.
There are three different principles we need to remember about teaching kids kindness.
Show kids that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can make an impact on someone’s life
Let them see how kindness acts comes in all different forms - from kind interactions to monetary donations to making items to help others
It doesn’t matter how big or small of an act you do, the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference.
So what are some kid-friendly ideas that you can instantly do with your kids? Here is a simple guide to 5 Kid-Friendly Acts of Kindness that you can do in less than 30 minutes.
1) Smile at 5 people walking down the street - so simple yet so powerful. Has that happened to you? When you are just walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street, someone just gives you a friendly smile. It changes your mood, it brightens your day a little bit. When I'm walking my dog, if I ever pass somebody, I always make sure I say good morning or good afternoon - just to make a warm a friendly gesture.
2) Leave a note for a neighbor or friend - the days of handwritten letters and notes seem to be outnumbered. But don't you get pretty excited when you receive a hand-written note or card? I often tell my kids how I loved having a penpal and receiving letters every few weeks. But in this world of technology - handwritten letters are just not as common. As part of our attempt to instill kindness in our kids, I had my kids write a handwritten note to our neighbor. And almost immediately after getting the letter - the girls received a phone call from our neighbor thanking them for their sweet gesture and how this simple act made her day!
3) Buy coffee for the person behind you - this is always a fun one! First, it's fun for kids to see the immediate response of their kindness act. Secondly, there's always the chance that the person who got the free coffee ends up paying it forward to the next customer. This act of kindness becomes a great lesson to kids that a little bit of kindness can go a long way!
4) Paint a rock for The Kindness Rock Project. In our Giving Artfully Kids classes, the kindness rocks is one our students favorite. The goal of the Kindness Rock Project is to "inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way". It's a creative, simple yet meaningful powerful kindness act. I've seen the reaction of people walking by and seeing some of the rocks our students had made - priceless. We typically paint the rocks a solid color, let it dry. Then decorate with inspirational words and fun patterns. We then cover with Modge Podge to seal the paint.
5) Make a dog toy or cat toy and donate to your local animal shelter. Another favorite for our students and this is a great project because kids can hand deliver these projects to the animal shelter. Some fun ideas include using old t-shirts or fleece to make pull toys or using yarn to make pom poms for kittens. When you join the Giving Artfully Kids Facebook group - we have more tutorials like the one below showing how to use fleece strips to make an awesome sturdy dog pull toy.
We've created some FREE PDF downloads that you can share with your kids. There is a 8.5" x 11" Standard Letter download as well a 800px x 2000px Infographic.
We also created a free guide for teachers to you with their classroom.
We hope you enjoy our Kid-Friends Acts of Kindness Guides and please leave us a comment to let us know how your kids enjoyed the kindness acts!