One of the most rewarding parts of being a parent, educator, or caregiver is watching a child grow into a kind and compassionate person. Fostering these values in children from a young age not only shapes their character but can also empower them to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others. In anticipation of Giving Tuesday, a global day of charitable giving, we’ve compiled a variety of kindness activities for kids, tailored to different age groups.
Teaching the importance of empathy and generosity is important at any age, and we hope these suggestions can inspire meaningful experiences for the whole family.
Support the Children’s Museum this Giving Tuesday
Your donation directly supports families and children throughout Sonoma County, ensuring access to the enriching learning experiences here, at the Children’s Museum.
Now through December 31, every dollar donated to our Giving Tuesday fundraiser will be generously doubled by our board members.
Kindness Activities for Preschoolers
Preschoolers are like little sponges, absorbing the world around them with boundless curiosity and infectious enthusiasm. The activities listed below can be a great starting point for introducing children to acts of kindness in a simple and enjoyable way, laying the foundation for a lifetime of compassion and care.
“Kindness Rocks” Art Project for Kids
Introduce your little learners to the beauty of kindness with this creative art activity for kids! This heartwarming project transforms simple rocks into beautifully painted “tokens of kindness”. The goal is to spread positivity and joy by sharing art with others or strategically placing Kindness Rocks in the community for people to find.
- Smooth rocks
- Paint in various colors
- Paint brushes
- Water cups
- A permanent marker or paint pen
How to Make Kindness Rocks
- Gather a good collection of smooth rocks.
- Set up a painting station.
- Encourage your kiddo to paint each rock with colorful and uplifting designs.
- Let all the rocks dry completely.
- While drying, brainstorm some kind words or messages to write on each rock.
- Once dry, use a marker to write your messages of kindness on each rock.
- Discuss the idea of spreading kindness while giving your Kindness Rocks to friends and family or while placing them in public spaces for others to discover.
Painting Kindness Rocks not only fosters creativity in young children but also introduces them to the joy of giving. The act of giving them to loved ones or strategically placing these rocks in your neighborhood can also help children visualize the impact of spreading positivity and kindness.
Kindness Gnomes on the Roam
Kindness Gnomes are a delightful activity designed to encourage acts of kindness! Inspired by the popular Elf on the Shelf concept, these friendly gnomes serve as magical messengers of goodwill, leaving behind daily suggestions for heartwarming acts of kindness.
- Colorful construction paper
- Markers or crayons
- Small gnome figurines or plush toys (optional)
- A postcard (optional)
Kindness Gnomes on the Roam Activity:
1. Prepare for Your Gnome’s Arrival: Thankfully, Kindness Gnomes never show up unannounced, they always send a postcard first:
- Using a postcard or a piece of construction paper, write a short note from the Gnomes to your little ones letting them know when they will be arriving and what to expect.
- If you don’t have a Gnome figurine or plushy, that’s fine! Nobody knows what the Tooth Fairy looks like either…
2. Make Your Act of Kindness Notes: Every night the Kindness Gnomes leave an Act of Kindness suggestion for children to find:
- Prepare small notes or cards containing daily kindness suggestions.
- Suggestions can include “Share a favorite item with a friend,” “Give someone a warm hug,” or “Say something kind to someone around you.”
3. Prepare Congratulation Cards: For each act of kindness completed, the Gnomes will also leave a letter of congrats with a reminder to keep an eye out for the next suggestion, or a clue to where the next one will be.
4. Gnome’s Arrival: Place the Kindness Gnomes and/or their note in different areas each day for kids to discover:
- Read the kindness notes aloud and encourage your kiddos to participate in completing it.
5. Congratulation Cards: After they have completed the act of kindness for the day, the Gnomes will leave them a note of congratulation on their pillow, or bedside table for them to read before bed.
Kindness Gnomes not only spark creativity and imagination but also cultivate values such as empathy and generosity. By practicing small daily acts of kindness, children learn the joy of being kind to others and see the positive impact their actions can have on others.
Kindness Activities for Elementary School Kids
Elementary school is a crucial time in a child’s development where they typically become more self-sufficient in their own daily routines and develop deeper emotional intelligence. It’s the perfect opportunity to use kindness activities to help teach them about the power of their actions and to foster a positive outlook and appreciation for everyday things.
The activities in this section are meant to encourage gratitude and engage kids in meaningful acts of kindness that align with their growing awareness of the world.
Start a Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is a great way to help children develop a positive mindset and appreciation for the good things in their lives. It allows them to focus on the positive aspects of their daily experiences, and cultivates a sense of mindfulness, promoting mental resilience and overall happiness.
- Notebook or journal
- Colored pens, markers, or pencils
How to Start a Gratitude Journal
- Explain the idea of gratitude, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and appreciating positive aspects in everyday things.
- Allow kids to pick a notebook or journal that they like and decorate it to make the experience more engaging.
- Encourage them to set aside a specific time each day to reflect on and record moments, people, or things they are grateful for.
By following these steps, children can embark on a journey of self-reflection and positivity, reaping the emotional and mental benefits of cultivating gratitude in their daily life. This activity can also encourage them to carry the mindset of gratitude beyond the journal, making it more habitual to focus on positive aspects of their day in various situations.
DIY Donation Drive
A DIY donation drive is a productive and engaging way to help instill values like generosity, compassion, and gratitude. Children choose some of their gently used toys, clothes, or books and donate them to a local charity as a way to help bring joy to others.
- Gently used toys, clothes, or books
- Donation box or bags
What to do:
- Start by discussing the idea of donating items to help others in need and explain how their contributions can have a positive impact on the lives of other people.
- Encourage kids to actively participate in choosing which items they want to donate.
- Assist them in packing the chosen items into a donation box or bags.
- Research and choose a local charity or donation center together. Discuss the types of support the charity provides and how their donations will be used to benefit others.
- Have them come with you to drop off the donations so they can see the process from start to finish.
A DIY donation drive reinforces the idea that even small acts of kindness contribute to creating a more compassionate and caring community. By involving children in choosing, organizing, and physically donating their own items, they also gain firsthand experience in making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Kindness Activities for Middle School Kids and Older
Middle school is a period of transition for many children, where they usually begin to truly discover their identities, strengths, and values. As caregivers, we have the opportunity to empower the potential leaders of tomorrow by helping them channel their energy in positive ways today.
These activities are designed to inspire kids to take initiative, fostering a sense of social responsibility and encouraging them to use their skills to become positive change-makers in their communities.
Organize a Clean-Up Project
Organizing a clean-up project is a rewarding way for kids to learn about the importance of environmental responsibility firsthand. By picking up trash and litter around the neighborhood, our younger community members also get to witness the impact of collective effort in creating positive change.
Disclaimer to Adults: Before beginning, make sure children are aware of specific materials they should never pick up or try to dispose of on their own. Always actively supervise children while participating in a clean-up project.
- Trash bags
- Protective gloves, clothing, and footwear
- Grabbers or tongs for picking up litter
How to Organize a Clean-Up Project
- Identify a suitable location for the clean-up project, such as a local park, creek, or beach.
- Walk around the area gathering as much litter as you can.
- Make sure to keep trash and recyclables in separate bags.
- Gather all the filled trash bags and dispose of them properly.
Encouraging kids to participate in a clean-up project not only fosters a sense of environmental responsibility but also showcases the power of collective action.
Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
Challenge your pre-teens to spread kindness in the most unexpected places with a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. This kindness activity for kids encourages them to reflect on their skills and capabilities and use them to perform acts of kindness for friends and family.
- A day planner or journal to write down the act of kindness completed that day
How to Participate in the Random Acts of Kindness Challange:
- Discuss the purpose of the challenge: perform random acts of kindness to help spread positivity and make a difference in the lives of others.
- Brainstorm some personal strengths and skills to start generating ideas for different acts of kindness.
- Set a personal goal and time frame for the number of acts of kindness to complete during the challenge.
- Journal every random act of kindness completed with reflections on the experience, feelings, and maybe even the reactions of the people who were helped.
The Random Acts of Kindness Challenge encourages kids to actively practice empathy and compassion in their daily lives. Helping others can also provide kids with the opportunity to recognize and celebrate their unique strengths and talents. This challenge can also help them develop a deeper sense of purpose beyond their immediate wants and needs, fostering a sense of compassion and community.
Spark a Lifelong Love of Learning with a Giving Tuesday Gift
From nurturing values like empathy and compassion to honing essential life skills, the impact of practicing kindness in early childhood is immeasurable. By imparting these values, we can pave the way for a future generation that is caring, passionate, and equipped to contribute positively to the world.
The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is dedicated to providing a safe and accessible space for children of all ages to play, explore, and learn about the world around them. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the support of our visitors, members, volunteers, and donors to make that possible. This Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to double the joy, laughter, learning, and connection that happens here every day.
Your donation directly supports families and children throughout Sonoma County, ensuring access to the enriching learning experiences here, at the Children’s Museum. Every dollar donated before December 31 will be generously doubled by our board members. Together, we can continue to inspire a lifelong love of learning for the children in our community and a brighter future for us all.