From helping out when someone really needs it to saying something that makes another person's day, kindness is kind of a big deal. There are lots of great kindness activities for kids to help them make positivity and compassion a lifelong habit. These are a few of our faves.
1. How We're the Same
Being kind is natural when you see how human and relatable someone else is, but that's not always easy. One great way to build a bond with others is by pointing out things you have in common; it's a good way to increase that feeling of unity.
This is an easy kindness activity for any age, even preschoolers. You can group everyone together or do this in pairs. You can make a list of things to talk about or let them just freestyle the conversation. Have kids ask each other about pets, siblings, places they've been, and what they like to do. Count up how many things they have in common.
For older kids, it can be fun to set a five-minute timer and have them race the clock to find similarities. This adds a level of challenge.
2. Emotion Charades
One big component of kindness is empathy. Understanding and relating to someone else's emotions can make it easier to be compassionate in any situation we encounter. Build this skill with a game of emotion charades.
Ahead of time, brainstorm with kids to come up with as many emotions as you can. Write these down on slips of paper and put them in a bag or jar. When it's time to play, kids can draw an emotion out of the jar and act it out for others to guess. You can work in teams or just do it as a class or large group.
3. The Last Time I Felt...
Building on the concept of recognizing emotions and using empathy, this is a conversation-based activity that can help kids label their feelings and communicate them to others. Encourage kids to write a story or draw a picture of a happy or sad memory from the past and then talk about what they felt in more detail. Were they just happy? Or was it more like they were excited?
It can take some practice to get those nuances figured out (even for adults), so we like using printable emotion charts to help. This can be especially important for kids who are young or may not have a ton of experience thinking about their feelings.
4. Chain of Kindness
One act of kindness often leads to another, and a fun way to illustrate this is to make a paper chain. Talk to kids about what they've done lately that was nice or what someone else has done for them. This is a great kindness activity for kindergarteners and preschoolers who love to get hands-on with their lessons.
Cut construction paper into strips and help kids write down the kind thing that happened. Connect the links of kindness together to create a chain, and talk about how those good feelings and helpful acts link together.
5. Thank You Note (or Picture)
Showing gratitude (and recognizing when you should) is another important element of kindness. When we appreciate what we have, we feel more positive in general. Build gratitude with kids and help them learn to express it by making thank you notes or thank you pictures together.
Kids can choose someone who has done something nice for them lately and draw a picture of that person doing the nice thing or write a note about why what the other person did mattered to them. This is a great kindness activity for students since they can recognize someone who has done something to help them at school.
Related: How to Write a Thank You Note
6. Caring for a Pet or Plant
Taking care of something is another great kindness activity for kids of any age. If you're doing this with your own kids, you can have them be in charge of feeding one of the family pets or cleaning up after them.
In a group of kids, one awesome option is growing a plant or flower from a seed. Each day, kids can water the plant and make sure it's getting enough sunlight. Being responsible for another living thing will help them learn how to nurture other people too.
Related: Powerful Kindness Quotes for Kids
7. Compliment Notes
Giving a compliment is about more than just saying, "I like your shirt" (although everyone likes that too). Teach kids to give really good, personal compliments by having them write compliment notes to people in their lives.
To write the note, they should start by choosing the person. Then they should think of something really specific that person does well or a quality they admire. For example, to write one for their mom, they might say, "I love all the voices you use when you read me a story."
For younger kids, don't worry about having them be the ones to write the actual note. The point is the discussion and recognizing what makes something a good compliment. They can dictate the note, and you can write it down for them.
More Ways for Kids to Show Kindness Every Day
Kindness activities don't need to be a major thing. In fact, there are tons of ways for kids of all ages to show kindness every day. These are just a few more to add in to their daily routine:
- Share a toy you might not always want to share.
- Say something nice to yourself.
- Donate a book you don't need anymore.
- Give someone a treat from your lunch.
- Let someone else go first.
- Clean up a mess you didn't make.
- Pick up trash outside.
Pay It Forward With Kindness for Kids
No matter what kindness activity for kids you choose, you'll be making a difference. Just talking about kindness and thinking about it as something we can do actively is a great way to pay it forward. Those kids are going to go out in the world and do great things.