If you’re looking for fun ways to teach your kids how to be more compassionate, kind, and empathetic, these kindness activities for kids will inspire you! Perfect for the classroom or at home, these empathy activities are creative ways to teach kids critical social skills and guess what? They’re a lot of fun for adults, too!
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Did you know that a 2014 Harvard study suggested parents valued their children’s success at school over compassion & kindness toward others? Out of the 10,000 students surveyed, students were three times more likely to agree than disagree with this statement:
“My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member.”
Here’s the thing: If our kids believe their self-worth is measured with grades & standardized test scores, we deny them of the benefits that come standard with being kind, such as:
Sense of Self-Worth & Belonging – Even the smallest act of kindness comes with what is known as “helper’s high” a rush of endorphins that fosters a sense of pride in ourselves & feelings of optimism.
Grateful Mindset – The act of giving helps our kids put life into perspective and allows them to see the impact they can make with one simple act of human kindness.
For the most part, I believe parents want to raise kind children, but somewhere between the classroom & the non-stop competition, the important message of empathy & compassion gets lost. Ask a parent Do You Want Your Kids To Be Kind? The answer will be a resounding yes.
How do we raise kind kids?
Stop the Judgment. Kindness is about compassion & love, and it is impossible to love someone & judge them simultaneously. Judgment includes making fun of strangers, talking negatively about others & yourself.
Talk to Your Kids. Engage them with questions & truly listen to their response. Watch their favorite TV or Netflix shows & the YouTubers they admire- talk about the behaviors you see. What shows are kind? What characters are sympathetic? Get to know your child & their perceptions about the world around them. Talk to them about how their behavior affects others.
Be An Example: Character is what you do when no one is watching. But when you’re a parent, your kids are always watching. Let them witness your empathetic gestures & compassion. Trust me; kids model their behavior after what they see you DO not SAY. Witnessing your kindness in action will have a more significant impact than anything you tell them!
Finally, get inspired to teach kids about kindness! The following list of 50 kindness activities for kids is a fabulous place to start!
50 Kindness Activities for Kids
- Start a piggy bank for a cause or charity.
- Give kindness rocks
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- Go grocery shopping for foods to donate to the food pantry
- Clean your room without being asked
- Do your sister’s chores
- Cook a meal or dessert for a neighbor
- Pick up trash (even if it is not yours)
- Kindness Kisses – Put Hershey’s kisses on a note card with a fun message, quote, or compliment.
- Wear a silly costume for the day & see how many people you can make laugh
- Donate toys & clothes to The Salvation Army or Goodwill
- Write Thank You Notes (Try these Kindness Postcards:))
- Take snacks to the local police or fire department & thank them for their service.
- Help a friend with their homework
- Ask your parent or grandparent to tell you their favorite story about being your age & listen.
- Pay It Forward: The next time you’re at a drive-through – pick up the bill for the next person in line with your allowance money.
- Carry someone’s groceries
- Leave an inspirational message with chalk.
- Cut coupons & tape them to grocery store items.
- Help an older person cross the street
- Share your toys (without being asked)
- Tell someone they’re Awesome Sauce.
- Start a Lemonade or Water Stand during the summer – at no charge
- Hold the elevator for someone.
- Give up your seat in a waiting room or on a bus, train, etc.
- Smile:)) Make a goal to smile at at least 10 people per day
- Send your favorite teacher a note telling them how they helped you
- Volunteer at a:
- Nursing home
- Food pantry
- Women’s shelter
- Humane Society
- Surprise someone with Kindness Bubbles
- Leave $1.00 in a vending machine
- Return grocery carts to the inside of the store
- Say Thank You
- Tape a coin roll to a washer or dryer in a laundry mat
- Ask your waiter about their day & then really listen to the answer
- Hold the door open for the next person
- Make & give friendship bracelets. (Try this activity from The OT Toolbox:))
- Stand up for someone who is being teased or bullied.
- Babysit for someone you know – maybe a single parent or family with a special needs child- for free
- Make a new friend every time you go to the playground
- Sit with a kid at lunch who is alone
- Let someone else go first
- Be the first person to greet someone with Good Morning
- Give the bank teller a piece of candy
- Give out Smile It Forward Kindness Cards (Check out these free printable cards via Kids Activities:))
- Encourage a friend
- Treat a friend to a movie ticket
- Call a relative you rarely see
- Write a Kindness Matters Journal (Here’s a free printable idea via Teachers Pay Teachers)
- Tape bags of microwave popcorn on a RedBox
- Write a good review of a restaurant or business you love.
- Be kind to yourself
Do you have a favorite random act of kindness? Please, share it!