Kindness Activities for Kids to Increase Kindness and Helpfulness
Just like math, science, or reading, kindness is a skill that improves with practice. Most parents and teachers know that it’s helpful to model kindness for kids. It’s also helpful to read stories or watch movies about kindness. And it’s important to teach children about empathy with statements like, “Look at her face. She doesn’t like it when you snatch her toy. What could you do instead?” But we can also teach kindness through fun, out-of-the-box kindness activities for kids.
Try these kindness activities for kids to multiply kind acts in your home or classroom, all while having a blast.
7 Kindness Activities for Kids
From games to role-playing to volunteering, these kindness activities for kids teach children how good kindness feels, for both the giver and the receiver. They also teach kids that being kind is easy! Try these seven activities with your children or students, and they’ll become kinder, more helpful young people. And kind, helpful young people grow into kind, helpful adults!
1. Kindness Reflection
Ask children to answer the following three questions:
- Describe something kind you did for someone else. How did it make you feel?
- Write about something kind someone did for you. How did it make you feel?
- Describe something kind you saw someone do for another person. How did it make you feel?
Younger children can illustrate their responses to the questions or answer them verbally.
After the reflection is complete, have children share in groups or with the whole class. Most likely, you’ll discover that the effects of kindness are basically the same in all three scenarios. When we’re kind to others, when others are kind to us, and even when we see people being kind to one another, we get that warm, fuzzy feeling. Those “warm fuzzies” are the result of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that boost happiness and health. These chemicals even improve energy, memory, sleep, and appetite!
For this reason, simply seeing acts of kindness encourages people to “pay it forward” by spreading more kindness. If you want to illustrate this point to children, knock down a row of dominos or throw a pebble into a container of water and watch the ripples. Or play a “kind” game of telephone, starting with a message like, “You are great!” and spreading it through the whole class.
Helping children understand the power of kindness will make the next several kindness activities for kids even more impactful.
2. Kindness Jar
Take time to recognize and honor kind acts with a Kindness Jar. It’s simple: Keep objects like marbles or Popsicle sticks near a jar. When kids witness kindness, they place an object in the jar to symbolize the act of kindness.
Other variations of this activity can include a Kindness Tree or even a Kindness Pizza, with children using leaves or pepperonis to represent kindness. Whatever creative idea you use, the point is to spend time focusing on the positive.
The more we focus on kindness and positivity, the more we feel inspired to spread more of it. You can reset your Jar, Tree, or Pizza each week. Children will feel motivated to increase their acts of kindness over time!
3. Cooperative Games
In cooperative games, children work together to reach a common goal instead of competing against one another. These games inspire teamwork, empathy, and kindness while developing children’s conflict resolution skills.
Cooperative games can be really simple, like building a tower, constructing a bridge that can support a certain amount of weight, or even sorting vocabulary words into categories.
You can also purchase cooperative board games like the following:
- Outfoxed: Children work together to find clues and rule out suspects in a quest to determine who stole Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie.
- Cauldron Quest: Kids collaborate to defeat the wizard and create a magic potion to break his spell.
- Hoot Owl Hoot: In this simple color matching game, kids help owls safely return home before the sun rises.
- Dragon Dash: Players escape dragons by building safe paths across Dragonwood, all while applying critical thinking and basic math skills.
4. Kindness Role Play
One of my favorite kindness activities for kids is kindness role play. Roleplay teaches children actionable ways to be kind to others in real-world situations.
Write down a few scenarios in which children can be kind to others, such as:
- A child sitting alone at lunch
- A child crying or looking sad
- A parent having a rough day
- A parent feeling sick
- A child with no one to play with on the playground
- Seeing two children teasing another child
If there are specific situations you see in your home or classroom, be sure to include them. Place slips of paper with these scenarios in a hat or basket, then have children draw a slip. Next, children read the scenario aloud and act out how they would demonstrate kindness in the provided situation. If children get stuck, help them brainstorm. Next time they encounter these scenarios in real life, they’ll know exactly how to treat their peers or parents with kindness!
Volunteering is an excellent way to teach children about the power of kindness. Find an age-appropriate volunteer activity for your children or students, or ask them to help you brainstorm some ideas.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Visit a nursing home
- Serve food at a soup kitchen
- Donate toys, clothes, or canned food to people in need
- Fill backpacks with school supplies for kids in need
- Plant trees and pick up trash
- Bake treats for local police officers/firefighters
- Read to younger children at school
- Organize a car wash for a good cause
Volunteering has enormous positive benefits, including increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, learning life skills, and interacting with people from diverse walks of life. It shows children that they have the power to make a positive difference in the world.
Volunteer work also teaches children to understand other perspectives, making them more empathetic. It’s an excellent example of how good it feels to be kind, encouraging more kindness in the future.
6. Kind Letters
Another kindness activity for kids is writing kind letters or notes to people in the community. This can include teachers, family members, workers at places the children frequent, friends, senior citizens, and so on.
This activity offers benefits similar to the benefits of volunteering. Children will see that it’s easy to be kind, it feels wonderful t be kind, and their kindness has a powerful impact on others. In addition, it helps children learn how to use kind words and express gratitude and kindness to others.
7. Teach T.H.I.N.K.
T.H.I.N.K. is a great acronym, especially for older kids. Encourage children to “T.H.I.N.K.” before they speak using these guidelines:
- Is it True?
- Is it Helpful?
- Is it Inspiring?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?
The original purpose of the T.H.I.N.K. acronym was to teach people how to be kind on social media, but it can apply to everyday communication and interactions too. Post the acronym in your home or classroom. If a child says something that doesn’t follow these guidelines, remind them to T.H.I.N.K.
You can also provide example statements and ask children to evaluate them using the T.H.I.N.K. acronym. This kindness activity for kids helps them practice thinking before they speak to ensure they’re putting honest, helpful, inspiring, and kind words into the world.
Final Thoughts: Kindness Activities for Kids
Try these kindness activities for kids in your home or classroom, and you’ll see kind and helpful acts multiply. When children practice kindness and recognize that it’s easy, feels great, and quickly spreads, they’ll have all the motivation they need to be kind to others!