Saturday, November 24, 2012

Building Traditions of Kindness In Kinders

It was a couple of years ago that I wondered across a post from Katherine over at (HERE) and also Tracie from tsjphotography (HERE) about how they created a tradition of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness with their children.  With three little guys of my own at home, I knew this was a tradition I also wanted to start with my own children.  It has since become the most favorite of all family traditions during this time of year. 

Each day for the 25 days leading up until Christmas, we open a small bag with a task of kindness to complete. 

Most of the tasks I tried to have us do anonymously which made it even more exciting for the boys.  I kind of wondered if we might get arrested lurking about the the animal shelter after dark to drop off a bag of dog food, but we didn't.  The boys really wanted to be able to see people as they found their treasures, but they had alot of fun wondering what those people thought or felt when they were 'RACKed.'
Our cards included some tasks like:
    I was horrible at documenting all the fun we had last year, but I'm determined to do a better job this year.
  • Leave quarters in washing machines at a local laundry mat.
  • Let someone go first today
  • Ring bells for the Salvation Army
  • Adopt a needy family
  • Bring your teacher her favorite morning beverage
  • Leave a present for our neighbor.
  • Get doughnuts for Daddy and buy an extra dozen for the shelter.
  • Bring a secret treat for our lunch lady.
  • Visit the local nursery home and deliver flowers and cards.
  • Leave a bag of dog food at the local animal shelter.
  • Leave dollar bills on the vending machines at the hospital.
  • Invite someone you do not usually sit next to or play with to sit with you at lunch or play at recess.
  • Take empty cans back and purchase a gift card with the money you get back.  Give it to the teller to give to someone they think needs it.
  • Wash the car and leave money for the next person in line to wash their car too.
  • Buy popcorn for kids at school who don't usually get it.
  • Buy hot cocoa for bell ringers.
  • and others

You would think with all the commercialization of the holidays, that getting kids to think of others would be difficult, but, in fact, it wasn't at all.  My boys really enjoyed knowing that THEY were the ones that made someone's day special.  So much so that it was my oldest son (almost 8 at the time) that was the one that actually suggested that this year, I should do something similar with my class.  'Mom, wouldn't it be fun for your kids to do 25 days of kindness?' Out of the mouths of babes? Yes! I often struggle with how to instill kindness in my kinders, to use manners, to think of others.  Face it, at these tender ages, teachers often hear "it's mine . . . I want to . . . let me . . ."   This would be a PERFECT activity get them started thinking about others instead of JUST themselves.  So here's my twist and plan for 15 Days of Kindergarten Kindness. 

Much like my own family's 25 Days of kindness set-up, I will be stringing 15 (one for each day we are in school in December) small bags in the window of my classroom.  This alone will cause enough buzz to get their attention and build the anticipation needed to make the activity exciting and fun.  After spending that first day talking and writing about 'KINDNESS' students will take turns each day taking down the bags and reading each days' task.  While my own family's '25 days of Christmas Kindness' involved some financial backing, acts of kindness don't need to be expensive or even cost money. In regards to my classroom, I really want to demonstrate to my kinders how even a 5 year old or 6 year old can make the difference in someone else's day.  So here is a list of some acts that cost little or no money that you might want to place in your own 15 Days of Kindergarten Kindness bags.  You can find great ideas for acts of kindness all over the web.  Katherine has one on her site HERE that might help or just have fun and come up with some ideas of your own. 
  • Make Christmas cards for a local nursing home.
  • Invite a friend whom you don't usually play with to come sit by you at lunch or play with you outside
  • Thank the person who brings you to school for getting you here safely and on time.
  • Walk in front of the office window, smile and wave to our office workers at some time during the day
  • Tell your principal she/he is AWESOME
  • Clean the trash off the playground
  • Let someone go in front of you or before you today
  • Walk by a student you don't know and smile and say 'hello.'
  • Help someone tie their shoes/zip their coat.
  • Give someone a compliment and let only kind words come out of your mouth today.
  • Buy popcorn for another class.
  • Use best manners when getting lunch in the lunch room.  Say 'please' and 'thank you.'
  • Visit the local nursing home, sing songs, make a craft and have a snack!
  • Pick up any coats or snow pants that have fallen in the hallway
  • Make thank you cards for our school's playground staff!
  • Ask someone if you can 'help.'
Can you think of some more?

Want to join in on the fun?  Let me see if I can help you get started.  You'll need some small bags and a way to display them.  You'll want to number your bags (I'm just using plain white ones for my classroom):

click  HERE to get a copy of ones I made up for you.  I wanted something a little more fun and not too Christmas-y for my classroom and for those of you that can not use Christmas themes in your rooms.  I hope this works for you. 

And you'll want a little festive or fun card to place inside your bag where you can describe the task for that day and  RAK'ed card (notice the C for Christmas is missing).  I made up some editable ones so that you can write your own tasks and messages.  If you click  HERE, you can download them.

That's it.  The rest is pretty easy.  I hope you have fun with this activity.  I know I will be doubly blessed this year by giving back through my own family's Random Acts of Christmas Kindness and my Kindergarten Acts of Kindness as well.  I'd love to hear your own ideas of how you teach your students kindness or ideas that I could add to my classroom list, so drop me a line, and come visit me at my own blog sometime.


  1. dang Marsha! I totally want to do something similar! What a fabulous post!

  2. Love this idea! I can't wait to do this with my kinders!

    Lovin’ Kindergarten

    1. I know I totally have all my kinders jumping out of their skin with all the anticipation of something great coming next week.

  3. Love this idea!!! I am going to do this with my family AND my firsties! You had me tearing up here - love all your random acts of kindness!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

  4. Love it - can't wait to do this with my K's this year. Thank you!

  5. What a wonderful idea! Thakn you for sharing it! I can't wait to do this with my own kids this year! :)
    Crayons and Curls

  6. Love this idea for both my family and my classroom. And a HUGE thank you for the editable cards!!! That really helps me to personalize it for my specific needs!

    1. You are very very welcome. I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

  7. This made me a little weepy. I plan to do this with my first graders. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing not only what you do with your family, but the freebies so that we can join in the fun as well!

  9. Wow! You have blown my mind! I will definitely be doing this in coming weeks with my preschool children. I love this idea and am so excited to see how it works. I think I will try and do it every year. Thanks!

    1. I'm crossing my fingers for you (and me) that they love it as much as my own boys do.

  10. What an absolutely "beautiful" post! It makes me feel warm all over :) I can't think of a better way to teach generosity and kindness to young children. You made my day!
    Maggie :)

    1. Thanks Maggie! It means alot that you approve!

  11. I love this. I'm a Kinder/First teacher and teacher preacher this Tuesday at school. I will introduce this in chapel and make it school wide.

    1. Ohhhh that makes me sooo happy. Love to hear how it goes.

  12. What an incredible idea!!
    Thanks for sharing your kindness,
    Karen :o)
    Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten

  13. Thank you for sharing! I'm going to do it with my own children and my K/1 students. What a wonderful way to encourage love and kindness.

  14. I love this! I am trying to save it to my desktop to edit the cards with our "tasks" but it won't allow me to. Any ideas?

  15. great great great idea.... would love if someone could list all the ideas they are using for their K class!

  16. I'm at a Catholic school, so I was just trying to figure out what I was going to do for my Advent Calendar this year - perhaps this will be it!
    Thanks Marsha!

  17. Love your ideas! I'll be adding some that we didn't have on our page at :)

  18. I am going to do this! I just love the thought of my kids showing love this way! Thank you, Marsha!


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