This year has been rough, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as the world begins to open up and spring begins to emerge. Schools around the country are beginning to reunite in person-if they haven’t already. From preschool to kindergarten to elementary students, connecting through kindness can help foster a community. Here are 9 kindness ideas for the classroom, which we hope you find helpful.
1. Start a Community Garden
Is there an empty patch of dirt someplace on campus? Perhaps getting out into the dirt for the next science lesson can help elevate positivity and support in the classroom, helping students show kindness to their community and to the earth. The small act of planting seeds can feel so magical for students, and seeing the plants flourish by summer can be a huge boost to morale.
2. Do a Class Art Project
Making art together can be a great way to celebrate the school community and show kindness. Perhaps your elementary students can write or draw a picture about what they love most about school and then hang it in an area of the school that needs a little love. Even visitors, or staff that see the art may feel more connected and proud to be part of the community at large.
3. Kindness Brainstorming
Encouraging young people and students to brainstorm together on how they like to show kindness, receive kindness, and build loving connections can be a great exercise to explore the subject of kindness deeper. Not everyone shows kindness in the same ways, thus it’s hard to recognize it when we see it. Try asking your kids, “What are some ways you show kindness to others?” and also, “What are ways you like people to show kindness to you?” These can be full-class discussions or journal prompts, or both!
4. Write Thank You Letters
The small act of the thank-you letter may be a fading one… but it doesn’t have to be. Show your kids how to make a thank-you card- from the folding to the writing… this kindness activity is an easy one to turn into a literacy, fine motor, or art project too. Everyone has something they can be thankful for, and it’s likely a student needs to hear a “thank you” once in a while!
5. Play the “What Could You Do” Game
Helping young people take perspectives, and even practice role play can be a great way to boost skills related to empathy. As a group, try discussing different scenarios and what a person could do to help. For instance, “What would happen if you saw a classmate sitting alone at recess, crying...what do you think they are feeling… and what could you do?” or “What would happen if you accidentally stepped on someone’s foot, and they yelped out… what do you think they are feeling, and what could you do?” Feel free to think of examples of regular classroom situations that the class could discuss together and how to handle them with positive language.
6. Hang a Motivational Tear-Off
You’ve seen tear-off posters for selling items… but have you tried motivational poster tear-offs? We’ve actually created one here if you want to check it out, or you can make your own. If you have a great place in your community to share info, try hanging one of these. Lifting other’s spirits can help lift our own too.
7. Play Kindness Detectives
Ask your students to be great detectives and find and identify things that are kind. Give examples of things students may find and report back. They can look for things at home or in school and report back throughout the school year. Feel free to pass out notepads, or pretend magnifying glasses to keep up the ruse in this kindness challenge activity.
8. Host a Community Car Wash
This one takes a bit more planning, but can help teach your students great community organization skills. Perhaps a parent or family member could participate in organizing a COVID-safe fundraiser to raise money for local community members. Students may really enjoy giving back to the community from this type of kindness project.
9. Slumberkins Free Resources
Have you checked out the Slumberkins Bigfoot Plush resources yet? Download your own free copies for class and explore our variety of SEL classroom activities. Bigfoot's affirmations include: “I am kind, I am strong, I am brave and unique, the world is better because I’m here, and I like me.” Showing kindness to oneself is just as important as showing kindness to others.
We hope you enjoy some of these Slumberkins kindness ideas. We’d love to hear which kindness activity you plan to try. Do you have any kind deed ideas of your own this Spring?