There was a piece in The Atlantic last December that we can’t stop coming back to. It was about the decline of kindness in an increasingly fractured society, where parents tend to place value on individual achievement, success and happiness at the expense of caring about others.
The optimistic conclusion however, was that teaching our children to care about others is truly the best way to prepare them for a fulfilling future.
One reason we’re passionate about bringing enrichment to as many children as possible is because of the positive life outcomes for students. Enrichment classes not only expose children to new ideas and learning opportunities, but also positively impact social-emotional growth. Empathy as a mindset is inherent to enrichment classes because of the collaborative process, mixed-age peer groups and guided group problem solving environment that these classes provide.
In the transition to online learning, we’re thinking about how our enrichment classes can continue to keep elementary schoolers connected and how we can use this change as an opportunity guide instructors, students and families towards kindness and empathy to help resolve our national deficit of caring.
Before schools closed, we noticed teachers, after school educators and school principals including “Be Kind” directives in curriculums, classrooms and activities throughout the year. Acts of kindness clicked with our kids and became a regular part of their school life that extended to our homes and spilled into the community.
In the spirit of raising kids who are both self-respecting and generous with kindness, here’s a list of 25 mostly independent, kind actions K-5 children can take while social distancing.
We’ve also created a fun Kindness BINGO Card to turn their kind actions into a game.
You can find and print the BINGO card below.
- Write & mail a letter to a local senior.
- Chalk a message of hope on your driveway or sidewalk.
- Paint and hide kindness rocks for others to discover.
- Clean up after dinner without being asked.
- Send an email, drawing or letter to your favorite teacher, just to say, “hi".
- Text a friend or family member using happy emojis.
- Write a poem for your sibling and slip it under their pillow.
- Mail a drawing and thank you note to send to a healthcare hero.
- Hide kind notes around the house for your family to discover.
- Think of something you like about yourself and say it out loud.
- Make your family a surprise snack.
- Write or text a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin.
- Write a story about a friend and share it with them.
- Leave a note or drawing for your postal worker.
- Leave a gift at a friend’s door. It could be something you made, a bottle of bubbles or some sidewalk chalk! Use your imagination.
- Hold a mealtime gratitude circle for your family. When you sit down at the table each person can share what they are grateful for or what you hope for others.
- Learn a yoga pose and teach it to someone else. Here are some fun videos to get you started.
- Go outside and sing your favorite song loud enough for others to hear.
- Ask a family elder questions about the history of your family.
- Use cardboard or part of a box to make and decorate a kind yard sign for your front yard or window. What message of kindness would you like to share?
- Pick flowers and leave them at a neighbor's door, or make your own flowers out of paper or pipe cleaners.
- Practice being a listener. Invite a family member to chat with you about their day, pay attention to their words and ask questions.
- Plan a time to drive or bike by a friend's house. Blast their favorite song or sing to them from the street.
- Work with your family and pick a charity to support. Here are some ideas:
-Mothers of Black Boys United for Social Change
-No Hungry Kid
-The On It Foundation
- Bonus: Come up with your own act of kindness and share it with us by email. We’ll add it to this list!