Teaching students the value of kindness is so very important because it can have powerful effects. Not only does kindness bring joy to others, but it can also reduce our own anxiety. In fact, studies have shown being kind boosts your serotonin, eases anxiety, and can lower blood pressure, which is good for your heart. Some examples of kindness include a thoughtful gesture, a compliment, an offer of help, even something as simple as a smile. Encourage students to spread kindness wherever they go with these simple activities.
1. Start a Conversation about Kindness
In this activity by Centervention, you will help your students understand how kindness benefits everyone. In the first part of the activity, start a conversation with your students about kind words and why we should use them. Then have your student brainstorm kind words to use when communicating with others. In the second part, help students translate their ideas into action by brainstorming acts of kindness and creating notes to brighten someone’s day.
2. Set Up an Appreciation Station
In her blog post, Kerri Beauchesne writes about how she invited her students to write kind notes to school staff at an appreciation station. The appreciation station can be set up in the school cafeteria or other areas of the school where students can drop by to write notes. The notes can then be collected and distributed to staff members on special days like Teacher Appreciation Week, National Custodian Day, or School Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
3. Create a Kindess Collage
Creating a kindness collage is a part of Google’s Applied Digital Skills curriculum. This video walks students through how to create a collage using Google Drawings. The collage can be about a classmate, teacher, or something positive that shows kindness. The image can then be downloaded and shared.
4. Implement a Kindness Challenge
Empower your students to create a culture of kindness by challenging them to do kind things. They can do kind things for others, kind things for themselves, or kind things for the Earth. As mentioned in this blog post, students can list the kind things they have done on this Kindness Challenge Jamboard. They can also be given paper hearts to write down acts of kindness they performed. The hearts can then be used to create a tree of kindness display.
5. Incorporate Friendly Fridays
As stated in this article by Elizabeth Peterson, “Sometimes Fridays can be tough, especially in the afternoon when everyone is ready for the weekend.” After trying a few ideas over the years, from continuing with curriculum content to giving free time, she finally decided to incorporate Friendly Fridays. During Friendly Friday time, her students do something creative to promote kindness. Check out the video below for ways she promotes kindness through Friendly Fridays.
6. Encourage Positive Self-Talk
We can’t be kind to others if we aren’t first kind to ourselves. The words we speak or think to ourselves are self-talk. Positive self-talk encourages us and helps us fight negative emotions and thought patterns. This not only helps us build confidence, but it also shows us that caring about ourselves is important. Like the concept of a gratitude jar, students can create a jar of positive affirmations. With this activity, students put positive affirmations in a jar. Then they pull one out daily to be reminded of how truly special they are.
For more kindness activities that promote social-emotional learning, be sure to check out these blog posts.