While kindness is the staple of any great classroom, it never hurts to give it extra attention during Thanksgiving! Luckily, bringing kindness to your classroom can be simple – and educational (so no worries when your admin suddenly pops by). We wanted to share some simple and effective kindness activities for kids that will stir up great discussions and challenge your students’ literacy skills.
Kindness Activities for Kids
Books about Kindness
One super simple kindness activity for kids is bringing in books that talk about kindness. You can fill your classroom library with these books, add them to morning meetings, or do more structured reading activities with them.
Reading the book is one thing, but you can level up the experience with various reading and writing activities. For example, you can give students a beginning, middle, end graphic organizer to retell the story.
Additionally, you can have students answer a writing prompt after reading the book. We always recommend providing some sentence stems to help students with writing prompts, especially when you want to differentiate. For example, the prompt might be, “Why is kindness important?” You can provide sentence stems like –
Kindness is important because…
When I am kind, it makes other people feel…
When I am kind, it makes me feel….
If you need some help picking books, here are a few ideas.
I Am Love: A Books of Compassion by Sudan VerdeHow to Two by David SomanSpeak Up by Miranda PaulTwig by Aura ParkerBe Kind by Pat Zietlow MillerIf You Plant a Seed by Kadir NelsonI Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët. These books are great for talking about why kindness is important, and you can refer to the lessons from these books throughout the school year.
One thing we love about Thanksgiving is practicing gratitude. But if we are honest, sometimes students need a little help when it comes to talking about what things to be thankful for! Afterall, showing kindness and gratitude is a learned skill.
Why not support that learning through a literacy activity? Here are a few literacy activities for kids that seamlessly incorporate gratitude and thankfulness –
Discuss – Have a class discussion with students about what things to be thankful for. As you are discussing, you can write down items on an anchor chart or on the board. This will come in handy for other assignments.
Gratitude Journal – In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, have students spend a few minutes each morning writing things they are grateful for (this is where the anchor chart can be used to scaffold and assist students). You can differentiate by providing sentence starters (and the anchor chart) to students.
Thankfulness Prompts – During literacy centers, include a thankfulness writing activity to flex students’ writing skills. For instance, you can ask “How can you show kindness to others?” or “How can you tell someone thank you without speaking?”
Gratitude Craftivity – Have students trace their hands on a sheet of paper. Then, on each finger, they can write something or someone they are grateful for.
Need something more challenging? Have students pick something or someone they are grateful for and write it on the palm (aka the body of the turkey). Then have then write reasons they chose that item or person on each finger.
Once they complete that, they can decorate their hand like a turkey. These make for fun bulletin board displays or gifts to families.
Tell a Story – Using a beginning, middle, end graphic organizer, have students draft their own story. This can be a story about a character demonstrating kindness or displaying gratitude. Then, have students turn this into a paragraph or short story. Provide students with sentence stems as needed.
Write Thank You Notes
Another kindness activity for kids is spreading kindness around by actually sharing our gratitude with others. These activities make for great social-emotional classroom discussions. You can talk about sharing your feelings, why kindness is important, way to express yourself, and how sharing our emotions can impact others.
You can also bring together reading and writing for this kindness activity. Before writing thank you notes, read the book The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague. This book talks about the different communities that surround us and how our social circles expand as we grow.
Then, have students write thank you notes to someone they want to share kindness and gratitude with. This can be a friend, family member, or one of their teachers. We recommend giving specific prompts and sentence stems to younger students. Upper elementary kiddos can likely choose who they want to write to, and then you can differentiate where needed.
Here are a few prompts you can use –
- Write to a friend thanking them for something kind they did. For example, listening when you have a problem, giving you a special treat, having you over to play, etc.
- Write to a family member telling them how much they mean to you. For example, tell them how you feel when they are around.
- Write to a teacher telling them how much you enjoy their class. For example, mention something fun that happened in class, your favorite project, or something you like about their classroom.
Hopefully, you have a few ideas now after reading these kindness activities for kids!