What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to choose kind? There are so many ways that children and adults can choose to share kindness to others while also being kind to themselves. Among the ideas we explore today include Kindness in the Kitchen, Kindness Bingo, and ways to choose kindness at home and beyond. We also focus on the ideas in the books of R.J. Palacio and Matt de la Pena. Below are activities that all have a Choose Kindness theme. These activities include things that will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving and engineering skills, and can help them engage in cooperative play, while fostering creativity and perseverance. Each theme also comes with recommended literature connections. Feel free to throw in your own activities that might relate, and don’t forget to post your results to social media and tag @discoverymuse to share with everyone else!
What Is Kindness?
Kindness in the Kitchen with Dr. Diane
Making Mom’s Shortbread Cookies — and Sharing Them With A Friend
To make this recipe, you will need:
- 2 ½ cups flour (gluten free also works)
- ½ cup sugar (feel free to food process it to make it superfine)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 sticks of butter (vegan butter works too)
- CLEAN HANDS
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Wash your hands with soap and water!
- In a large bowl, add 2 ½ cups flour and 1 pinch of salt.
- Add the cut up butter (get a grown up to help with the knife) and use your clean hands to blend it with the flour/salt mixture until it is crumbly.
- Add the ½ cup of sugar. Blend with your hands until well mixed.
- Divide the dough between 2 round greased pans (I like to use the butter wrappers to grease the pans).
- Pat dough down with your hands until firm.
- Use a fork to poke holes in the crust. (My mom’s special tip…)
- Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the shortbread is baking, try to do at least 1 kind thing for someone else and 1 kind thing for yourself (start by cleaning up the kitchen).
- When the shortbread is out of the oven (get a grownup to help), sprinkle some sugar over each pan.
- Cut the shortbread into triangle wedges and share some with a friend or neighbor who needs kindness.
Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity: Choose Kind
For this activity, you will need:
- Recycled cardboard (e.g. flattened cereal or pasta or snack boxes)
- Poster Paper or old packing paper
- Someone you want to thank for being kind
- Collect your recycled materials. Flatten the cereal boxes.
- On the plain side of the boxes, trace the letters CHOOSE KIND.
- Cut out the letters.
- Think of a synonym for KIND that starts with each letter. For example, what word can you think of describing kindness that starts with C? What word describing kindness starts with H?
- After you write the word on the letter, decorate your letters. Use shapes and colors that make you feel happy.
- Glue the letters on the poster paper or packing paper so that they read CHOOSE KIND.
- Write a note on your poster for the person you think of as being so kind. Maybe it’s a teacher or a neighbor or the librarian or a nurse or a friend? Whoever it is, tell them why you think they always choose kindness.
Physical Activity: Kindness Bingo
Get some of those wiggles out while learning a little about kindness. What can you do that is kind for others? What can you do that is kind for yourself? Play our kindness BINGO game OR make a card that works for your family. Mark off the blocks as you perform the tasks. When you have BINGO, celebrate with your family!
Conversation Starters and Research Questions
- Learn more about Wonder and the “Choose Kind” campaign. What can you do at home or at school to be kind and spread the message of kindness to others?
- Have you ever heard of World Kindness Day? It’s an international day of kindness recognized by countries around the world. World Kindness Day is the perfect time to practice kindness, whether it’s toward family members, friends, or strangers. And although the official World Kindness Day is Nov. 13 this year, every day can be World Kindness Day.
- Can you write a letter or draw a picture for someone who might need some kindness? Check out these activities for inspiration.
Videos and Websites
- Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. It is filled with activities and challenges you can do at home, including: The #DoGoodFromHome Challenge, the Happy Heart Hunt, Peaceful Pen Pals, and Kitchen Table Kindness.
- Check out 25 ideas for instilling kindness and empathy in children.
Kindness Book Connections:
Matt de la Pena, the author of Last Stop on Market Street and Love, has been writing beautiful letters from home since the pandemic began. Check out some of those letters on his website. They model kindness and empathy for kids and adults alike.
Handley Regional Library Read Aloud Time
Check out #SunshineSongs — an intergenerational concert series that grew out of Broadway actress Laura Benanti’s invitation to students across the country to share videos of performances they weren’t able to give because of COVID-19. #SunshineSongs went viral with millions of people joining the virtual audience for these performances. Now it is a concert series bringing the student performances, senior citizens, and hospitalized children together — the definition of kindness.