Do Something Nice for Your Neighbor Day!
Mister Rogers said, “Neighbors are people who live close to each other. Neighbors look at each other; they talk to each other; they listen to each other. That’s how they get to know each other.” May 16 is Do Something Nice for a Neighbor Day, and whether it was created by him or not (it wasn’t), we might feel the need to channel our inner Mister Rogers. To celebrate Do Something
Good for a Neighbor Day, we have created activities that all have a Neighborly theme that we think might make Mister Rogers proud! 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 and movie 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!
Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity – Kindness Rocks
For this activity, you’ll need to collect some rocks to be painted, paint (acrylic is best), and paintbrushes. We also used a sharpie to write on our rocks when they were dried.
- Wash your rocks and make sure they are clean and dry before painting on them.
- Look at the shapes of your rocks and decide what you’d like to paint on them. Some shapes lend themselves better to certain designs. Or you can just make them colorful and dab or splash paint all over in an abstract way. (Miss Jen is partial to Jackson Pollack style drips.)
- Paint both sides of the rock – sometimes the best surprise is finding a painted rock that has a design on the bottom, too!
- When the rocks are dry, consider writing on them. You can put quotes, sign your name, explain that they should pass it on, or label the rocks with words that make you feel good like HOPE, JOY, LOVE, KINDNESS, or SMILE. You can get some great ideas for Kindness Rocks here!
- Leave these rocks on your neighbor’s porch, sidewalk, doorstep, or garden bed. You may never see the smile it brings to their face, but it will be a sweet surprise for them for sure!
Science Experiment – The Science of Kindness
There is actually scientific evidence that performing acts of kindness boosts your levels of oxytocin which is the chemical in our body that makes us happy. The experiment is more anecdotal than actual, but try it on for size.
According to research, doing something nice for someone else boosts your oxytocin levels for a few minutes. How many good things can you do for others in your neighborhood to boost your oxytocin levels for 30 minutes? 1 hour? All day?!
Physical Activity – Chalk Art and Messages
Get some of those wiggles out while learning a little about your neighborhood, the benefits of sharing joy, and having fun along the way!
Collect your sidewalk chalk and wander around the neighborhood leaving your neighbors some sweet messages and encouraging words. Consider drawing pictures or fun games along the way.
Doing something nice for a neighbor can take a variety of forms – but it might be a good idea to see what your neighbors might need. Checking in can be hard right, especially right now, so these fun printable cards give you a chance to let them know you’re happy to do something nice for them.
Conversation Starters and Research Questions
- Think about other times when you’ve been a good neighbor. What have you done to be kind to your neighbor? Shovel snow, help look for a lost pet, carry something heavy for them, or checking in on them during quarantine. How have you been neighborly?
- Do you have friends in the neighborhood? How can you connect with them? If you’re struggling to play with them during quarantine, think outside the box. Leave them messages on the sidewalk, create hopscotch or other games for them to play when you’re not around, or connect virtually with them.
Videos and Websites
- The Science of Kindness website
- The Science of Kindness video
- Places in Our Neighborhood Sesame Street video
Because we know you’re stuck at home with limited access to movies and books, we tried to compile a list that connects to today’s theme that you might already have in your collection or be able to access online. These include:
- While it’s not a movie, we recommend watching episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
- Akeelah and the Bee
- Kindness is Contagious
- The Boy Who Could Fly
- Daniel Tiger Movie: Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?
- In Lucia’s Neighborhood by Pat Shewchuk
- Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day by Tameka Fryer Brown
- A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper
- My Neighborhood: Places and Faces by Lisa Bullard
- Quinito’s Neighborhood by Ina Cumpiano
- Who Is My Neighbor? by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
- Night on Neighbor’s Street by Eloise Greenfield
- I Know Here by Laurel Croza
- The Neighbors by Enat Tsarfati
- Franklin’s Neighborhood by Sharon Jennings
- The New Neighbors by Stan and Jan Berenstain