When Highlights editors asked kids ages 6 to 12, “If you could change one thing in the world, what would you change?” more than half of the responses centered on kindness. To help you keep kindness top of mind for your family, here are 30 random acts-of-kindness ideas from the Highlights staff.
1. Take a gratitude walk together. Find things your family is grateful for, including leafy trees, chirping birds, gorgeous flowers, sunny days, puffy clouds, and cute bunnies.
2. Start a gratitude journal. Draw or cut out pictures of people, places, and things your family is thankful for, such as great food, fresh water, a local park or pool, school, a favorite teacher, or a best friend.
Engage your family
3. Ask family members to name one kind or helpful thing they did that day for someone else, or reveal something kind or helpful someone did for them.
4. Share a book about a kind and caring main character or a loyal and heroic pet.
5. Stash sweet notes under your cutie’s pillow, in his dresser drawer, or in his lunchbox. Make him feel valued.
Put others front and center
6. Thank police officers, firefighters, and first responders—either in person or by sending a card—because you really do appreciate their hard work and dedication.
7. Shop for food and staples for an elderly neighbor who doesn’t drive or needs help walking.
8. Carry heavy bundles for a senior citizen or take his trash cans to the curb if tasks like these are too much for him.
9. Encourage your kids to ask someone they don't know well to join them at lunch or play with them at recess.
10. Pack extra snacks for your kids to share (as long as the school allows it) with someone they don’t usually talk to.
11. Rake the lawn or shovel snow for a neighbor—but do not accept payment for it.
12. Hand out carnations or thinking-of-you cards to sick children in the hospital or patients at a long-term care facility.
13. Drop off cards and carnations for the attendants and nurses too.
14. Send a caring text, email, or family selfie to someone who needs an instant cheerer-upper.
15. Let your child overhear you calla friend, neighbor, or relative who’s been sick.Put her on the line to say hello.
16. Have your child call elderly relatives or make cards for them so they know she cares.
Pay it forward
17. Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at a coffee shop and let your kid in on the secret.
18. Visit a local store and pay for or put money toward someone’s layaway items.
19. Leave loose change for other customers at the laundromat. Together, post a note stating what the change is for and encourage others to do the same.
Spread joy and laughter
20. Smile all day. Count how many people smiled back. Smile and count the smiles you get again tomorrow.
21. Post a sticky note on a door or desk for a friend or family member. Remind that person that she’s amazing and she makes the world a better place.
22. Or just attach a great cartoon, a joke, or riddle on a note that says, “Enjoy some extra happy today!”
Choose an RAK that suits your personality
23. As a family, make a list of fun things to do around town, and ask your principal or school librarian to share the list with new students.
24. Donate gently used books to your local library to sell or to give away for free.
25. Leave gently used clothes at a place of worship or a shelter that serves the homeless.
26. Hold doors for others.
27. Create a list of really great books and with the librarian’s permission, slip it inside the back cover of a favorite book at the library. Add a note that says, “If you liked this book, you might also like these.”
28. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter as a family.
29. Bake homemade treats or buy a box of dog or cat food for shelter animals.
30. At the end of the year, write thank-you notes to teachers.
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