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 with a smile and wave in person or by sending a card—because you really do appreciate their hard work and dedication.
7. Check in on your elderly neighbors who don’t drive or move around easily. See if you can help them in any way, like by delivering groceries or other staples.
8. Encourage your child to help a family member with a clean-up chore they normally do alone.
9. Make a scavenger hunt for a friend or family member around your house or neighborhood.
10. Encourage your kids to reach out to a friend or classmate that they haven’t talked to in a while. Model it for them by doing the same!
11. Rake the lawn or shovel snow for a neighbor—but do not accept payment for it.
12. Send drawings or thinking-of-you cards to sick children in the hospital or patients at a long-term care facility.
13. Send cards and drawings 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 call a friend, neighbor, or relative who’s been sick. Put her on the line to say hello.See Also: 25 Totally Cool Random Acts of Kindness Your Kids Will Love
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 after you at a coffee shop and let your kid in on the secret.
18. Call a local store and pay for or put money toward someone’s layaway items.
Spread joy and laughter
19. Smile all day. Count how many people smiled back. Smile and count the smiles you get again tomorrow.
20. 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.
21. Or attach a great cartoon, a joke, or riddle on a note that says, “Enjoy some extra happy today!”
22. Paint kind messages on rocks and leave them around your neighborhood to make others smile.
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. Collect gently used clothes for a place of worship or a shelter that serves the homeless.
26. Write and send poems to friends, family members, helpers, or other community members to give them a boost.
27. Create a list of really great books and send it to your friends. Ask them to send back lists of their own favorite books.
28. Research ways your family can support local nonprofits and charities like soup kitchens and animal shelters.
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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