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Ideas for Using the Kindness Challenge Throughout the Year

Use these ideas for using the Kindness Challenge throughout the year.

Although we often focus on the hard skills of education like vocabulary, fractions, place value, etc. We believe that a good, well-rounded student is one who has the knowledge but also has empathy, grace, and a commitment to bettering their world.

We have spent a lot of time on this blog providing you with tools, activities, and games to use in your classroom, and we will get back to that soon, but today is not about the hard skills. It is about kindness, what we can do to spread kindness within our schools and community, and how we can teach kindness to our students.

The Great Kindness Challenge is a world-recognized challenge to encourage both children and adults alike to contribute to their schools and communities by doing a series of ‘kind’ activities. The challenge has been done around the world, it is free to sign up, and they have programs for both school participants and individual family units. You can learn more on their website by clicking this link.

We also have a Free Classroom Kindness Challenge download that you can get right here to start your kindness planning. 

Using the Kindness Challenge Throughout the Year with your Upper Elementary Class

Although the Great Kindness Challenge Week (official) is in January, you can take your students through your own kindness challenge throughout the year with some of these simple tips.

#1 | Set the Theme of Kindness in Week 1

Pick out a few activities from the Great Kindness Challenge list to implement at the beginning of the school year. You can access a list of those challenges on their website here, or you can look into some other random acts of kindness by using this link, or you can use our Free Kindness Challenge download for some easy school-specific challenges.

Preparing to integrate a Kindness Challenge throughout the year can begin with the way you decorate your classroom.

As you set up your classroom, use the Random Acts of Kindness site to find some kindness quotes to decorate your classroom, or plan to share one kindness story from their site each week. 

One of my favorite kindness ideas to start with from the Free download is learning to say hello in different languages. This is a great way to learn how to make others feel welcome but also get to know your students better by seeing if any of your students know how to speak another language and would want to share some of their knowledge with the class.

Learning about and practicing kindness doesn’t have to be a big act, but as students start to see it and hear some examples of kindness in action, they will also see the opportunities to help others and spread kindness in their own lives.

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  • A few good kindness acts for the beginning of the year may be to have students write a letter (the old fashion kind) to someone in their life who has really made them feel special and send it to that person the first week of school. 
  • Another activity may be to do a book swap, encouraging students to bring in a previously owned book that they may have grown out of or just don’t read much anymore. Write a kind note to the new owner and tape it to the inside cover. Then find a little free library to put them in, or pass them down to a grade younger than yours.

Doing a Kindness Challenge throughout the year doesn’t have to be a series of big events, but it needs to be something that kids are familiar and comfortable with so that performing acts of kindness becomes just ‘what they do.’

#2 | End of the Year Kindness Activities

If you’ve signed up for The Great Kindness Challenge or you downloaded our FREE Kindness Challenge download, then you have a whole bunch of ideas for ways you can continue to show kindness throughout the year, but here are a few more ideas that will work well in May and June.

  • Since the months are getting warmer here in the United States, students may do a winter weather drive, collecting cold weather apparel that they can give to the school to distribute to families in need during the next school year.
  • Students may also plant seedlings and watch them grow, and then take them (along with a nice note) to a local nursing home or assisted living facility to plant or give to the residents.
  • Your students could also help in your own school by offering to test markers for other teachers, sharpen pencils to prepare for the next school year, or sanitize/clean learning manipulatives in other elementary classrooms.

Kindness can happen in the school or outside of it, but it should happen naturally and with smiles.

For more ways to engage kids at the end of the year, read this post!

#3 | Around the holiday to Spark Kindness and Joy

There are whole lists of possible kindness activities for the holiday seasons throughout the year, but here are a couple that you can easily incorporate into your classroom.

  • Do a gift drive for the local children’s hospital.
  • Make tie blankets for the Emergency Rooms in your area.
  • Encourage students to write Thank You notes to people who have done something nice to them that year.
  • Create daily gratitude or thanksgiving lists.
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Notice that none of these are holiday specific, and they can be done at any time of the year, but you can make them holiday-special by doing them at the same time every year, creating a culture of kindness in your school. Creating a kindness challenge throughout the year just takes a little creativity as you work to keep the ideas fresh and purposeful.

#4 | Celebrate the Kindness ‘Holidays’

There are a few days sprinkled throughout the year that are specifically dedicated to kindness and spreading joy. Use these weeks to inspire your students, or sign up for one of the programs below to get ‘officially’ involved.

No matter what you decide to do, your students, school, and community will benefit from the long-term effects of teaching your kids about and focusing on kindness, and hopefully, with some of these ideas for using the Kindness Challenge throughout the year, you’ll be able to get started easily and keep it going all year long!

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