Your classroom can be your students’ safe haven and/or place of comfort. When young learners feel welcomed each morning with a positive social emotional environment, they are more like succeed. As teachers, one of our many roles is to build a culture of kindness and acceptance in the classroom. Kids are tiny sponges. Meaning, the best way to encourage a behavior is by constantly modeling it. Spending a few minutes each day on classroom community building and incorporating kindness activities can make a huge impact on our elementary students.
Check out these six kindness activities for elementary students that can be implemented during Kindness Week, RAK day, Valentine’s Day, or any day of the year! Scroll to the bottom for a FREE kindness door decor kit!
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1. Kindness Compliment Balloon Activity
Just like adults, kids love being complimented– especially by their peers! I did this balloon activity on Valentine’s Day a few years ago and it was the perfect way to inspire my students to use kind words. This is also a great ‘kindness week’ idea to do with your students!
I tied a balloon to each student’s chair and they wrote their name on the balloon with a sharpie.
Then, I had all the students stand up and walk around the room with a sharpie. (I know, this sounds dangerous. Make sure the caps are on while walking. haha)
They wrote one positive thing or compliment on each person’s balloon. It could be anything– as long as it was KIND and would make that person feel special. (for example: I love how artistic you are!)
At the end of the day, each student went home with a compliment balloon to share with their families and keep in their memory box. I used these balloons from Amazon and would recommend this foil material since they can be deflated and saved as a keepsake.
Oh, teachers: Make sure to get a balloon for yourself! I had students write on my balloon and I wrote on theirs as well. It was so special to read all of their compliments. I still have my kindness balloon in my memory box.
2. Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
After struggling with a few students displaying unkind behaviors in my classroom, I started brainstorming ways to promote a culture of kindness. Kindness Week is the week of February 17th, so I thought it would be the perfect idea to dive into a kindness challenge during the month of February!
I sent a letter home letting parents know about our monthly kindness challenge and how they could encourage their child at home.
Each morning, we picked a kindness heart from our bucket and read the challenge for the day. The goal was to complete the challenge by the next day.
The acts of kindness were simple and easy to partake in. Some examples were:
Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the cafeteria staff.
Place a note of appreciation on someone’s desk.
Say ‘Hello’ to three strangers today.
My students were so excited about the challenges and were eager to participate each day.
3. Use Kindness & Empathy Picture Books to Spark Discussions in the Classroom
Picture books are a great social-emotional learning tool used to spark meaningful conversations in the classroom. Incorporating at least one book about kindness and empathy each week can positively influence the culture in your classroom.
You can start each morning with a readaloud and have a quick, 5 minute discussion on how the picture book connects to our every day lives.
This post contains 15 of my favorite kindness and empathy books along with kindness activity ideas to go with each book.
4. Free Kindness Shoutout Box Idea
See someone being kind? Give them a shoutout!
Set up a shoutout box in your classroom where students can brag about their classmates that are ‘caught being kind’.
Whenever a student witnesses a student doing an act of kindness or just being an overall good human, they can write a short note on a kindness slip and place it inside the shoutout box.
Pick some of the slips during your morning meetings and read them out loud. Students will be surprised when they hear their names and the kind messages from their classmates. This activity is not only special for the classmate that is getting the shoutout– but also for the student that is giving the shoutout!
Grab the free printables below to set up a kindness box in your classroom. You can use a tissue box or a bin from Dollar Tree. Any box works!
Free Kindness Shoutout Printables
Set up a kindness shoutout box in your classroom where students can write a short note about a classmate that was ‘caught being kind’. A fun way to sprinkle kindness in your classroom! Download the free box label and nomination slips below.
5. Kindness Writing Activity for Elementary Students
Have discussions with your class about what it truly means to be a kind person. Talk about ways in which we can make others feel included, accepted, and loved. You can create an anchor chart of words to describe a kind vs. unkind person.
Then, have students write about what kindness means to them. These fun monster and cactus themed writing prompts can serve as a kindness bulletin board idea for your elementary classroom.
6. Class-Wide Kindness Tracker
Have you ever used a ‘Compliment Jar’ in your classroom? You add tokens inside of a jar each time your class receives a compliment from another adult around the building. Maybe they were walking in a nice line or had great cafeteria behavior, someone spotted them, and gave them a compliment. Once your class jar is full, your students receive some kind of reward or incentive.
Well, how fun would it be to tweak this idea and create a ‘Kindness Tracker’. Each time a student is caught doing something kind, the class earns a sticker inside of their tracker.
Once the class receives a certain amount of ‘points’ or stickers, they earn a class reward. Including students in the reward process makes this activity a lot more exciting! They chose what they wanted the prize to be, so they’re extra eager to earn it.
These felt boards are perfect for the month of February and have fun velcro stickers that the students can easily add on! (These are available for every holiday you could possibly image haha)
This four pack of Valentine felt boards can be used for small groups. How about a group competition to see which group displayed the most kindness throughout the month of February!
Creating a kindness tracker will slowly help your students build positive, kindness habits that they’ll carry with them wherever they go.
Free Kindness Week Door Decor Kit
What better way to remind your students to be kind than by setting up a welcoming environment as soon as they walk in?
I love decorating my classroom door to include a welcoming quote or statement. You can grab this free ‘Be the Reason Someone Smiles Today’ door decor kit below!
Free Classroom Door Decor Kit
Welcome your students with this ‘Be the Reason Someone Smiles Today’ door decor display. Serves as a reminder to always be kind.
I hope you found these kindness activities for elementary students helpful! If you decide to use any of these ideas or freebies, make sure to tag me on Insta @SweetToothTeaching