Kids are naturally compassionate, so why not take a few today (and every day) to foster that inherent kindness? From simple gestures like giving up your seat on the bus to giving your kids’ teacher a “just because” gift, we’ve found 96 ways you and the kids can pay it forward. Scroll down to shine on!
***Editor’s Note: If some of these ideas don’t work with current COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, make a list for the future!
1. Offer to pick up groceries for an at-risk or elderly neighbor during the COVID-19 crisis.
2. Compliment a stranger.
3. Collect your child’s old books that they no longer read and donate them to a children’s center, shelter or local library.
4. Pay the bridge toll of the person behind you.
5. Bring flowers to a coworker or friend.
6. Carry someone’s groceries to their car for them.
7. Send a friend a positive text.
8. Ask a stranger how they are feeling today, and actually listen to the answer.
9. Bake cookies and deliver them to the local fire or police station.
10. Leave a big tip for a server.
11. Make sandwiches and distribute them to the homeless in your neighborhood.
12. Help a senior cross the street.
13. Buy an extra bottle of dish soap or bar of soap and leave it for your neighbor.
14. Give up your seat on the bus.
15. Deliver a meal or a potted plant to a random neighbor.
16. Donate dog or cat food to the local animal shelter (call to ask them what brands they need). Many shelters want and need old blankets and towels as well.
17. Text a compliment to a friend.
18. Make a kindness calendar with the kids or download this one and print!
19. Send a postcard to someone you love, even if they live nearby (or in the same house!).
20. Make a donation of a birthday box to a local food shelter: include items like cake mixes, frosting, candles, balloons and party hats.
21. If it’s a hot day, hand out cold bottles of water.
22. Buy the Sunday paper and a pastry and leave it at your neighbor’s door.
23. Empty the dishrack or do a load of laundry for someone who's not expecting it.
24. If it’s raining, share your umbrella for a few blocks.
25. Make kindness cards from drawings and paintings of kid’s art. Drop a few by the nearest senior center and ask if they can use them for anyone who needs a bit of cheer.
26. Pick up trash off the street.
27. Call an old friend or relative.
28. Thank a teacher.
30. Spring for coffee and donuts for your co-workers.
31. Head to the park with some chalk and write sweet messages to the world.
32. Take fresh fruit or a small treat to your child’s daycare or send an apple to school for your child’s teacher.
33. Make a thank you card for the postal worker who delivers your mail.
34. Give thanks for the everyday things, not just big acts or gifts. “Thank you for making me laugh today,” or “Thank you for helping me figure out that math problem,” or even simply, “Thank you for loving me.”
35. Slip a note complimenting someone’s parking on the windshield of their car.
36. Share your toys.
37. Text message someone you’ve not talked to today “I love you.”
38. Distribute random hugs.
39. Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop.
40. Make a friendship bracelet and give it to a new friend.
41. Compliment someone sitting near you.
42. Smile at 5 people.
43. Leave your change in a vending machine after you buy something.
44. Paint a picture for a neighbor you don’t know that well.
45. Play with someone new on the playground today.
46. Call a friend or relative, and tell a joke.
47. Send someone a laugh.
48. Leave a positive note on a bulletin road.
49. Smile at 10 people.
50. Walk a neighbor’s dog.
51. Rake leaves, shovel snow or do a little yardwork/weeding for your neighbor.
52. Take out your neighbor’s trash for them.
53. Read a book with a child.
54. Leave a sweet note in your spouse or partner’s wallet.
55. Put a post-it note with a positive message like, “Today will be awesome” on a random door.
56. Leave extra change at the laundry mat.
57. Offer to run an errand for someone.
58. Hide a few toys or Matchbox cars in the sand at the playground.
59. Offer to help a co-worker or schoolmate with a problem.
60. Start a Little Free Library.
61. Leave a dish of fresh water out for neighborhood dogs in front of your house or business.
62. Use sidewalk chalk to say hello to a neighbor.
63. Give your child’s teacher $5 toward classroom expenses or helping to pay for a field trip.
64. Write a letter to the first person that pops into your mind (and don’t forget to send it!)
65. Help another kid with his homework.
66. Buy a spare umbrella and find someone who needs it.
67. Get some silly glasses and wear them until you make someone laugh.
68. Do something to make your hometown more awesome.
69. Let a stranger go ahead of you in line.
70. Smile at 20 people.
71. Consider the flash mob.
72. Walk or bike instead of driving.
73. Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment.
74. Do something nice for yourself.
75. Hold the door open for someone.
76. Add extra time to your meter for the next person.
77. Read this Fred Rogers book together and then talk about your feelings.
78. Gather up gently used clothing and donate via ThredUp using their Donation Clean Out Kit.
79. Starting today, thank someone once a week for a year. You can send thank yous via mail, email, text, phone or in person. Make a little list of thank-yous and revisit them in 52 weeks.
80. Sit with someone new at lunch.
81. Ask a kid you don't usually play with to play with you at recess.
82. Find a story or post you like, and let the writer know it meant something to you.
83. Be patient while waiting in line.
84. Leave a glowing review for a business or employee who helped you or your kids.
85. Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
86. Go to a friend or classmate's game and cheer them on.
87. Thank a principal.
88. Compliment another parent on their child's behavior.
89. Thank your school's janitor, whether you make a card or simply say "thank you for working so hard to keep this school looking so great for our kids," this often thankless-job is vital!
90. Be a courteous and kind driver.
91. Be kind to urban animals and wildlife: do not chase pigeons or throw coins in a fountain where fish live.
92. Leave a note of kindness in the pocket of a coat in a clothing store, like “You look great in this!” or “You are more important than you could ever know.”
93. Organize a drive-by parade for a teacher.
94. Order a new book from our list of diverse books for kids, and have it sent to a friend.
95. Organize a drive-by parade for a friend's birthday.
96. Send a friend or relative a sweet surprise from Sugarwish.
97. Teach your kids about another culture's holiday traditions.
98. Wave hi to someone you don't know!
99. Ask a friend if they need any help: could you walk their dog, bring them masks, or drop off a book to read?
100. Turn a negative thought about yourself (or someone else) into a positive one. "She's demanding" can easily turn into "She's passionate."
Want more? Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s idea page.
Feature photo: Eye on Ebony via Unsplash