Originally launched in 1998 by The World Kindness Movement, World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13. Currently, 28 countries participate in The World Kindness Movement, including the United States, in hopes of making this world a better place. As we often think of gratitude during the month of November, kindness and gratitude often go hand-in-hand. Join the movement and lead your group in spreading kindness with the activity ideas below.
KINDNESS ROCKS – Either collect smooth rocks outside or purchase river rocks from a craft store and create kindness rocks with your group. Before the activity, print a list of encouraging words or short quotes that members can choose to write on their rock. Instruct members to use acrylic paint to paint the top of the rock a solid color. When dry, ask them to use a paint pen to write a kind message or quote on top of the rock. (Some may need help writing.) Set aside to dry for a few hours before sealing with a clear sealer spray paint. (You might want to do this last step outdoors). Once the sealer dries, place the rocks throughout your facility where other members and staff can read them. Alternatively, encourage participants to give their rock to someone who might need encouragement.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS REMINISCENCE – Reminisce with your group about how kindness has shaped their lives. Ask them to recall times when they did a random act of kindness, such as paying for someone else’s grocery bill, and how they felt afterwards. Ask them if they remember a random act of kindness that someone else did for them. What did it mean to them and how did it change their outlook on life? Reminisce about how kindness has evolved or declined over the generations.
KINDNESS BOARD – Create a “Kindness Counts” bulletin board and invite members to leave encouraging notes to staff or other members throughout the month. Set a deck of blank index cards and pens on a small table near the board. Label two containers, one to hold clean pens and one to hold used pens that you can sanitize as needed. Alternatively, make this a group activity where members can ask for assistance to write what they want to say on their card.
BOOKS ABOUT KINDNESS – Share this list of books about kindness at your next book club and ask participants to vote on what they want to read. Encourage members to read the book, or offer audio book sessions where participants can listen together. At the end of the month, discuss the book and ask members to share how they think the book featured kindness.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF – Encourage members to be kind to themselves by offering self-care activities throughout the month. Here are a few self-care activities: one-on-one mini manicures, guided group relaxation or meditation, gratitude journaling, seated exercise classes, unwind & relax evening yoga, and connecting with nature (caring for a plant, walks outdoors, etc.).
KINDNESS BINGO – Create your own Kindness Bingo card to distribute to members at the start of the month. Make a five-inch by five-inch bingo chart and fill in the squares with acts of kindness. Challenge participants to complete five in a row or fill the card. Be sure to include a few self-care activities as well. Other ideas include: send a note to a neighbor, say “thank you” to a staff member, let someone else go first, check in on a family member, and make a cheerful sign for your window.
KINDNESS VIRTUAL STORY TIME – Since intergenerational programs are difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, consider hosting your own virtual story time for a local daycare, preschool, or grandchildren of your members. This is easy to do if your facility already has a social media account. If not, consider launching a social media page to promote your facility.
Set dates and times that work for both parties. Ask for volunteers from your group who are willing to be recorded while reading a children’s book. Give them the book ahead of time so they can practice reading it aloud. Choose books about kindness for the month of November. On the day of the story time, go live through your facility’s social media account. Use the comment or chat function to foster conversation between the children and your members.
CONVERSATION STARTERS ABOUT KINDNESS – Invite members to a social-distance conversation about kindness. Prompt conversation with the following questions: Where do you see people being kind most often? What does kindness mean to you? What are a few ways we can be kind to other members or staff? What can we do to make our community a kinder place? When you think about kindness, what feelings are evoked? What color is kindness and why? When is it difficult to be kind? When is it easy to be kind? Who is it easiest or most difficult to be kind towards, and why?
HOMEMADE CARDS – Gather supplies to make homemade cards with your group. Purchase blank cards and stickers or stamps that have a kind message at a local hobby store. Set out stamps, stamp pads, stickers, and other embellishments for participants to use to decorate their cards. Encourage participants to send their cards to people who need encouragement this month. This activity can also be completed one-on-one.
ACKNOWLEDGING HEROS – Spread kindness to those who have served our country by sending a treat. Work with your dining team or order individually-wrapped cookies from a local bakery. Tie a “thank you” note to the bag with a patriotic ribbon. Put the treats on a table for veterans to pick up on Veteran’s Day, or place them in mail slots if appropriate.
LEGACY REMINISCENCE – Reminisce with members about their family’s legacy and what their parents or grandparents taught them regarding kindness. How did their adult heroes influence their childhood and adolescence? What would they like their own families to remember about how they parented? What traits or aspirations do they hope to pass on to their children and grandchildren? How did they instill values? What advice do they have for the current generation about being kind? End by offering participants the opportunity to write their grandchildren an inspirational letter about kindness.
SPREAD KINDNESS TRIVIA
- Who said, “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted” – Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Aesop? Aesop
- Can you name the Catholic nun who was known for her extreme kindness in helping the sick, poor, and orphaned in India? Mother Teresa
- Which of the following words is a synonym for kindness: honesty, charity, or integrity? Charity
- Engaging in acts of kindness releases what chemicals in the brain? (hint: the same chemicals released during exercise) Endorphins
- How many random acts of kindness do you need to complete in a week in order to increase your happiness for up to three months: 5, 10, or 15? Five
- What is the phrase used when someone does something kind for you, and you in turn then do something kind for someone else? Pay it forward
- What is the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Who was the creator and host of a preschool television series, running from 1968-2001, that focused primarily on teaching children to be kind? Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
- People who are perpetually kind are said to age how many times slower than their unkind peers: two times, three times, or four times? Two times
- Name some ways you can be kind that doesn’t cost anything. Smile, say “thank you,” give a compliment, hold the door for someone else, let someone else go first, leave the last dessert for someone else, etc. (Other answers are acceptable.)
SPREAD KINDNESS THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Always be a little kinder than necessary.” ~ James M. Barrie
“Spread Kindness” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2020 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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