For me as a child clinical psychologist, teaching kindness is vitally important. It helps children get clear on their values from a young age, helps them to feel happy and worthwhile as people, and contributes to more harmonious family and peer relationships. That’s why I have created these kindness cards free printables which are for both personal use and school use.
Below you’ll find 24 random acts of kindness ideas, each explained in the article and printed on a card. It’s a wonderful, simple way of increasing your child’s kindness towards others. I use them with all ages from primary / elementary students through to teens.
Why Is Kindness So Important?
Kindness is essential to a child’s social and emotional development. When children engage in positive behavior towards others, it helps them form healthy relationships and improves their ability to communicate effectively with others. These skills are crucial to their growth as individuals and play a vital role in their social and emotional growth.
Research has shown that kindness not only benefits those who receive it, but it also benefits the giver. Acts of kindness release the hormone oxytocin, which creates a sense of happiness and well-being. Children who practice kindness are more likely to be happy and content with their lives, leading to positive mental health outcomes. Kindness could shown be towards another human or group of people, to animals, or to the earth.
Furthermore, learning kindness at a young age can lead to children becoming well-rounded adults. When children learn the importance of empathy and compassion, they are more likely to develop strong social skills, which can benefit them throughout their lives. These skills are not only important for personal relationships but also for professional relationships.
Download Your Free Kindness Cards Here
Here are your free printable kindness cards! Download the pdf pages, print and cut them out.
How to Use Your Free Kindness Cards
Here are seven creative ways you can use the free printable cards with your child:
- Your child picks one kindness card per week. As you go through the week, discuss ideas, progress and successes.
- Place a kindness card in your child’s lunchbox or backpack as a surprise reminder to be kind during the day.
- Choose a kindness card at random and use it as inspiration for a family outing or activity that promotes kindness.
- Challenge your child to perform one act of kindness every day for a week, using the cards as a starting point for ideas.
- Use the cards to teach younger children about emotions and empathy by acting out scenarios based on the prompts.
- Encourage your child to keep a kindness journal and write about their experiences performing acts of kindness inspired by the cards.
- Get together with some other parents to form a “kindness club”. As a group, your children pick a card jointly and work on one of the acts of kindness per month, supported by their parents.
TAKE THE QUIZ!
24 Acts of Kindness Contained in the Kindness Cards
1. Hold the door open for someone
The simplest of acts of kindness. Anyone can hold open a door for someone else and it shows respect and consideration.
2. Write a thank-you note to someone who has helped you
Writing a nice note to say thank you is one of those simple acts that demonstrates thoughtfulness and gratitude. Even the littlest of children can get involved in this with your help. For example, they could trace their name, make a hand print or draw a picture on the note. This is a kind act that can become a lovely habit
3. Compliment someone on something they did well
Compliments are a simple way to make someone else feel good, but they are not always easy to do. Sometimes we feel exposed or self-conscious when we pay others compliments, so it may not come naturally to your child.
The way to overcome this is through practise! Make it playful. Practise paying one another compliments, and make it funny by encouraging them to become more and more grand and outrageous as you go along! In daily life, try to model paying compliments in your family. Make sure you pay each family member a compliment consciously every day.
4. Donate a toy or item of clothing you no longer use to a charity
As a parent, encouraging your child to donate toys or clothes has many benefits. It teaches generosity, empathy, and compassion. Donating also promotes decluttering and organization skills. Your child can learn the joy of giving and make a positive impact on someone else’s life.
5. Share your favourite toy or snack with a friend
Sharing is an essential skill. When your child shares – whether willingly or not – it should be celebrated. Sharing can also improve communication skills and create positive social interactions. Your child will build stronger relationships by sharing with others. It can also enhance your child’s self-esteem and sense of worth, knowing that they can make a difference in someone else’s life through a little act of kindness.
6. Help make dinner or dessert for your family
Cooking for others is one of those kind things that benefits the giver as much as the receiver! It’s so satisfying to have others taste and enjoy your creation. Not to mention that your child will be learning an essential life skill that will help them to become independent.
7. Help set the table for dinner
Children need to learn to play a role in the running of the family home. Small things like helping set the table for dinner show respect for other members of the family and their own busy lives. If your child helps spontaneously or does their chore without being reminded, be sure to recognise this and praise them highly.
8. Draw or paint a picture for someone you care about
Have you considered the benefits of encouraging your child to draw a picture for someone as an act of kindness? Not only does it encourage creativity and self-expression, but it also fosters empathy, gratitude, and generosity. Drawing a picture can be a great reminder to someone that you care and appreciate them. So why not encourage your child to spread kindness through their art today?
9. Help someone with their homework
Helping someone else with their homework can be an incredible confidence-booster for your child, and of course it helps the other child out. Even if your child is not academic, they could help in an area of strength such as art, or they could help a younger child.
10. Write a positive note or draw a picture and leave it on someone’s desk or doorstep
This act of kindness is all about learning that you don’t always have to get recognition for being kind. Sometimes it feels just as good to show kindness secretly and have that inner knowledge that you have done a good thing. Little “compliment cards” only take 2 minutes to write and can make someone’s day.
11. Pick up some litter in a public space like a park or beach.
Even very small children can get involved in litter picking. Whether you do it as a family or as part of a larger organised event, it will give you and your child a wonderful sense of community and accomplishment. It’s one of my favorite activities!
12. Make a card for a relative or friend who lives far away
Writing a card can be a heartwarming way to show someone you care, especially when they live far away. As a parent, encouraging your child to write a card can help them to develop their emotional intelligence, as well as their writing skills.
It’s also a chance for your child to reflect on their relationship with the recipient, and to express their feelings of love, appreciation, or friendship. By writing a card, your child can learn the importance of staying connected with those they care about.
13. Make a birdhouse or feeder for your garden or to hang from a window
Creating a bird house or feeder is an easy and fun way to learn about helping non-human creatures. Your child will get so much happiness from watching the birds eat from their feeder or nest in their bird box. There are some simple and cheap ideas in the video below from Caitie’s Classroom.
14. Help someone with a chore: for example an elderly neighbour or grandparent who needs help in their garden
I recommend doing this one as a whole family community service project. If an elderly neighbour is struggling to keep up with garden maintenance, you could achieve so much by spending a couple of hours clearing and tidying together. It will also strengthen your bond as a family.
15. Read a story to a younger sibling, cousin, friend or pet
Of course, reading aloud will give your child’s literacy skills a fantastic boost. It’ll help your child deepen the bond between your child and the recipient of the story, especially if that person or animal needs support to feel calmer.
Reading a story to someone reinforces the idea that giving can take many forms and you don’t have to give something physical.
16. Collect and donate some canned or boxed foods for a food bank
An increasing number of families rely on foodbanks. If there are weeks when you can spare one or two extra items, why not get your child involved? They can collect a box of items over 3-4 weeks and then take it to the donation point.
Your local grocery store will usually have a place to put your donated goods, from where they will be distributed to those who need them.
17. Bake cookies or cupcakes for your class or sports team.
Baking is a great way to show others you care about them, and it’s so much fun. Your child gets the joy and satisfaction of seeing a process through from beginning to end and creating something wonderful. They also send a positive message to their class or team: “I have been thinking about you and I want to do something nice for you”.
18. Make a friendship bracelet for a friend or family member
This is a great activity for slightly older children (8+). It’s a cheap, simple way to show kindness to a friend. All you need is some yarn or embroidery thread in mixed colours. If your child is a beginner they may wish to follow a tutorial video like the one below from Audrey’s Jar, and they may need help from you at first.
19. Send a care package to a friend or family member who lives far away.
Does your child have a friend or relative who they don’t see often as they are so far away? Creating a care package is one of those types of activities that makes both the sender and receiver feel special. It’s not about spending lots of money or making it “fancy”. It’s about the love that has gone into the package.
Encourage your child to take their time to put the package together. For example, it might contain something nice to eat, something hand-crafted, and a colourful little personalised note.
20. Paint kindness rocks and leave them in public spaces
You will have have heard about the kindness rocks trend even if you haven’t tried it. These are a wonderful random act of kindness because they could truly reach anyone.
Children paint their own creative designs on rocks and then leave them in random places. They may touch someone who is a complete stranger and make their day. Children of all ages can make kindness rocks and this makes it magical.
21. Send a thank you note to a teacher or coach
Sometimes it’s the little things that really touch a person. Teachers and coaches often go under-appreciated. A little note from your child showing their appreciation could genuinely make their day. Don’t wait for a special occasion like the end of the school year. It’s the randomness of this that makes it extra special!
22. Offer to help a sibling or friend with their chores
This kindness act is fantastic for teaching give and take. Perhaps your brother doesn’t fancy emptying the dishwasher today as he is feeling exhausted. Well, if you do it for him, not only will you feel good but he might do your chore another time! On top of this, it will deepen sibling bonds.
23. Make and donate blankets to a homeless shelter or animal rescue
Why not teach your child to make a patchwork, knitted or crocheted blanket? Don’t have the skills yourself? No problem! Why not learn together. Crafting is wonderfully creative and calming and therefore beneficial for your child’s mental health.
Once made, your child can donate their blankets to a good cause such as an animal shelter or baby charity. A beautifully simple and satisfying way to make someone’s world a better place.
24. Create a scavenger hunt or obstacle course for younger siblings or friends
If you’re looking for a way to keep your child engaged while also building their leadership and creativity skills, why not suggest they create a scavenger hunt or obstacle course for younger children?
This activity can help them improve problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills. It’s also a great way to take the focus away from screens, providing an active and engaging outlet for them.
I hope you enjoy my free random acts of kindness printables and that you see your child’s kindness growing and growing!
Some of the resources I have shared below contain even more free printable kindness activities for you to explore.
Finally, remember that February 17th every year is “national random acts of kindness day”!
More Kindness Resources
Random Acts of Kindness: 365 Days of Good Deeds, Inspired Ideas and Acts of Goodness by Brenda Knight & Becca Anderson
Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years.
In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children. Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents and children who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.
Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.
Join They Are The Future’s free Facebook group for regular tips on supporting teens and pre-teens with their mental health! Join the group: Parent Tips for Positive Child Mental Health UK.