The holidays are particularly special as a time of the year when good will, kindness, and generosity are hallmarks of the season. Teaching about kindness and community is an ideal topic for this time of year, regardless of the age of your students or the specific holidays that they might celebrate. Take these five easy activities to heart to teach your students how kindness can enrich their lives.
1. Organize a charity drive
Whether class-wide or school wide, charity drives can be a wonderful way to encourage students to give. Talk to your local food pantry or shelter to find out specific needs for items and encourage students to bring in donations. Be sure to share any thank you letters with your students so they can see how much they impacted their local community.
2. Help out a club in need
For older students, this might mean spending some time volunteering with a community organization such as a senior center. For younger students, choose a project on your school campus that needs some helping hands. From school yard clean up days to spending time with the elderly, having hands-on experience with volunteering can help teach children the value of kindness.
3. Create a “nice things” list
For many children, self-confidence is a major issue, particularly in the middle grades. Have students create “nice” lists giving compliments to one another in class. Lists can be turned in for teacher checking and then given to the students as holiday memento and a thank you. Seeing how their classmates react to kind words can be an eye opening experience for children.
4. Letter writing campaign
Create community outreach by encouraging your students to write letters to the elderly, soldiers, or pen pals. Creating a common bond through letter writing can show how valuable kindness and communication can be. For younger children, consider hand made cards or drawings as a simpler form of sharing kindness.
5. “I wish…” writing center
Create a writing assignment for students to describe their most generous idea or what they would do to help change the world. Encouraging students to imagine what is possible through kindness and generosity can emphasize the themes of the season while letting kids stretch their imaginations. Essays or ideas can be shared with the class for further class discussion.