No matter the time of year or the circumstances, it is always nice to think of others in our families and communities. Teaching kids to think of others and spreading joy is a fun family activity for all ages. With a few simple items from around the house, you and your family can put a smile into someone’s day!
Here are some activities to try together. The level of the activity can be determined by the children’s ages and abilities.
Thank You Cards: Our communities are filled with people who are doing things for others every day. Why not say thank you through a handwritten note or a piece of artwork? Then drop it off at their work location or in the mail.
- Postal Workers
- Garbage and Recycling/Sanitation Workers
- Fire Fighters
- Doctors/Nurses/Health Care Workers
- Other essential workers such as grocery store employees and truck drivers
Thinking of You Cards/Artwork: There is a population of people who are unable to get out into the community who could simply use a “hello” and know that someone is thinking of them. Put a smile on their faces through your talents. Draw a poster, create a piece of pottery, color a picture, or write them a short story.
- People in nursing homes
- Special needs facilities
- Long-term care facilities
Family and Friends: Reach out to loved ones you’ve been missing to let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Set up a virtual hot chocolate playdate with the kids. Both parties can meet at a given time with their favorite beverage such as hot chocolate with marshmallows.
- Send a hug. Have your child lay on their back on a large piece of paper (Don’t have a piece large enough? Cut paper grocery bags open and use the inside to trace/draw on). Their head and extended arms should be on the paper. Trace the child. Then the child can decorate it, making it look like themselves. Put it in an envelope with a nice note and send it off.
- Create a short video message. Use your phone and then text or email it to friends and family near and far.
Art for the Community: Help keep positivity in the community. Art is a powerful way to convey hope, joy, caring, and encouragement.
- Chalk a positive encouraging message. Draw on your driveway or sidewalk using chalk or washable paint. When people walk by, they will see that others care.
- Hang a picture in your windows. Help your child create with pastels, paint, markers, or crayons. The image could be whatever gives the child joy. Add words of encouragement if you would like.
- Make a poster. Then take a picture of it and send to loved ones via your phone. Daily images can put a smile on anyone’s face.
Help a Neighbor in Need: There may be someone in your neighborhood/community that could use a bit of extra help. Sometimes just taking one thing off someone’s list can make a big difference.
- Mow their lawn
- Shovel their driveway
- Take their trash/recycling to the curb
- Weed their flower beds and/or add a few flowers to brighten things up
- Walk their dog
- Offer to pick up groceries when you make a store run
- Drop off some baked goods with a handwritten note
No matter what you choose to do, know that you are making the difference in the lives of both the person you are helping and the child you are choosing to good the good deeds with. Together a community is stronger than one!
Maggie Okponobi has a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a Minor in Early Childhood, Science, and Literacy and a Master’s degree in Business. Maggie holds an Elementary Teaching Certification K-6 for the state of Indiana and has a diverse background of teaching, community service, and serving as a board member to an organization that sponsors student educations. Maggie taught for 2 years before heading overseas. Her love of community service sent her to the West African country of The Gambia where she served for 2.5 years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer working in the Education sector. Following that, she stayed and taught at the American International school for 2 years as a kindergarten/grade one teacher. Once back with family in the U.S., Maggie worked as a grade one teacher at a charter school. From there, she moved into her current role of running School Specialty’s Grant Assist™ program.
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