In the past we have participated in the 30 Days of Gratitude for November (Where you make a Turkey out of two foam balls wrapped in yard, then each day you add a feather made from construction paper attached to a popsicle stick- write what you are thankful for on the feather, & then press it into the Turkey….thus having a full turkey at the end. This activity is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!), and have done the Acts of Kindness Countdown to Thanksgiving and the children seem to favor the latter.
The idea is kind of similar to an Advent calendar. However instead of a piece of candy each day there is an act of kindness for the children to complete. Here is a pic of ours, it is very plain, very simple….we purchased the countdown drawers from Hobby Lobby (they were 40% off, Score!!), kiddos added the leaves, & done!
Our lives are very busy and seem to only be getting busier by the day as the Holidays approach. So the key is to not overcomplicate the acts of kindness. There is not a one size fits all type of list, customize to your family’s needs. You know how much time you can allot each day and your budget. Here is our list, please feel free to use the exact same list, substitute, alter, etc. I will tell you, whenever possible add any funds that might be required ahead of time to the drawer & have items needed for the weeks acts of kindness on hand, it makes the process much smoother and less stressful for mom, or dad, but mostly mom.
Acts of Kindness List:
- Pick up trash at the neighborhood park (There might be a lot after trick-or-treating)
- Clean out the car
- Leave quarters at the Laundry Mat (Include bag of quarters in drawer)
- Donate Socks to Hannah’s Socks http://www.hannahssocks.org/sock-drop-off-locations/
- Make Thank You notes for the Crossing Guard
- Pay for the persons order behind you in a drive-thru (Kids get a kick out of this one!)
- Help rake leaves
- Organize & serve dinner at The Beach House Family Shelter
- Mail an “I am thinking of you” card to a relative to lift their spirits
- Pack a shoebox for Samaritans Purse’s Operation Christmas Child (Add money for each child & then take them to the dollar store to fill their shoe box) https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
- Help a sibling with one of their chores today
- Donate coloring books and crayons to the Ronald McDonald House
- Give Muffins to the Mailman with a thank you note (Or a gift card to Tim Horton’s so they can pick out their own treat)
- Drop off Hersey’s Hugs for Hospice
- Make an effort to smile today, they are contagious!!
- Take a treat to the First Responders
- Write uplifting messages with chalk on the sidewalk for all the passers-by
- Spend quality time with a loved one
- Go through books and donate some to the Library
- Donate a Toy to Toys-for-Tots (Via eBay, http://toysfortots.org/donate/?gclid=CPrRmLvc-M8CFUtahgod26AOaw )
- Write a thank you note to your teacher
- Help tidy house
- Let your sibling borrow your favorite toy/device
- THANKSGIVING DAY!!! – A special thank you from Mom & Dad! I am sending the kids on a small treasure hunt around the house/yard to retrieve 3 clues. The last clue will lead them to their Thanksgiving Bags; each bag will be filled with fun activities (coloring sheets, crafts, fun turkey glasses, etc.) to occupy them during Thanksgiving meal, dessert, etc.
We like to reveal ours the night before, that way the kids can sleep on it. Thus we will begin ours Halloween night. And then each night following the children will take turns uncovering the Act of Kindness for the next day. If time permits we will take a moment and discuss the act of kindness to make certain it is comprehended accurately and to listen to children’s suggestions. Then the next day while running kids around we will discuss how they accomplished the act of kindness….ask them how it made them feel, how they think it made the other person feel, and any addition questions associated with the act….in an effort to make it more of an experience, not a chore.
Does your family have a similar tradition around this time of year? Do you have any suggestions for additional acts of Kindness? Was there an act of kindness you did or received from someone who had a strong impact on your life? Please share…