Build a kind classroom and inspire children to be kind with these kindness activities for kids that go along with important children’s books in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
5 Books with Activities to Teach Kindness in the Elementary Classroom
As teachers in today’s world, we are aware of the importance of teaching SEL (social-emotional learning) topics in the classroom. Among them is the concept of kindness.
Helping kids learn about and practice kindness has many benefits, including a more peaceful and positive classroom. Using kindness activities for kids allows for more effective learning experiences and builds a skill that will serve them well as they grow up.
Children’s books are great tools to teach concepts such as kindness, as kids relate to the stories and examples of kindness.
Besides simply reading the books, you can use lessons and activities to reinforce the message of the books. Check out this list of fun ideas, and learn how to use books to teach kindness!
1. Be Kind
Be Kind by Pat Miller is a sweet book about all the different ways to be kind. Kids learn things from standing up to a friend’s bully to befriending “the new girl,” there are many ways to be kind, and that small acts of kindness matter.
This book provides real examples of ways kids can be kind in situations they commonly find themselves in. Teachers can facilitate conversation about the scenarios in the book and how they could connect to the students’ lives.
- Have students point to their hearts and ask, “What are our hearts for?”
- Introduce the book and ask kids what kindness is.
- Create a collaborative 4-part anchor chart and brainstorm ways to be kind at home, at school, community, and on the planet.
- After your discussion, have students write about how they will be kind.
Activities to Use with Be Kind
- Be Kind Scenario Role Play – Use the “Be Kind” scenario cards to lead your classroom discussion and role-play what they could do to be kind given a situation.
- Be Kind Pledge and Certificate – Read and practice a “Be Kind” pledge. Have children promise to be kind each day and sign a pledge sheet. Recognize their efforts by giving them a “Be Kind” certificate.
2. Try a Little Kindness
Try a Little Kindness by Henry Cole is a funny book with cute animal characters that kids will love! Each page features a new way to be kind. Sometimes there is a character who isn’t doing something kind – Can your students spot it?
This book is an excellent way to start conversations about ways to show kindness while being entertained simultaneously.
- As you read the story, discuss the picture examples and highlight the many simple ways to show kindness.
- Create a collaborative 4-section anchor chart and brainstorm words and examples of ways to be kind in each section (do, say, help, be).
- After the lesson, have kids write about new ways they will try to be kind and show kindness.
Activities to use with Try a Little Kindness
- Kindness Cards – Attach cards with simple ways to show kindness to popsicle sticks and place them in a jar or container. Use kindness cards to randomly encourage kids to show kindness to others throughout the day.
- Kindness Bucket List Craftivity – Have kids make a list of ways they want to show kindness in the future. Print or cut a bucket and staple the list of kindness ideas onto the bottom of the bucket. Encourage kids to refer back to their list!
3. A Little Spot of Kindness
The book A Little Spot of Kindness by Diane Alber is suitable for teaching everyday kindness to kids. Little SPOT is on a journey to learn how to show kindness. SPOT teaches kids different ways to be kind, from saying please to sharing toys. Teachers can use this book to help kids “spot” kind acts at school.
- Create a collaborative chart called “A Spot of Kindness” and record the words we can say and things we can do to show kindness.
- After you read the book, give each child a colored dot sticker for their hand. Encourage them to use the dot as a reminder to show kindness. Every time they spot the sticker, they do something kind.
- Ask kids to share other words that mean the same thing as kind (synonyms). Record the words on a chart. Point out that there are many ways to be kind.
- After the lesson, have kids write about their experience with a kindness spot or create an acrostic poem for the word KINDNESS.
Activities to use with A Little Spot of Kindness
- Spotting Kindness Scavenger Hunt – Have kids spot kind acts in the classroom and on the playground with a scavenger hunt. Kids look for acts of kindness and record classmates’ names of who they see as kind.
- “Spotted Being Kind” Punch Cards – Spot kids being kind each day, punch a hole on a kindness card with a hole punch, and celebrate them once their card is full of punches.
4. The Cool Bean
The Cool Bean by Jory John and Pete Oswald is another fun book in the popular The Food Group series. Kids learn about the Uncool Has-Bean, who isn’t like the other “cool beans.” By the end of the book, he learns that being kind is the best way to “be a cool bean.”
Teachers can use these funny, cool beans and kindness activities for kids to teach about what is most important – being kind to one another!
- Before reading, talk about what it means to be cool. Give kids a small piece of paper and ask them to draw or write about what cool means. Ask for a few to share what they think.
- As you read, stop to point out that the Cool Beans act with kindness. Ask, “Is it cool to be kind?”
- After reading, discuss what the Cool Beans did in the story and ask how they were cool. Share a story about when someone was kind to you. Ask kids to share their own stories.
- Create a collaborative chart called “Cool Kind Kids” and brainstorm things cool kids do, say, and are on an anchor chart.
- After the lesson, have kids write how they are cool, kind kids.
Activities to Use with The Cool Bean
- Cool or Uncool Kindness Sort – Sort cards with kind and unkind examples under the headings “Cool Ways to Act” and “Uncool Ways to Act.”
- “Kind is Cool” Sunshine Mobile Craft – Create and hang a sunshine mobile with ideas of different ways to be cool and kind.
5. Kindness is a Kite String
The book Kindness is a Kite String by Michelle Schaub is a poetic book about kindness. The “kite strings” refers to kind acts that lift others, and kids learn about simple but essential ways to show kindness to others.
This book inspires kids to lift others up with their kind deeds.
- Before you read, ask kids to share why kindness might be like a kite string or a set of dominoes. Discuss ideas.
- Share an example of how one act of kindness can lead to others. Record as a sequence of events (i.e., You smile at someone. That person holds the door for someone else. Then that person pays someone a compliment, etc.)
- Create a collaborative chart called “Kindness Is” and brainstorm what “kindness” means to them. They can be a metaphor or something that makes us think of kindness.
- After the lesson, have kids write about what kindness is to them.
Activities to Use with Kindness is a Kite String
- Directed Drawing of a Kite – Draw a kite following step-by-step instructions and additional details to make it unique.
- “Kindness Is” Kite Craft Activity – Cut out a kite shape and four bows for each child. On each bow, write a metaphor or something that kindness is to them. Attach a piece of string to the bottom of the kite, attach the bows along the string and hang them up to create a display.
Books that Teach Kindness
The books in this post are excellent choices to use for your lessons on kindness. In addition, the kindness activities for kids go alongside them will help your students learn more about being kind.
What book is your favorite?
Kindness Classroom Resources
Free Kindness Calendar Kit
Start building a kinder classroom now with this FREE Kindness Calendar Poster Kit. This kit includes materials to create your calendar with tons of options for acts of kindness to include.
Get those kindness lessons into action by clicking the image below!
Kindness Book Companion Lessons and Activities
Find activities for each of the five children’s books featured in this post in our Kindness Book Companion pack for K-2. You will have everything you need to lead informative lessons that support students as they practice kindness and build kind hearts.
Check out this comprehensive resource’s writing prompts, journals, games, posters, and activities.
More Kindness Activities for Kids!
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