There is a movement sweeping the nation and we can start teaching kids about it now. It’s an effort to show kindness to a stranger, in an effort to Pay it Forward. We at Kids Activities Blog hope that you have a chance to bring a little sunshine to someone else’s day.
This past holiday season, I wanted to teach my kids the meaning of Pay it Forward in an effort to spread a little kindness in our community. And it worked.
The first day of winter break I told my kids I had something special planned for them, to hurry up and get dressed. I partnered with my good friend, so her kids were in on it too. We sat them down, plunked a $20 bill on the table and told them we were going to try to show kindness to as many people as we could with as little as $20.
Silence. And a bunch of confused faces stared back at me. You see, these kids thought “special” meant something for them, like ice skating or going to a movie.
So we launched into the meaning of Paying it Forward. In simplest terms, we want to do random acts of kindness in hopes that it will inspire others to do them as well. Can you imagine a community of people who are doing kind acts? Even if the recipient is not doing a good deed, you will be touching them and making them smile.
We got out a pen and some paper and brainstormed. I was surprised at how easily my kids came up with ideas, even far-fetched ones.
Let’s bake cookies for someone. Let’s wash our neighbor’s car! Why don’t we go buy food and take it to the food pantry? What if we bought someone a car cause they really need one? (ok – a bit much, but I liked where they were going with it….)
Pay It Forward
After a while we came up with a pretty good list and headed to the dollar store to buy our supplies. Here is what we did:
- Donated 4 big boxes of clothes, toys, and linens to an apartment complex that had burned down the day before
- Baked a dozen cookies for our local fire department and police department and gave them homemade thank you cards
- Decorated a tree in the entrance of our neighborhood (a trend down here in Central Texas – and it inspired 4 other trees to get decorated)
- Gave a box of candy and thank you cards to each of our postmasters at the local Post Office
- Handed out candy canes and sang Christmas Carols to people at the Post Office and the local drug store
- Tracked down our local Postal workers and gave her a box of candy & a thank you card
Acts of Kindness
And what do you know? All of this only cost us $13. It was great to show the kids that you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to show people kindness. Everyone was taken back and thrilled to see us, which made the kids so proud of what they had done.
The greatest part of the day happened when we were handing out candy canes at the Post Office. A gentleman broke out in the Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song, stopping a whole crowd of people, giving us all goosebumps, and treating us in return. It was a direct response of the kid’s “paying it forward.”
We had a great, inspiring day, so now what? The kids wanted to do it again! So we have started a jar of coins that we are dubbing our “Pay it Forward” jar. When we happen across a free day, we are planning on using the saved money to inspire others to Pay it Forward.
Have we inspired you? What are some ways you can teach your kids to Pay it Forward?
More Kids Activities
Teaching kids how to show random acts of kindness will make this world a better place for everyone. The concept of Pay It Forward is so simple yet so beautiful. For more ideas for kids activities to help teach kindness to others, take a look at these posts: