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Whilst it is important to encourage children to be kind and thoughtful towards others all year round, Christmas is certainly a fabulous time of year to put a real emphasis on kindness, giving and thinking about others and a little less emphasis on what we want and what we're going to get.
When Chelsea from Moments a Day organised a group of bloggers to participate in Random Acts of Kindness for Toddlers and Preschoolers I was grateful for the opportunity to think about this more and to reinforce these important messages in my children. Using Chelsea's ebook, 52 Acts of Kindness, for inspiration, I read through some of the different and simple ideas that we could do to bring a little bit of sunshine to someone's life. Together, we decided that we would write a letter and leave a little gift for our postman.
Materials we used: Home-made Christmas Card, large ziplock bag, ribbon, cardboard, markers, Christmas wrapping paper, sticky-tape, scissors, holepunch, little gift (gingerbread men, optional)
So that the postman would know that the package was for him, Maddie (aged 4) made a little sign. This was a good literacy experience as we talked about how to write the words first and were able to talk about letter sounds etc. I wrote the words on a piece of paper for her to use for reference as she wrote. She of course needed to decorate it too.
For the inside of the Christmas card we talked about what we should say to the postman and what message we wanted to get across. Once we had brainstormed ideas a little, Maddie dictated the card and I wrote it in. Children with more advanced writing skills may like to write the card themselves.
I asked her if there was a question that she would like to ask the postman. I wonder if he will reply at all?
We also talked about whether she thought she was going to get a present or letter back from the postman. At first she thought that she would, but as I was not so sure, she realised that she most probably would not, and that was fine. We were NOT giving in order to receive something. We were giving to spread a little joy in the world and in return, we get a little joy just thinking about that happiness.
We wrapped the little gift and put it inside a clear zip-lock bag. As we often have unpredictable weather, we wanted to ensure that it would survive the elements. We put the card and little sign inside the bag as well and used a little bit of tape to secure them in place to the inside of the bag so that they would be easily visible by the postman. After sealing the bag, I punched a hole in the top and threaded through a nice thick ribbon to tie to the letter box.
The kids couldn't wait to get outside and put it on the letter box.
I tied the ribbon around the letter box with a nice big loop. I didn't want to secure it so tightly that the postman couldn't get it off, so avoiding millions of knots is probably a good idea. We hope he likes it! :)
Thanks for the letters Mr Postman. (Well, except for the bills, you can keep those ones).
Important messages my children learnt through this experience:
- It is nice to do things for other people
- We can give without expecting anything in return
- You don't have to have a reason to do nice things for people
- Bringing happiness to others makes us feel happy too
- It doesn't have to take a lot of work or effort to bring a smile to someone's day
Here are some more Acts of Kindness for children:Bringing a Meal to a family in need from Moments a Day
Kindness Elves. An Elf on the Shelf alternative from The Imagination Tree
Making Bread for someone special from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Burying Treasure from Pennies of Time
We hope you feel inspired to try some Acts of Kindness with your children. We're certainly not going to limit ourselves to being kind during the Christmas period and will be sure to continue performing random acts of kindness throughout the year.
Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
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