Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Acts of Kindness Page 1

February 28, 2011 23:20 by Barbara Shelby

The following pages have more than 100 ideas to be Kind and recognize Kindness all year long! Acts of Kindness Ideas for Adults are on page 2--scroll down to the middle of the page...

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Each Year 'Random Acts of Kindness Week' is the second full week of February... 

 

THE ABOVE POSTER  WOULD BE EASY TO REPLICATE!

"KINDNESS STARTS WITH ME! ♥ PAY IT FORWARD" A nice reminder for the room! Other Bulletin Board/Display ideas are on page 2... 

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KINDNESS WEEK SLOGANS
Create a slogan and make posters and bumper stickers. Put them about the room and/or use slogans as writing and illustrating. The following 'slogans and quotes' would also make great  posters to display in the windows of local merchants!

Examples:
•"Kindness can change the world."
•"Kindness begins like a ripple of water"...
•"Kindness makes your heart glow!"
•"The kindness in people is reflected back to them."
•"I believe in the magic of kindness."
•"Practice random kindness."

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KINDNESS QUOTES
Locate various quotes about kindness. Put them up around the room and discuss what they mean. Students can
memorize their favorite quote. They could also illustrate their favorite quote.

To get you started...

•Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
Mark Twain

•Be kind to unkind people - they need it the most
Ashliiegh Brilliant

•To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

•Forget injuries, never forget kindnessess
Confucious

•Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo F. Buscaglia

•Kindness is never wasted. If it has no effect on the recipient, at least it benefits the bestower.
S. H. Simmons

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KINDNESS ACROSTIC
Use the letters of 'KINDNESS' to create acrostic poems. Use these poems to create a bulletin board, or use them as the written inserts of kindness cards.

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KINDNESS ZONE
Put up a kindness banner or sign at the entrance to school or your room to remind people to practice Random Acts of Kindness.

One school has set up a display in the entrance of their building they call it "The Kindness Zone." In this area they have put up hearts with suggestions of what children can do to show kindness to others.
Examples of their suggestions are:

♥ Set up a board game to play with your family.
♥ Pick up another student's jacket that has fallen on the floor.
♥ Ask a student you have never played with to join you at recess.
♥ Share your snack with a friend.
♥ Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.
♥ Sweep the kitchen floor for your parents.
♥ Take out the garbage without being asked.
♥ Pick up garbage on the schoolyard
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GREAT IDEA! "START YOUR DAY WITH JOY!"

At the beginning of the school year introduce rules. For the first rule have...  'Enter the room with a smile!'

Discuss how important it is to spread joy and it starts with them. Take pictures of  students smiling. Select different students weekly that are smiling and display them in an area of the hall. Donot tell them who will be selected as "Students of Joy!" for the week.  You may also have other students take pictures if you have a digital camera." (Source:  Nell Clark, Computer Teacher  at teachnology.com )

Prominently post this Poem...

SMILING

Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around a corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I realized I had passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine, could travel around the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick and get the world infected.
Author Unknown

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STICKS AND STONES... 
1. Provide each child with a small paper cutout in the shape of a
human-- or have students cut out their own paper figures.
2. Ask each student to write his or her name on the cutout. 
3. Have students form a circle; have them pass the cutouts to the person on their right.
4. As the cutouts are passed around the circle, have each
person make a small crumple or tear in the cutout and add a pencil mark.
5. When the cutouts have made their way around the entire circle,
have students try to repair their own cutouts by flattening, erasing, and taping.
6. After cutouts are repaired, discuss the
activity. Talk about the effects of unkind words and hurt feelings.

You might display the cutouts on a  bulletin board as a constant reminder of the effects of hurtful actions.
Source: educationworld

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TOOTH PASTE AND WORDS... A teaching lesson

During the first weeks of the new school year, purchase  travel size toothpaste and bring it to school. (If you're well into the school year-and you're experienceing a 'kindness challenge', also consider this exercise) 

Ask the kids if anyone thinks they can squeeze the entire tube of paste out... and then put it back into the tube? 
No one will think they can...Proceed to squeeze the entire tube onto a paper plate and show how it cannot be put back in.

Compare it to our words and how  we treat one another.  Kids will get the visual of how once we say unkind words... we can't take them back.  We can apologize but it's still out there and has hurt our friends

This is a wonderful visual; refer back to it throughout the year.

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MAKE UP CHEERS!
Example:

R-A-K
We will all be kind today!

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MAKE UP SONGS
Example: Sing to the tune of 'Are you Sleeping?'...

Kindness matters, kindness matters
Every day in every way...
Share with one another
Care for one another...
Let us all be kind today.

Are you a music teacher or have a music segment in your program or center?
If so...Focus on KINDNESS SONGS.

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USE YOUR WORDS...

WORDS HAVE POWER.

They
motivate...inspire...express emotions...give confidence and bring joy.

•Write notes of appreciation to the cafeteria workers, janitors, or other staff members who don't normally receive recognition.

•Ask your principal if each student from your class/program can read a quote or story about kindness each morning over the  intercom for as many days as there are students in your class/program.

•Tell someone that they are special.

•Write a letter, or for younger kids -- help them write a letter to someone, telling them how much you appreciate them.
 
•Write a letter to a friend, classmate or co-worker, highlighting their strengths.
 
•Play "10 Good Things." Say ten good things about someone.
 
•Remember that words are powerful. Say something to someone that you know they want to hear -- or need to hear.

•Have a 'Say Something Nice Day'! See directions below the middle of this page.

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Something to think about with your class/group!
How long would it take to do ONE MILLION ACTS OF KINDNESS? What would it take?
50 acts of kindness per day... For 55 years...Equals One Million Acts of Kindness

An act of kindness can be as easy as a friendly smile for a stranger, a kind thought for someone, holding the door for others, helping someone elderly with a routine task, letting a driver through in traffic, thanking a veteran, forgiving someone whom you felt has hurt you.....

Ask the kids if they think they'll do One Million Acts of Kindness in their lifetime? And then start!

Extension: Have some math fun...If each child in your group or class did at least one act of kindness each day-how many would that be by the end of the year?
Idea adapted from SowSeedsofLove

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THE COIN JAR

1. Label a plastic 32 ounce or larger, pretzel, milk jug, or goodie jar. With the children, decide on a donation project.
Some ideas are:
Coins for the Rainforest, a Homeless or Women's Shelter or Habitat for Humanity.

2. When the jar fills, start another.
This project demonstrates that one small act- such as contributing one coin- will grow into many acts of kindness, sharing and caring. It is astonishing how quickly coins will grow into a considerable amount of money.
 
3. Be sure to inform and talk to the children about the activity and its importance. Tell them what it is and how this will help the cause.

4. Along the way have children guess how many coins will be collected, how many are actually in the jar or jars, how much the jar weighs, etc.  Recognize the closest guesses in some way.
     •When your "Coins for______" is complete, be sure to submit an article to your building newsletter as well as your program newsletter!

Tip: On a daily basis, place the jar in the parents/information center and also rotate it within your building's staff lounge, office and work rooms! Inform the building community of your project and watch the coins multiply!
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RAK WEEKLY AWARDS

 Have staff and program children be on the lookout for RAKs throughout the week. Supply forms to nominate kids  they see doing RAKs around the program or school day.
 
• Staff members and parents can also be awarded RAKs. 
• The nominee's names/acts can be posted in the information center on Friday mornings.
• Take the children's picture; put it on a construction paper brick with their name and RAK. (see below)

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KINDNESS BRICK WALL -When a child receives RAK recognition, take their photograph and put it on a construction paper brick shape. If unable to take a photo, write their name and deed on the brick and put it on the wall of kindness.
 
Each week the kids will see the brick wall grow. A large area will be covered by the end of the school year!
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CONNECT US ALL!

 

• Design a pre-cut person, hand, or heart shape. When children are caught being kind, take the design with their name and deed on the shape. 

• The shapes are taped together in a chain or patchwork style connecting the kids of the program or classroom.

This is a good project for the entire school---connecting one end of the school to the other! Check it out with the school to see if they'd like to join you!

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Establish specific days of the week that focus on kindness in different areas of children's lives-- such as:
    •'Kindness in the Classroom Day'...
    •'Good Manners Day'
and 'Kindness at Home Day'...

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Create a special 'Kindness Section' in your school or center newspaper--where good news about acts of kindness are reported. If there's no school newspaper, create a classroom newspaper.

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 KINDNESS LESSON...
Trace each child's hand on a piece of paper. Ask children to think of different ways people can be kind to others. Write their ideas on each finger of the hand drawing. It can be completed as described or cut out, mounted and decorated. Can also be put on wall or bulletin board.

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A GIANT PAPER DOLL CHAIN
What You Need: Paper and paint or markers...
Cut out life-size cutouts of  children. Have them paint them. Put them together in a large paper doll chain with the heading "We are all Friends"...

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THE COMPLIMENT GAME
This game is good to play when you have a group of children, especially if they tend to have a lot of personality conflicts.

Break children into groups; give each child a piece of paper.
Ask them to tear it into pieces--one for each child in the group.
On each piece of paper they should write the child's name, and then list all of the positive characteristics they can think of about that child. Try to have them focus on personality traits and behaviors, not physical attributes.
 
When each child has completed their lists, they should put all of them into a box. An adult in the group can read aloud all of the positive comments about each child. The children are usually very surprised at how many great things are said about them.
If they would like, the children can keep their lists in a folder or notebook. Then, when they're feeling a little down about themselves, they can read about how wonderful other people think they are.

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THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT!
Need: Paper, markers, tape
Everyone gets a piece of paper taped to their back. (Make sure their name is at the top of the paper.) Each person is given a marker. Each person in the group must walk around the room and write a compliment or positive remark about that person on their back..... NO PEEKING!

When everyone has written something positive on each others back, everyone returns to their seat. With a smaller group, everyone exchanges papers without looking at their own. Each participant can take a turn at reading off the person's list to that person aloud. (Adjust for a larger group)

What a great self-esteem booster. It doesn't matter if the group knows each other well--- because you can say things like..."He seems friendly" etc. But this is a great activity to do with kids who have been in a group for a while.

 

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   RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS FOUNDATION


The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation inspires people to practice kindness and to "pass it on" to others. They provide free educational and community ideas, guidance, and other resources to kindness participants through the website.

BOOKMARKS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ARE:
1. Bookmarks showing 'ten great ideas' for doing kindness every day.
2. Ten (More) Ideas For Kindness.
3. 'Kindness Pass It On' ... a sheet of bookmarks that you can print out and give to whoever needs a fun reminder about doing kindness.

 

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RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS CLUB This is a club for third through eighth graders. The club is based on service learning and community service. Through this process, responsible youth will make the club successful.

  • The kids in the club brainstorm some service learning projects, and then implement their ideas.
 
   •  A contract must be signed as a promise of commitment.

  • The children deliver the items that the program produces to the people in need Example: pictures to senior homes, etc.
 
  • Participating children can receive special things for being in the club.  An idea is a badge similar to 'security badges' that staff wear, or a special certificate.
 
  • Also arrange special surprises. In October, one program had a local farm donate small pumpkins for all the students in the RAK Club. This demonstrates the receiving end of a random act of kindness!

  • Recognize the members of this club at a school assembly or event at the end of the school year.

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KINDNESS BULLETIN BOARD
Created by Toni in Missouri

1.  Youth brainstorm ideas for unexpected, kind things to do for people--people who would not expect children to do a favor/kindness for them.
2.  Each idea is put on a shape and put on the board.
3.  When a student completes a RAK, they sign their name on the act that is posted on the board.
4.  By the end of the year, hopefully all of the brainstormed acts will have at least one signature on them to signify that someone acted in that manner for someone.

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RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS from After-School program to Host building Staff

To increase RAK and morale between your program and host staff, consider an RAK for them.
    • One morning provide a surprise pastry, donut, cookies or fruit table in the lounge.
    • Have the children make cards to put on the teachers room doors announcing the random surprise!
 
One school contacted a local shop to come to the school and make all the teachers lattes/coffee drinks one morning. (This is also a great idea to surprise SAC staff!)
 
Have SAC children volunteer to carry teacher's books, boxes, etc. when needed without being asked by the teacher.
 
On a recognized Kindness day, put together some staff goodies for the staff lounge with a note saying, "Goodies to brighten your day. From  the students of  ______ " 
     • Chocolate Kisses to remind you that you are loved!  
     • Starbursts to give you a burst of energy on the days you're low! 
     • A Lifesaver for you in return for all the times you’ve rescued us!  
     • A "thank you" for all the laughs and Snickers you share!  
     • And most importantly, smiles to pass on!
     • Adapted from an idea on the RAK website

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Celebrate an annual SAY SOMETHING NICE DAY ! (Good for All Ages)

On your “Say Something Nice Day’ notice something you like about a person and tell them. This can be during a 'Kindness Day or Week'--or ANY time of the year!

Declare a day in your classroom, home or program that this is Say Something Nice Day. Each participant promises to approach one person that day and finish the sentence:
“One of the things I like about you is ________________.”
When you are back together at the end of the day, share your experiences.

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Tip: As Marcia Cousin of Ballard Elementary has said in her paper, 'Random Acts of Kindness for Kids'...
Most kids easily understand "act" and "kindness" but might be unfamiliar with "random". Helping them define and learn to use this word is crucial to understanding the phrase.

Explain Random Acts of Kindness. You can do this by reading or telling children Random Acts of Kindness stories to get them to fully understand the concept.

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 ACTS OF KINDNESS FOR ANIMALS...

• Make a birdbath from a plastic dish and put it in your yard or on the windowsill. Keep it filled with water.
 
Maintain water bowls during cold months for both migrating and local birds. Make birdseed available as well.
 
Notify authorities immediately about pets left in hot cars. You may save a life.
 
Talk to younger children about why catching wild creatures such as frogs and turtles is not a good idea. Remind them that wild animals need to stay wild and free.
 
Offer to wash your dog or a neighbor's dog.
 
Make nutritional treats for dogs and cats, and give them to neighbors for their pets. Make extra for animal shelters.
 
Hold a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an animal shelter or wildlife fund

Adopt a lion, tiger, whale, or other animal. Many zoos, aquariums, and animal sea habitats have adoption programs. In exchange for financial support, you get a photo and biography of your new adoptee.

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THIS IDEA WAS SENT IN by Ora Crenshaw...SPREAD KINDNESS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!

The students at Franklin Elementary in Little Rock, all made cards with 'original kind sayings'.
On February 14th the students and staff delivered the cards and small gift bags to neighbors surrounding our school. The students LOVE sharing with others!

We received very nice responses from the neighbors.
One parent drove by and told us: "This is really nice. This is the kind of activity that I want to see my child involved in."
He took pictures of us and he had a huge smile on his face. His daughter was a little embarrassed, but we were proud. Also a neighbor called expressing: "I've just had the nicest thing  happen to me. I received an Act of Kindness" card from elementary school children. It made my day."

This is only one of the community projects that we have been involved with this year. WE LOVE PAYING IT FORWARD!!! The staff started these activities realizing that when children learn to share, it can be contagious and encourage them toward becoming better human beings who ENJOY being kind to others.

Thank you Ora for sharing! Barb 

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  From Laura~  At the After Care Program I run, we have a RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS CHAIN. A link is addded every time a random act of kindness is witnessed (The loops are made out of construction paper).  We then send a coupon home that says  "Be proud of your child, they have performed a random act of kindness today!" The kids love it! Each year we try to beat the previous year. We hang the chain around the room.

 

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 KINDNESS FOR THANKSGIVING
Near Thanksgiving, make a huge turkey body out of construction paper and affix it to a wall.
(Or make a smaller body and put on card stock or construction paper)

 

Give kids multi-colored paper feathers (construction paper, and write something nice about other students or family members.
Collect the feathers and place on the turkey.

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THE GOOD ELF! (A Winter RAK Activity)

 1. Challenge children to do random acts of kindness for others for one day.
 2. Advertise, post info, and make a big deal about the day!.
 3. Tell youth that they are not to reveal that they have done these nice things and if someone should ask them, "Did you put away the dishes...or games..or whatever..."? They reply, "Must have been a good elf".

This activity helps children realize we don't always have to be recognized when we do something for someone else. If playing with preschoolers or kindergarteners, you may want to send a note home explaining how parents can help.
I can't remember where I first saw this, but we do it every year! Cassie/Mi.

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100 ACTS OF KINDNESS
Adapted from L. Davis & C. Adams, Iowa

Celebrate the 100th day of school! (In the States, this is usually in February)

Make a large poster in the shape of the number 100 to hang in your classroom/program area. SEVERAL WEEKS before the 100th day of school, discuss acts of kindness toward others. Based on the number of youth in your group, two to three weeks before the big day, announce open season on acts of kindness. Encourage the children to recognize acts of kindness by others.
 
Each time kids see a classmate or friend engage in an act of kindness, they will tell staff and then put a sticker and their friend's name on the poster. The students can NOT name themselves, only others.
 
It should be easy to reach the goal of 100 acts of kindness. A profound difference in behavior, relationships, and outlook will be noticed.

ANOTHER NICE KINDNESS FOR 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL...
Collect 100 hugs. Keep track on them on a chart.

Go to Page 2 for more Kindness Ideas and Display Boards...

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Acts of Kindness Page 2

February 28, 2011 23:00 by Barbara Shelby

 

This page includes seven 'Kindness Display Boards'...as well as Ideas and Tips for 'Adult Acts of Kindness'.  'Slogans and Quotes' suitable for making posters and boards are at the top of page 1...

 

The 'Happy School'  board and photo is courtesy of Classroom Display Blog "I'm particularly fond of Happy School as the idea for this hall display came from a child with some special needs who knew exactly the kind of school he needed, one where bullying just wasn't tolerated." Linda H (A nice way to send a positive message that  promotes kindness!)

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 A Display Idea for Kindness and Harvest Time-- This could just as well say "LET'S HARVEST KINDNESS!"

This idea works well with a Fall Harvest Theme but also addresses Aniti-Bully Week in October and World Kindness Week in November.

Each time a deed of 'Good Character' (Kindness) is noted-it is recorded on a small card and placed on a pumpkin and through-out the garden! Great for September through November...  

This board was created by Barbara Huttle for University Christian School. Thank you Barbara for letting KIdActivities display your wonderful idea!

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This  'Acts of Kindness" Display was created by Katja Van Elbe at a week long "Conscious Discipline Institute" workshop. To replicate this idea, after making the tree shape of trunk and branches--add a heart for every kindness act noted. This idea is nice any time of the year, but works especially well in the month of February. February not only celebrates National Kindness Week, but also Valentine's Day and International Friendship Month

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   On a wall, have children/staff make a HUGE GUMBALL MACHINE. Children's names combined with their act of 'kindness' are recorded on large gumballs and then placed on the gumball globe. When the machine is filled- celebrate with the group for achieving your goal!

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Great idea! Your own version of a GRAFFITI WALLThe 180 Ways to Be Kind  photograph is courtesy of Classroom Display Blog  Put up a large sheet of paper and title. Challenge children to come up with '180 ways' to be kind to each other, teachers, parents, friends, siblings and community in general! (180 is just an idea-it could be 175, 200, etc.) If you have an after-school program, consider opening it to the entire school! 

Additionally, the '100th Day of School' falls about the same time in February as 'Random Acts of Kindness Week'! Consider combining the Graffiti Wall with 100 ways to be kind and celebrate both!

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"WALL OF LOVE" DISPLAY WALL

The staff at Colchester Institute Library (UK) put together this "Wall of Lurve" (You can call it Wall of 'Kindness'  'Friendship', or  '______'.)  The  library staff provided a display for students and staff to write messages. Around 150 pink hearts were displayed on the Wall at the entrance to the library.

This is something that could easily be adapted to a class or after-school program!  The hearts could  be filled with Acts of Kindness November's World Kindness Day and Week as well as February's Random Acts of Kindness Week! A really nice idea to cover Valentine's Day, Friendship Month and Kindness Week all in one!

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'KINDNESS RECIPE FOR A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR!' (or...'OST YEAR', 'SAC YEAR', etc.) Just copy the sample image! This would also be wonderful ANY time of the year with the caption 'Recipe for Kindness!'

Source: Clayton County Public Schools by Deanna Rogers

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WIN BOOKS through ACTS OF KINDNESS!

Tim Anders (Dr. Hope) and Alpine Publishing Inc., is offering FREE award winning, bilingual (English and Spanish) children's books by Tim Anders. An ENTIRE elementary school class, group, or organization can win  books through an "Act of Kindness" contest.

Children are encouraged to perform acts of kindness for their community, individuals and each other. This  contest hopes to inspire elementary school children and their parents to help those in need--as well as teach compassion and love for others.

For more info about the "Act of Kindness" contest books, please visit laughingday!

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ACTS OF KINDNESS IDEAS FOR ADULTS...

The best example to children in the meaning of kindness and altruism -- is for adults in their lives to demonstrate generosity of spirit, good deeds and acts of service...

•Stop negative comments by changing the subject when someone starts talking in a negative, bad way.

When you meet someone, learn their name and one personal thing about them. This shows people 'we care'.

When you have good service somewhere, write a letter to the company and that person's manager, telling them about their outstanding employee.

Put something you no longer need on craigslist.com for free.
 
Put change in a vending machine.

Listen to someone who needs to talk. Just listen to them.

Do something nice for someone when they are ill --wash their dishes, cook a meal or tidy up their house.

Buy a phone card and give it to a homeless shelter for them to give to someone.

Bake cookies and take them to someone who is homebound.

Leave a book you have already finished somewhere for someone else to read. Leave a note in it for them to pass it on.

Buy a meal for a homeless person.

Send a card to someone in the military overseas.

Locate a family that is struggling financially and buy each member several small gifts then have it delivered while you remain anonymous.

If you're tall and see someone trying to get something on a super market/store shelf--that is out of reach--get it for them.

When shooping--let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line.

•Compliment a stranger, especially if they seem as if they're having a bad day...


Read to a child.....Make a wish come true.....Rake someone's yard.....Smile at a stranger.....Be a courteous driver.....Help Special Olympics.....Sing a song.....Pick up litter.....Train Seeing Eye dogs.....Tutor immigrants......Be a pen pal.....Hold a door open.....Change a tire.....Adopt-a-Highway.....Organize a neighborhood watch.....Teach peer mediation.....Tell a joke.....Sub for Santa.....Start a community garden......Be a Crisis-Line volunteer......Send a thank you note.....Give clothes at a shelter.....Tend abused children.....Wash a car.....Visit a lemonade stand.....Plant a tree.....Recycle.....Visit a sick neighbor.....Give a tip.....Volunteer.

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WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan  ......children are always learning from the adults around them...(Maybe good for a newsletter or just a reminder to ourself?)

WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.

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DOING NICE THINGS--Something to think about...

When you incorporate 'Random Acts of Kindness and Community Service' into your programs, homes, and classrooms, consider not basing the activity where children receive individual PRIZES AS AN INCENTIVE. However, do set goals and celebrate as a group (family) when goals are acheived!

We want children to do nice things--because it is helpful to others and feels good! Don't offer bribes, or bargain for good works. For example: "If you do this---I'll give you____". These practices don't build character, or a sense of program/family community.

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'Community Service and Acts of Kindness' go hand in hand. You may also be interested in the Community Service Ideas (Many kindness activities there) and Bully Category

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SHARE YOUR IDEAS...♥ What are some things you are doing in your home or in your school, classroom, center, or program? Let us know via the contact page--and your 'Acts of Kindness' will be entered on this page! Thank you for sharing...

Back to Page 1...

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Community Service Ideas for Kids all Ages

February 27, 2011 04:42 by Barbara Shelby

Page 2

Updated February, 2013

Feeding the hungry, donating presents to the poor, and performing errands for the elderly are all ways that people can donate time towards the community.

Working together, kids learn to solve problems and make decisions and successfully contribute to their community. They connect local concerns with global issues and gain an awareness of others. All this will serve them now and years later as they transition out of school and into the adult world!
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IDEAS to Get you Started...

 

• Plant trees or wildflowers.

Plant produce. Donate the harvest to a local food bank.

Plant seeds. Sell the flowers or plants and donate the proceeds to a local organization in need.

Pick up litter at a park.

Put on a play at your school, a fair or festival about local environmental or human needs issues.

• Collect items for a time capsule.

Make treats for a local senior home.

Improve the school grounds.

Develop and maintain a recycling program at school.

Collect food, warm clothing, toys, or personal care items for the needy. Deliver to shelters. Remember shelters are in need of supplies all year long!

Hold a Teddy Bear and Friends (Stuffed Animals) Drive.
Donate the collected animals to a Homeless Shelter for new arrivals. Also...check with your local police station or fire station. Many are happy to take Teddy and Friends; a teddy bear can be a comfort to children in times of distress.

Collect unused make-up, perfume and other cosmetics for a center for abused women.

Make center pieces, holiday cards, birthday cards, and notes for assisted living facilities, children hospital wards, or meals on wheels.

Donate old eye glasses to an organization or place that recycles them for the needy.

Collect old stuffed animals and dolls, clean them up, repair and then donate them.

Collect old clothes and donate them for a dress-up area at a daycare or family shelter.

Make a holiday basket for someone in need or crisis.

Write letters to service men/women.

Put together a care-package for service men/women.  

Form a litter patrol on school or park ground.

In December contact a tree farm or nursery about donating a Christmas tree to a needy family, shelter or nursing home.

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LITERACY BASED SERVICE IDEAS …

• Have kids practice reading a book and read it to a younger child who needs help learning how to read; a senior citizen who will benefit from companionship or a child in a special needs classroom in your school who is learning to read.

Make a book on tape to contribute a local daycare center--or pediatric patients.

Have youth read a book that will teach them how to do something to help others and then do it! Examples: building a birdhouse, making toys for animals at the animal shelter, or planting a garden).

Read a newspaper to an elderly person who can no longer read the small print.
Adapted from Rahima Wade, service-learning instructor at the University of Iowa.

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♥  BOOKMARKS for your school or hometown library
Make some pretty bookmarks; leave them in a basket on the library counter for other students to take one when they check out books. (Making Bookmarks page here...)

Establish a PEN PAL PROJECT with senior citizens in a nursing home; children in a local hospital, or children in another country.

♥  Hold a USED BOOK SALE after school, or on an evening or Saturday at the school or the local library. Publicize the event to the school and local community. Donate collected funds to to a worthy cause. 

A book drive can also be organized to collect new-- and excellent condition used books-- FOR CHILDREN WHO DO NOT HAVE ACCESS to many books (poverty or disaster areas in the U.S., other countries, a local Head Start or homeless shelter). 

You can also
visit the "First Book" website for ideas for book related community service activities such as "Speed Read"...

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PUT TOGETHER PACKAGES FOR A CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL!
Suggestions Include:

•Books - activity books, board books, human body books, pop-up books, I Spy/Look-A-Likes/Where's Waldo books, talking books, Spanish books, vinyl books (new or gently used only)

Small Plush animals (brand new only)

Bubbles and flavored bubbles

Lullaby music, sing-a-long music (Raffi, Wee Sing, Pooh Corner, Spanish language, "Transitions" by Placenta Music, Inc.

Chapstick (variety of flavors)

Clear plastic shoebox size containers for craft storage and organization

Colored pencils

Decks of playing cards - regular

Gel pen sets

Gift cards for special event planning (Michael's, Target, Toys R Us, Blockbuster, and grocery stores for food activities)

Hair care items (brushes, big tooth combs, No More Tangles, pony tail holders, hair clips)

Koosh balls

Nail polish (individually wrapped & new) and nail stickers

Party packs of Play-Doh

Rattles (plastic only)

Uno cards

Word search books

Mad Lib books

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8 yr old triplets, Carly, Brian and Kailee delivered 5 wagons of toys and gift cards to Miami Children's Hospital on June 3, 2009. The toy drive was organized by young Kailee and her 2nd grade class at American Heritage School in Delray and through community sponsors.

 

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL...

♥ BAND-AID DRIVE
.....Kids love fun Band-Aids
! Any kind of fun bandage is fine, but Band-Aid, Curad and Nexcare are some of the best. Current favorites are Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, Spiderman, and Batman. Latex-free Band-Aids are helpful. 

Make Handmade Blankets for Hospitals - various sizes for infants, children and teens - fleece blankets preferred.

♥ CRAYON & MARKER DRIVE
.....Kids in the hospital use lots of art supplies!  Children use Crayola crayons (small packs of 4 or 8 crayons work best), Crayola markers (bold, thin, washable, Color Wonder), Crayola colored pencils and construction paper. All supplies must be new.

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ALEX'S LEMONADE STAND: FIGHTING CHILDHOOD CANCER ONE CUP AT A TIME!

 

This is something to share with  parents, childcare providers,and educators!
Alex passed away from Cancer at the age of eight--however share her vision and give children the opportunity to engage in hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand event.
 
This is a project that kids, parents and educators can register on their own and receive resources and materials for the event. The Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $50 million dollars since Alex's initial stand-- much of this money comes from kids who hold stands in her honor.

More information can be found on the homepage, or specifically for children on the Kid's Corner page.
 

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COMMUNITY SERVICE FOR ANIMALS AND ANIMAL SHELTERS

1. Collect and donate items on animal organizations' wish lists: Example: Paper towels, dried dog food, milk substitute, portable cages, blankets and towels, cleansers, and food bowls.

2. Raise money
for homeless pets or sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife-- by collecting coins.

3. Sponsor a walk-athon, bowl-athon, read-athon, etc. backed by pledges. Donate to local shelters or animal organizations.

4. The following ideas are taken from the 'Kindness Category'...

• Make a birdbath from a plastic dish and put it in your yard or on the windowsill. Keep it filled with water.
 
• Maintain water bowls during cold months for both migrating and local birds. Make birdseed available as well.
 
• Notify authorities immediately about pets left in hot cars. You may save a life.
 
• Talk to younger children about why catching wild creatures such as frogs and turtles is not a good idea. Remind them that wild animals need to stay wild and free.
 
• Offer to wash a neighbor's dog.
 
• Make nutritional treats for dogs and cats, and give them to neighbors for their pets. Make extra for animal shelters.

5. HELP THE PLIGHT OF ASIAN 'MOON' BEARS! For ideas visit the Kids' Page at AnimalsAsia...Animal Asia has extensive list ideas for children and teachers.

There is information regarding...
What is a Moon Bear; Why do Moon Bears need help; What is the 'Bear Rescue'; How to help; Info for Teachers; Games and Quizzes; Downloads.
Spend some time in different areas of the site and learn about the plight of Asian Bears and how we can help.

6. ADOPT A BEAR or lion, tiger, whale, or other animal. Many zoos, aquariums, and animal sea habitats have adoption programs. In exchange for financial support, you often get a photo and biography of your new adoptee.

7. ADOPT A POLAR BEAR,  PANDA or one of many other animals.
Visit World Wildlife Fund; donations start at $25.00 (Donations are used in general support of WWF's efforts around the world. 82 cents of every donated dollar goes toward conservation. WWF has been recognized by Charity Navigator, and meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability.)

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TO ALL ANIMAL LOVERS...
ARE YOU HAVING A BIRTHDAY PARTY?

Great for grades 4 to 8...
Instead of bringing a present to the party, ask your guests to bring a bag of dog food, cat food, treats or pet toys.  Head out to your local animal shelter (make sure to call ahead first and set up a good time!) and give the food, treats and toys to the shelter. Some shelters will let older kids walk and feed the dogs/cats, clean out cages and bathe the animals. Make sure to meet with the shelter management before you go so they will be expecting you.

The idea is still good--even without the guests visiting  the shelter...

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Do Things for SENIOR CITIZENS...

PET THERAPY
♥  Pet Therapy is a great project for brightening the day of nursing home residents who may not get much company. Set up a visit with your local nursing home and simply take your pets along for the residents to enjoy. It offers them some great company and a cuddly, affectionate cat, dog or other friendly animal to pet.

♥  Intergenerational Idea! PLAY CARDS
Visit a retirement /assisted living home and have senior citizens teach the kids card games! Maybe the children can also teach them a game or two!
Ideas: Black Jack, gin rummy, Hearts, Double Solitaire, Poker, etc. There is a difference in the games that our senior generation has played compared to the youth of today! Our kids can learm marbles, jacks, hop-scotch, cat-in-the cradle, etc...Bringing cookies or some other snack that the kids have made, would be an extra treat to share!

♥  Visit an assisted Living home and play the above card or board games, perform a skit or sing some songs. This can be  arranged for an evening or week-end visit.

♥  Explore history and spend time with an assisted facility resident and interview them about how they grew up.

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IDEAS FOR YOUR PROGRAM/CLASSROOM/SCHOOL…

Does your program have a SWAT TEAM?

SWAT stands for Students Who Assist Teachers. SWAT members help students, staff, and parents before and after school and during special events.

  • These students receive training in matters such as courteous greetings, assisting others, and maintaining a safe environment.
  • One school (Deer Park Elementary in Texas) believes this is instrumental in helping promote an atmosphere that is orderly and friendly in their school. This is different than the school safety team. SWAT is something your program could provide and then have members offer their services for school functions.

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One program had a service-learning club in an after-school program year with grades K-5...One of the favorite ideas for the younger students was... CUSTODIAN APPRECIATION

They decided that they wanted to thank the custodians, because they saw that they had a "messy" job to clean up the lunchroom everyday, and they thought that was hard work.
 
They went to see custodians doing their work before and after school
the students had fun looking at the floor polishing machines and the other "tools of the trade" up close, and talked about what they did everyday.
- Children talked about all the people who help keep the school "running;"

They took digital photographs of all the custodians, then made thank you posters that were put in the lunchroom and hallways. The students then decided to do the same for the secretary and office staff. First, make appointments with the custodians to learn about them and their jobs.
       Adapted from: Nationalserviceresources.org (This is also a great "Building Bridges activity!)

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♥ Start a kids club through Points of Life foundation: Kids Care Week is celebrated the third week of October.
This is a club where groups of young people work together to help others in their community and around the world. In the U. S. there are 1800 registered clubs.

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A 'PENNY HARVEST' (Learning Activity and Community Service in one!)
Each child is asked to bring 100 pennies that they harvest up from the loose change at home.

• Students estimate how much 100 pennies would weigh.
How high they can stack 100 pennies.
How many pennies it would take to outline a child.
What the grand total amount would be of the pennies.
Find your birth year on a penny.
 
When done with the activities, donate ALL the pennies the students collected to a local charity.

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MISCELLANEOUS SERVICE IDEAS...

SO EASY! COLLECT PENCILS

  • From Pencil Project Website: We are always looking for individuals, families, school, church or community minded groups to get involved. We match you up with a needy school that will benefit directly from the pencils you collect. We generally like to deal with one contact person/coordinator and will be responsible for getting you all the information that you need. You are responsible for setting your own goals and the time frame in which you will complete them.
    If you are a school/orphanage in need of pencils, please send us your school name, address, contact person and estimated number of students. We will be happy to connect you with a group that is eager to help you! Click here 

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 OLD SHOES: Put out notices and containers—and start collecting!!!
Ever thrown out a pair of worn-out athletic shoes? Did you know that IT TAKES ABOUT 1,000 YEARS for those sneakers to biodegrade? Wondering what to do with the ones you've already got? RECYCLE THEM.
 
Every year, millions of pairs of athletic shoes are thrown away, not only wasting landfill space, but wasting tons of reusable material. Since 1993 Nike has been running a program called Reuse-a-Shoe. So far they've used 24 million pairs of athletic shoes to create sports surfaces. It’s part of the "Let Me Play" campaign, one of Nike’s longest-running environmental and community programs, where worn-out athletic shoes of any brand are collected, processed and recycled into material USED IN SPORT SURFACES like basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for young people around the world.

For information visit their website. To keep recycling equipment running smoothly, there are guidelines:

  • Athletic shoes only (any brand)
  • No shoes containing metal
  • No cleats or dress shoes
  • No wet or damp shoes

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Remember Service men and women ALL YEAR LONG---not just before the holidays!
There are three pages of suggestions for care packages at the adopt a platoon website.
They are listed by categories of:
 

  • Canned Items
  • Condiments
  • Ground Coffee / Tea / Hot Chocolate
  • Microwavable Foods 
  • Powdered Drink Mix Singles 
  • Snacking Foods 
  • Items for Men 
  • Items for Women 
  • Clothing 

Include drawings, cards and wishes...

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TWENTY GRAINS OF RICE---World Food Hunger Program  Using the internet children can donate 20 grains of rice to the WORLD FOOD HUNGER PROGRAMIf your program has access to a computer and the Internet, introduce the children to the idea. Click here This Web site offers an English multiple-choice vocabulary test. For each word defined correctly, 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations World Food Program to help end hunger.To date--over 66 Billion grains have been donated!!!!

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Each year Oct. 16 is WORLD FOOD DAY--however--- Food Drives are needed ALL YEAR LONG!

Talk with children in your program (or home) about world hunger and consider hosting or donating to a food drive for a food bank in your community. To find a food bank near you, click hereIncrease awareness of world hunger and take steps to combat it. 

• Establish a length of time for the food drive and have the youth in your program make posters to hang around program site to promote the food drive.

•Ask parents to get involved by helping transport the food from your site to the food bank.

FOOD DRIVE Example...
Students at Wadewitz Elementary in Racine, Wis., collected 1,000 pounds of food last December for the Holy Communion Lutheran Church food pantry. Adding some motivation...when the student body met their goal, the PTA vice president Gretchen Berthiaume and a student volunteer had their heads shaved during a school assembly.

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Looking for a fun way to raise money for your favorite charity?

Hold a "PIE IN THE FACE" competition ... whatever class raises the most money gets to throw a pie in the face of the principle, teacher, etc.! The kids will love it!

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This is a fun 'Community" idea for the month of April! 'EARTH DAY' GROCERIES PROJECT
Four Simple Steps

1. Borrow. Contact a local grocery store that uses large paper grocery bags. See if the manager will let you "borrow" enough bags so that each student in your school can decorate one. Let the manager know about the project and its environmental education message, of course! Grocers usually get these bags in "bundles" of 500.
 
2. Decorate.
Have students at school decorate the bags with pictures of the earth, environmental messages, the name of your school, etc. Be creative! DO NOT allow students to write their last names on any bags.
 
3. Deliver.
A couple of days before Earth Day you and/or your students return the decorated bags to the grocery store - with many thanks to the manager! The store then distributes these bags (full of groceries) to happy and amazed shoppers on Earth Day.
 
4. Report. Fill out the Report Form on the project web site with a count of how many bags your school made. Please, only one report per school. All reports will be posted on the
Earth Day Groceries site

You do not need to sign up or register, just have a great time with the project! For more information, check the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Another Idea: If you can't use paper bags, you can have students decorate individual fliers, or even bookmarks, which can be handed out to shoppers or inserted in their shopping bags. These will be counted in the project tally, so do send in your report!
This is a great idea, even if you do it on your own!

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BE GREEN THIS SCHOOL YEAR! Have kids...

• Ride a bike or walk to school.
Use last year's school supplies.
Buy a canvas and cardboard binders instead of plastic.
Buy recycled paper.
Use reusable water bottles instead of plastic.
Use a lunch box, not paper bags.
Donate last year's clothes instead of throwing them away.
Buy online to avoid driving.
Buy organic food.
Turn your computer off when you're not using it.
Decorate your lunchbox.
Make your own bookmarks.
Organize a clothes swap with your friends.
Carpool to sports.
Use refillable pens and pencils.
Reuse your backpack. Decorate it with cool patches.
Tips from NationalGeographic

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SEASONAL AND HOLIDAY TIME...

SUMMER

Here's a 'cool' summer/warm weather service idea!
PENNIES FOR POPSICLES...
Collect pennies and then provide popsicles for a kids' homeless shelter. They'll love it!
One program collected 19,447 pennies. A lot of popsicles!

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WINTER...

 

MAKE WARM SCARVES: This is a craft that requires only the fleece fabric & a good pair of scissors!  Make warm scarves by buying lengths of micro-fleece and simply cutting them into strips. The end is then cut into fringe. The fleece does NOT unravel so does not need any sewing.

It is available in unlimited colors and prints. All you need is approximately 8 to 10 inches wide by 3-5 feet in length (shorter or longer depending upon your preference). You can knot fringe pieces together, two by two, so that all of the fringes are knotted. If desired, slide beads (as in photo) onto the fringe and tie another knot, for added embellishment. (Anonymously submitted)

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HOLIDAY THOUGHTS...

If you decide to participate in buying HOLIDAY PRESENTS for someone less fortunate, let children decide what to buy. Set a dollar limit, so it is a good challenge for your children to use the money wisely.

Whatever 'giving-back' path you decide, adults also should be committed to serving others and willing to work alongside youth. This sends the message that adults are not only encouraging, but are proud to support the same charities kids believe in. Focus on reinforcing a child's compassion for others is a key to helping them become caring adults.

HOLIDAY SCHOOL EXAMPLE ...ORGANIZE A 'TOY JOY'..

Students at Granger Elementary in Medina, Ohio, made the holidays brighter for patients at Akron Children's Hospital. For the PTO's Giving in Granger service project, Pre-K through 5th graders donated more than 200 new teddy bears and other stuffed animals last December. Cards handmade by students at the PTO's Santa Shop were attached to each toy.

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IN DECEMBER...contact a tree farm or nursery about donating a Christmas tree to a needy family, shelter or nursing home.

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This is only a portion of ideas. Please see all other Community Service Categories...

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