The holiday season is upon us and parents are looking for ways to teach children about giving. This is the perfect time to become a resource for family-friendly volunteer opportunities within your community. Each year, nonprofits, small businesses, brands, schools, and religious organizations all over the world celebrate Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving. This year, that day is December 3, 2019 — and the same spirit of generosity is intended to be cultivated every day following.
Kindness, fellowship, charity, and compassion are important concepts to discuss, even at an early age. Educators have a special power to help children cultivate a kindness mindset. Kindness is a mindset that has to be put into practice on a daily basis in decision-making before it becomes second nature. Although having compassion for others and treating those around us with kindness doesn’t have to be taught, it does need to be nurtured. Compassion and empathy can come naturally, but these concepts can also be learned through model behavior.
When you work in education, you have the unique opportunity to weave high-level topics like kindness and charity into fun and creative crafts, activities, stories, and volunteer events that further encourage kindness mindsets. Events are a great way to organize group activities and a wonderful way to get your entire team involved. Invite your staff to help strategize and brainstorm ways to give back to the community or which organizations they would like to work with. If they are excited about a plan, they will help promote and execute an event! Don’t forget to designate a point person to share content on your social channels from Facebook events, Instagram posts, and listings on your website.
Volunteer Opportunity & Events:
Here are a few of our favorite ideas to help inspire you as you get started:
- Organizing a canned food drive for a local food bank
- A toy and/or clothing drive
- Volunteering at local shelters, soup kitchens, and community centers
- Visiting seniors or children’s hospitals
- Hosting a lemonade stand or bake sale
These are a few of the many global organizations that support a mission of giving back to communities, families, and young children.
Activities That Promote Kindness
These activities can encourage students and children to think about concepts like kindness, fellowship, charity, and compassion. Facilitating activities encourages conversation and critical thinking, even at a young age!
- Giving Tree: children can trace their hands and write what they are thankful for this season.
- Care packages: organize and create care packages for families experiencing homelessness with care essentials.
- Writing notes or making cards: spend some time with snail mail. Letters and notes can be written to family and friends or for families at local shelters.
- Kindness Jars: organize these in your classroom and have each child write or say something nice about one another. Make sure to add notes for every student, so no one gets left out.
- Mindfulness & Yoga: incorporate feelings and emotions into a thoughtful meditation or mindfulness exercise! Self-compassion can be cultivated through these exercises.
Stories That Share a Message:
Who doesn’t love storytime? Here are just a few of the many stories available that echo messages of kindness, compassion, and giving back for the season.
- Should I Share My Ice Cream (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- Rufus and Ryan Give Thanks by Kathleen Long Bostrom
- It’s Mine! By Leo Lionni
- The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
- The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
Make sure to tag @hellosawyer in all of your amazing acts of kindness this season in support of #GivingTuesday. We can’t wait to see all of the wonderful ways you and your teams give back to the communities in which you serve. From all of your friends at Sawyer, we wish you all a wonderful holiday season!