Acts of kindness can be small gestures or big efforts, and they’re all important
Kids are naturally compassionate, so why not take a few minutes today (and every day) to foster that inherent kindness? From simple gestures like giving up your seat on the bus to giving your kids’ teacher a “just because” gift, we’ve found over 75 simple acts of kindness that’ll allow you and the kids to pay it forward.
1. Offer to pick up groceries for an at-risk or elderly neighbor.
2. Compliment a stranger.
3. Collect your child’s old books that they no longer read and donate them to a children’s center, shelter, or local library.
4. Pay the bridge toll of the person behind you.
5. Bring flowers to a coworker or friend.
6. Carry someone’s groceries to their car for them.
7. Send a friend a positive text.
8. Ask a stranger how they are feeling today, and actually listen to the answer.
9. Bake cookies and deliver them to the local fire or police station.
10. Leave a big tip for a server or delivery person.
11. Make sandwiches and distribute them to the homeless in your neighborhood.
12. Help a senior cross the street.
13. Give up your seat on the bus.
14. Deliver a meal or a potted plant to a random neighbor.
15. Make a kindness calendar with the kids!iStock
Related: All the Ways Kindness Can Change Who a Kid Becomes
16. Donate dog or cat food to the local animal shelter (call to ask them what brands they need). Many shelters want and need old blankets and towels as well.
17. Send a postcard to someone you love, even if they live nearby (or in the same house!).
18. Make a donation of a birthday box to a local food shelter: include items like cake mixes, frosting, candles, balloons, and party hats.
19. If it’s a hot day, hand out cold bottles of water.
20. If it’s raining, share your umbrella for a few blocks.
21. Make kindness cards from drawings and paintings of kids’ art. Drop a few by the nearest senior center and ask if they can use them for anyone who needs a bit of cheer.
22. Pick up trash off the street.
23. Call an old friend or relative.
24. Thank a teacher.
25. Host a bake sale to end child hunger.
26. Spring for coffee and donuts for your co-workers.
27. Head to the park with some chalk and write sweet messages to the world.
28. Make a thank you card for the postal worker who delivers your mail.
29. Give thanks for everyday things, not just big acts or gifts. “Thank you for making me laugh today,” or “Thank you for helping me figure out that math problem,” or even simply, “Thank you for loving me.”
30. Smile at 10 people.iStock
Related: Why Celebrating Differences & Teaching Kindness Hand-in-Hand Is So Important
31. Slip a note complimenting someone’s parking on the windshield of their car.
32. Distribute random hugs.
33. Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop.
34. Make a friendship bracelet and give it to a new friend.
35. Compliment someone sitting near you.
36. Share your toys.
37. Leave your change in a vending machine after you buy something.
38. Paint a picture for a neighbor you don’t know that well.
39. Play with someone new on the playground today.
40. Call a friend or relative, and tell a joke.
41. Leave a positive note on a bulletin board.
42. Read a book with a child.
43. Rake leaves, shovel snow, or do a little yardwork/weeding for your neighbor.
44. Take out your neighbor’s trash for them.
45. Start a Little Free Library.iStock
Related: 13 Fred Rogers Quotes about Kindness That We Need Now More Than Ever
46. Walk a neighbor’s dog.
47. Put a post-it note with a positive message like, “Today will be awesome” on a random door.
48. Offer to run an errand for someone.
49. Hide a few toys or Matchbox cars in the sand at the playground.
50. Leave a sweet note in your spouse or partner’s wallet.
51. Leave a dish of fresh water out for neighborhood dogs in front of your house or business.
52. Use sidewalk chalk to say hello to a neighbor.
53. Give your child’s teacher $5 toward classroom expenses or help to pay for a field trip.
54. Write a letter to the first person that pops into your mind (and don’t forget to send it!)
55. Help another kid with his homework.
56. Buy a spare umbrella and find someone who needs it.
57. Get some silly glasses and wear them until you make someone laugh.
58. Do something to make your hometown more awesome.
59. Let a stranger go ahead of you in line.
60. Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment.iStock
Related: How to Paint Rocks for Kindness & Where to Share Them
61. Consider the flash mob.
62. Do something nice for yourself.
63. Hold the door open for someone.
64. Add extra time to your meter for the next person.
65. Gather up gently used clothing and donate via ThredUp using their Donation Clean Out Kit.
66. Starting today, thank someone once a week for a year. You can send a thank-you via mail, email, text, phone, or in person. Make a little list of thank-yous and revisit them in 52 weeks.
67. Sit with someone new at lunch.
68. Ask a kid you don’t usually play with to play with you at recess.
69. Find a story or post you like, and let the writer know it meant something to you.
70. Be patient while waiting in line.
71. Leave a glowing review for a business or employee who helped you or your kids.
72. Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
73. Be a courteous and kind driver.
74. Be kind to urban animals and wildlife: do not chase pigeons or throw coins in a fountain where fish live.
75. Leave a note of kindness in the pocket of a coat in a clothing store, like “You look great in this!” or “You are more important than you could ever know.”
76. Order a new book from our list of diverse books for kids, and have it sent to a friend.
77. Send a friend or relative a sweet surprise from Sugarwish.
78. Wave hi to someone you don’t know!
79. Ask a friend if they need any help: could you walk their dog or drop off a book to read?
Want more? Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s idea page.
—with additional reporting by Taylor Clifton