Inside: Use this list of 12 kindness crafts you can use throughout the year to tie social emotional learning to each holiday.
As an elementary school teacher, we planned everything month to month, based on the holidays of that month.
I still know that in February, we covered Groundhog Day and seasons, President’s Day, Black History Month, Dental Health, the 100th Day of School, Valentine’s Day and…all in the shortest month of the school year.
Since kids are already excited about holidays, it’s the perfect conduit to teaching them about other subjects or introducing skills they need to know in a fun, “gimmicky,” fun, engaging way.
And so if we’re wanting to intentionally teach social emotional learning and kindness and compassion and empathy, if we use the holidays and crafting, the lessons not only become more fun, they often “kill two birds with one stone.”
We can teach about Dr. Martin Luther King and focus on social emotional learning concepts.
We can teach Valentine’s Day and empathy.
We can enjoy the excitement of Halloween and give back to our community at the same time.
So we can use fun crafts that ALSO:
- sneak in fine motor skills and cutting skills and gluing skills,
- focus on kindness and social emotional learning and
- use the next holiday to channel the kids’ enthusiasm.
To do that, here is a year of kindness crafts you can enjoy each month of the year as you celebrate the holidays.
January Kindness Craft for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January is the perfect time to celebrate Dr. King and his message from his I Have a Dream Speech. It can be a heavy topic to introduce to our youngest students, but it’s an essential message we can not skip “because they’re young.”
Introduce students to Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech without “dumbing it down” using this A Birthday Wish for Martin Craft. The free templates come with several versions to choose from to match your students’ abilities.
Connect the January kindness craft to more learning with this I Dream of Kindness Emergent Reader Book.
February Kindness Crafts for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is an obvious kid favorite because of the Valentine’s Day cards they get to give and get, the candy and the school parties.
So it’s a great time to harness that love of the holiday and show kids how to spread kindness to others during the holiday so everyone can feel the love.
Kids can make this Paper Plate Kindness Heart Craft and then gift it to someone who may not get as many valentine’s this year: an elderly neighbor, a younger sibling, or you can donate a bunch of them to a local nursing home.
To spread even more kindness during February, encourage kids to send digital eValentines to other kids stuck in a hospital and have to miss out on a school valentine exchange. Get the directions and links to send digital valentine cards to kids here.
March Kindness Craft for St. Patrick’s Day
With March and the whisper of leprechauns and rainbows and pots of gold, it’s easy to focus on luck. Who is lucky and why? What brings luck? Four leaf cloves? Leprechauns? Rainbows? Ladybugs?
But recognizing when and why you’re lucky is just another way of focusing on gratitude and why we’re grateful for the things we have in our lives.
And since science has proven that grateful people are happier people, we can help kids focus on what they’re grateful/lucky for with this I am Lucky Shamrock Shape Poem.
As kids write down what they’re lucky for around the shape of this clover, they’ll end with a gorgeous shape poem that showcases all the magical things they already have in their lives. They don’t need to trap a leprechaun when they realize what they have is pretty awesome.
Want to connect shamrocks and the luck of the leprechauns to even more social emotional learning? You’ll love this Shamrock Kind or Unkind Sort.
April Kindness Crafts for Earth Day
There are so many ways kids can help save the planet and be kind to Earth as we celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd. They can turn of lights when they leave a room, they can recycle, they can bring a no waste lunch to school, and they can help save the bees.
Bees are incredible sweet honey makers but their true magic lies in their pollination skills. Without the bees, we wouldn’t have the fruits and vegetables and flowers we all have come to love so we have to all do our part to save the bees.
You can use this Bee Kind Craft that’s perfect for spring and for teaching about Earth Day and sneaking in social emotional learning at the same time.
Connect to Earth Day and reading skills even further with this I am Kind to Earth Emergent Reader.
May Kindness Craft as Gifts for Friends, Mothers and Teachers
April showers bring May flowers, just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week, Nurse Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day…some of our most essentialist of essential workers.
So while you can use these Friendship Flowers to build up a friend and teach about adjectives and positive phrases that lift up others, you can also make these Kindness Flowers for teachers and/or for moms and other care givers as a sweet way to say thank you for everything they do.
If you want another super simple way to celebrate Mother’s Day for kids, you’ll love this I am Poem kids can fill in for the special mom/mum/mama/mother/mommy/special person in their life. Grab the free templates here for the poems.
June Kindness Craft for Father’s Day
June is for dads and grads and the start of summer break… so it’s time to bust out our swimsuits and sunglasses and get outside where it’s warm.
To spread some love to dads and celebrate summer time, we love these Compliment Suns. Kids can make for friends or for dads. If kids need help learning how to compliment others, here are some ideas.
And just like for Mother’s Day, if you want another super simple way to celebrate Father’s Day for kids, you’ll love this I am Poem kids can fill in for the special dad/papa/dada/father/daddy/special person in their life. Grab the free templates here for the poems.
July Kindness Crafts for Summer
The summer is meant to spent outside whenever we can so as you explore during the summer, kids often hunt for treasures and come back with rocks.
Turn those rocks into Kindness Rocks they can hide around their neighborhood for others to find or save to hide at school once the summer is over.
If you’re looking for even more ways to be kind during the summer, fight summer boredom, and keep kids off screens, you’ll love our free Summer Kindness Bucket List as you challenge kids to spread even more kindness.
August Kindness Crafts for Back to School
For most of the world, the calendar begins in January. For teachers, the calendar begins in August as we prep and get ready for Back to School. My filing cabinet of crafts and projects and ideas is still organized August to July rather than January to December.
So start August off on the right foot for Back to School prep with these Kindness Pencil Crafts.
Kids can make them for their classmates as a back to school gift, or classrooms can make them together to use throughout the school year when someone needs an extra pencil.
Continue to set your kids up for a kind school year with these I am Kind at School Emergent Reader and I am Kind at School Early Reader (for older students).
September Kindness Craft for Back to School Night
While most of us head back to school in August, September is still the time we’re gearing up for the year, getting ready for fall and shorter days. It’s the perfect perfect time to set kids up for success when it comes to kindness, being an includer, and appreciating our differences.
This Rainbow Colors of Me is a great way to get to know each other a little better, celebrate our differences and diversity, and appreciate those differences and diversity.
It’s a great addition to any All About Me unit and is also an easy and perfect thing to hang up for Back to School Night since kids can put their names on the back of the kindness craft and parents have to guess which one belongs to their kiddo.
If you want to encourage even more inclusion with others, you’ll love our free Includer Bingo Game you can play.
October Kindness Crafts for Halloween
Halloween is just a great time to teach any subject because the kids are so pumped to do anything if it includes pumpkins, bats and witches!
You can create these adorable Halloween Handprint Crafts to donate to your local nursing home so they can decorate their walls with little handprints again!
You can choose between a bunch of Halloween and fall templates, paint their hands, and then drop them off to be enjoyed by others!
Connect kindness to Halloween even further with these Halloween Kindness Role Playing cards to help kids practice being kind (waiting your turn, being helpful, giving compliments, etc.) during Halloween. Get the free role playing cards here.
November Kindness Craft for Thanksgiving
November is a great time to focus on gratitude and thankfulness, even if we should be focusing on it year round because grateful people are happier people.
Focus on everything you’re grateful for with this gorgeous Gratitude Pumpkin that you write on a little bit each day.
This is perfect for families and for classrooms and kids can include big things they’re thankful for like family and their house and their friends and small things their grateful for like lollipops and their basketball and Batman.
If you need a printable craft version for each kid, you can get our free Gratitude Pumpkin printable here.
December Kindness Craft for Winter Break
December is often a crazy time as we gear up for all the winter holidays and kids are usually crazy excited during this time, bouncing off the walls as they anticipate Santa and presents and lights and family and good food and traditions.
And for most parents and teachers, what we really look forward to is Winter Break. A break from the alarm clocks and the schedules and the packing of lunches.
So this December, you can focus on kindness with this Paper Chain Kindness Countdown to Winter Break. Make the paper chain craft with your kids and then each day, tear off a strip, and do the act of kindness.
Each day, you’ll be one day closer to break and have shown a little more kindness towards others.
Want to learn m0re about how we’re all different and celebrate differently during December? You’ll love our We Celebrate Differently Interactive Emergent Reader.