Inside: This kindness craft is the perfect way to connect kindness to feelings of happiness so kids want to speak and act with kindness more often. It’s a great way to focus on social-emotional learning.
Last summer, I was a guest speaker at a convention for volunteer Girl Scout troop leaders and we were talking about how to bring more kindness to their troops.
We started the session with a fun game I often play with kids, Skittles Kindness, and many of the adults had gotten a red Skittle. When it was their turn, they all had to answer the question: How does it feel to be kind?
And the resounding answer, time and time again, session after session, was that it made them happy and proud to be kind. An overall feeling of gladness and happiness would wash over them whenever they were kind to others.
And it makes perfect sense.
If we know the difference between kind and nice, then we know when we are truly kind, and do it out of the goodness of hearts because we genuinely want to help, it feels fantastic.
So if we can help our kids connect kindness to happiness, they’ll be happy more often and want to be kind more often. It’s a win-win.
And this kindness craft will help them connect the two.
How to Use the Kind Hearts, Happy Hearts Kindness Crafts
We are raising our kids to be kind.
We expect kindness in our home because it’s one of our only two family rules.
We focus on kindness each month of the year and we make kindness crafts like this one.
But we also talk to our kids about why they should be kind. And one of the simplest reasons is being kind feels good. It makes us happy when we can do good for others without expecting anything in return.
Science has proven that dopamine, the feel-good drug, is released in our bodies every time we’re kind and dopamine is addictive. Which is a great thing. Because when they are kind, we can then point out that it feels good to be kind and they feel happy, they’ll want to be kind more often to get that happy feeling more often.
We can create a kindness cause and effect cycle when we connect kindness with happiness.
They’ll be kind. It’ll make them happy. They’ll want more happiness. So they’ll be kind again. Which will make them happy…
And one easy and fun way to connect kindness and happiness is to make Kind Hearts, Happy Hearts Crafts.
There are several ways to use these kind hearts, happy hearts.
When you see your kids speaking and acting with kindness without prompting, you can put it on their pillow or at their seat at the dinner table as a way to let them know you saw their kindness. Then talk with them about how it felt to be kind and intentionally connect kindness with happiness.
You can also hand a kind heart, happy heart to them in the moment they were kind as a way to start the conversation: How does it feel to be kind? How can do more kind things so you feel happiness more often?
You can put one in their room to remind them to speak and act with kindness more often because it will make them feel happy.
If you’re a teacher, you can place them on students’ desks when you see kindness as a way to announce to the classroom you saw the act of kindness, others should see notice who is kind, and you value kindness.
Materials Needed for the Kind Heart, Happy Hearts Kindness Craft
Ready to make the Kindness Craft?
- kid-friendly blunt needles
- puffy paint
- Tacky glue if you’re not going to sew
How to make the Kind Heart, Happy Hearts
1. Fold the felt in half and cut a half-heart shape along the fold so when you unfold it, it’s a full heart.
2. If you’re sewing your Kind Heart, Happy Heart, thread a needle with the thread, and tie a knot at the end.
To hide the knot, put the needle through only one of the hearts.
3. Then continue to sew the two hearts together.
4. Leave a few inches of the heart open so you have room to stuff in the tissue.
5. Use puffy paint to write, “Kind Heart, Happy Heart.” Then let it dry.
6. Once the letters are completely dry, stuff tissue into the heart.
7. Finish sewing up the hole and tie it off in a knot on the back of the heart.
8. If you plan to use fabric glue and not sew the heart, use the tacky glue and put glue around the perimeter of the inside of the heart. Leave two inches of heart unglued so you can stuff it with tissue.
9. After you write “Kind Heart, Happy Heart” on it with puffy paint and it glues, stuff the heart with tissue. Then put glue on the open part of the heart.
10. Use clothespins to keep the heart closed while the glue dries.
When they’re dry and ready, hand them out to your kids or students as a reminder to be kind or as a way to recognize kind behavior so they begin to internalize this: kind people are happier people.
Find more happiness by being kind more often.