Inside: We can still encourage and help our kids spread kindness with these Social Distance Kindness Activities for kids during social distancing.
The other day, my kids were complaining they missed their friends.
Of course, they miss their friends.
We’re on week 8 of social distancing (with no end in sight)… we’re home with very little interaction with the outside world.
No playdates. No sleepovers. No recess at school.
Sure our kids can see each other on Zoom calls and chat during Fortnight games (ugh) and can wave as we walk past their friends’ houses, but they wanted to connect more.
But we’re also looking for ways to stay kind during this quarantine/stay at home order/social distancing.
And even when the different phases roll around and the stay at home orders lift, many families with kids may continue to social distance.
We want to help our kids be kind to each other (since we’re all we’ve got and the stress is high and the alone time to recharge is limited), kind to neighbors, kind to friends and kind to teachers.
And so we headed to the garage, grabbed some chalk, and got to work spreading Social Distance Kindness.
What are Social Distance Kindness Activities for Kids?
In “normal” times, around here we focus on kindness. It’s so crucial to us, it’s one of our only two family rules.
We volunteer with our Monthly Volunteering Challenge.
But now that we’re isolated and home during social distancing and the Coronavirus Quarantine, we have to get more creative with our kindness.
And while there are tons of sad, worrisome, and terrifying news stories circulating through social media and news outlets, there’s also plenty of good news like:
- virtual birthday parties,
- end of chemo parade parties,
- families connecting through windows
- teachers teaching on whiteboards outside their students’ homes to help them
- whole cities thanking our medical heroes
- teens and young adults helping senior citizens
- kids using their piggy bank money to purchase masks and gloves
- families donating toilet paper to those who don’t have any
- teacher parades going through their students’ neighborhoods to cheer them up and say “hi”
- people paying for other people’s groceries…
The list goes on.
And our kids can be part of those good stories. They can be the good stories.
So while we need to wait to donate many of our items and we’re not hi-fiving anyone these days or sharing our crayons with our friends at school, we can still show kindness to those around us, even while staying six feet away.
Ways to Spread Kindness During Social Distancing
We can’t bake cookies for neighbors or hold doors open for people in stores or share a crayon with a classmate right now.
The “normal” ways we encourage our kids to show kindness aren’t going to work right now.
But luckily, there are other ways our kids can show kindness while also maintaining social distancing and staying safe.
1. Chalk a friend’s driveway
Walk or drive to a friend’s house and draw or write an uplifting message for them to find in their driveway.
2. Chalk a friendly message in front of your house
Write a kind message on your sidewalk so as other family’s walk by they see your sweet words.
Try words of encouragement or just smiley faces. Whenever we’re out on a family walk or I sneak in a rare run through the neighborhood, chalk drawings from other families always make me smile.
3. Hang a sign in your window
Cheer up the neighborhood. Spread good cheer. Say “hi” to friends. Even though we can’t do it in person, we can make a poster and hang it up for everyone to see who walks by our home.
4. Help a sibling with a chore
Chores are no fun. Parents and kids can agree.
When my kids complain they don’t want to fold their laundry, I agree. I don’t want to fold laundry either. But we don’t like being naked or wearing dirty clothes, so we have to get it done.
One way siblings can show kindness to each other during this time is to be a Chore Fairy and do their sibling’s chore just because they can.
They can be sneaky and try to get it done without them knowing or they can pitch in and help them do it.
The trick is reminding them they’re doing it to be kind, not to get something in return…although kindness always has a way of coming back to you.
5. Call, or video call family members
During the quarantine, one of the hardest parts is the social isolation and feeling of loneliness. Especially for our family members who are quarantining alone.
Even when the quarantine ends, we’ll still need to stay safe and socially distance from family members who are at a higher risk, like grandparents.
Help your kids reach out to aunts and uncles and grandparents with a simple phone call or video call to check in, say “hi,” and bring some cheer to the day.
It’s a small act of kindness that will have a huge impact to improve someone’s day. Connecting to others is what makes the most impact for so many of us.
6. Thank your teacher for helping you
Teachers are still teaching while also being quarantined and probably trying to teach their own kids at home. It’s not easy being a teacher without a classroom.
So thank them for helping your kids learn at home.
Your kids can write to them to thank them during the summer too.
7. Ask siblings what game they’d like to play or what show they’d like to watch
When we’re home, it’s easy to get caught up in the things we want to do.
But when we’re all together, we can’t always choose exactly what we want.
One way to show kindness towards siblings is to ask what they want to do. Let them choose the game or the movie or the song to play.
Super simple, normal acts of kindness. But it tells siblings: your opinion matters. We can take turns choosing. You’re important.
8. Draw a picture for a friend and mail it to them or drop it in their mailbox
My kids love to draw. And instead of hanging their art or leaving it in their notebooks, right now, we can mail it to a friend.
All kids can become pen pals right now, even if they live down the street.
But taking the time to draw and write a note to a friend says, I was thinking about you. I miss you. You are important to me.
And as an added bonus if you mail it, you can thank your postal carrier at the same time (See #18 below)
9. Make a craft for a friend
Crafts are a huge hit in our house. And if we can gift them away to others to brighten their day, then it’s even better.
Depending on your level of comfort, you can take a picture of the craft and send it to a friend. Or you can drop it off during a walk or a drive around the neighborhood. Or you can save it for them until you see them again after the quarantine is over.
These Friendship Flowers are perfect to make for friends during social distancing.
10. Make a video for a friend or family member who is celebrating a birthday.
Quarantine birthdays are no fun. Especially when big birthday parties had to be canceled.
So we can cheer up friends and show them their day is still special and important by “showing” up for them.
We have made videos, mailed paper hugs, participated in surprise Zoom calls, and birthday parades.
When we make sure we celebrate someone’s birthday, especially while social distancing, we are reminding them they are special to us.
11. Offer to walk a neighbor’s pet who can’t walk them
So many pets who normally would get walked and get attention are not able to get out for a walk these days.
Families who are sick or have compromised immune systems or have extra long work shifts are less able to walk their pets.
Our kids can offer to walk dogs for our elderly neighbors or families who can’t take care of their pets as they would normally.
12. Collect pop tabs from aluminum cans to donate to the Ronald McDonald House
This is one of the easiest ways to give back to our community…even when we’re not quarantining at home.
Collect pop tabs on the top of soda, fizzy waters, and beer cans and save them for the Ronald McDonald House closest to you.
A sandwich size Ziploc bag full of them will pay for one family to live in the house while they’re waiting for treatment, or during their child’s treatment at a hospital.
You can collect them in a cute little house The Ronald McDonald House hands out, or pop them into little baggies.
It’s everyday kindness that takes seconds out of our day and can make the lives of other families easier during a really difficult time.
13. Cheer up a Senior Citizen
So many seniors are alone and lonely and nursing homes are not allowing any visitors.
How can we cheer up our elders in a safe way?
They can color or draw pictures and send them into Color a Smile who will send them to senior citizens who have signed up to receive art from our kids.
This activity was our March Family Volunteer Challenge and we loved doing it.
And now that it’s the only way to cheer up people in nursing homes and retirement communities in a safe way, it’s an even more incredible way to spread kindness.
14. Read a book to a sibling
Siblings can connect with each other while they read. If you have an older sibling who can read, they can choose a book and read to a younger sibling. Or they can “read” to their sibling.
If you have photos of your kids, you can make them a Sibling Photo Book they can read to each other.
Or your kids can video themselves reading and send it to a younger cousin or neighbor.
Some of our favorite sibling books:
15. Donate to a food bank or a virtual food drive
Every chance we get, we donate to our local food bank. 1 in 13 kids is food insecure which means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from (which is frankly, unacceptable). But now with so many people out of work and schools not serving lunches and breakfasts consistently, far too many kids are going hungry.
Many food banks are still taking physical donations and if you can, purchase a few things off their wish list when you grocery shop to donate.
But for safety reasons, many food banks are not taking physical donations and are instead hosting virtual food drives like this one.
To find out how to donate locally to you, Google: “donate to food bank near me”
16. Give someone in your family a compliment
It’s something so easy and so simple, but encourage compliments.
Compliments lift others up, make them feel good about themselves, and communicate: I care about you enough to notice something awesome about you and I wanted to take the time to communicate that thought to you.
So many of us think great thoughts about people around us but then often miss the mark in telling the other person.
We think, “great shoes” or “I love her sweater” or “oh my goodness, he did great in that presentation.”
And at home, it’s even easier to take each other’s awesomeness for granted.
So we need to get into the habit of freely passing out compliments.
If you need an easy way to let our family members know how much we appreciate them, you can use these Gratitude Notes:
17. Wave to people and say “hi” when you’re on a neighborhood walk
I often wave or say “hi” to people as I pass them. But now when we’re out on our family walks, we make it a point to say “hi” to people on the other side of the street or to people who are in the front of their homes.
As we socially distance ourselves or quarantine, we’ve all missed people. Being around people, near people, interacting with people.
So when we are out and near people, we make it a point to say “hi.” Even when we don’t know them (especially when we don’t know them).
18. Thank Essential Workers
We want our kids to thank the essential workers but we didn’t know how to do it in a safe way.
This is how.
You can use these free printable coloring activity sheets to thank our essential workers: our grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, mail carriers, garbage collectors, delivery drivers, and teachers.
19. Thank whoever cooked the meal and offer to help make the next one
With fewer restaurant trips because of social distancing and the stay at home order, we’ve been cooking at home more often.
But with more cooking, the chefs are getting tired and irritated more often.
That’s why it’s extra important to thank the people who cook or make our meals. In our house, we make a big deal of toasting the person who made dinner each meal. It’s a simple gesture to thank them (it’s either my hubby or me, but eventually it’ll be my kids’ turn in the kitchen more often).
And we encourage our kids to help with the meals whenever appropriate as a way to teach them new skills, but to also share the chore of cooking and cleaning.
It’s super kind to help others. Especially in the kitchen.
20. Paint and hide kindness rocks
Painting kindness rocks not only gives our kids a creative outlet, and a screen-free activity, but it also helps them spread kindness.
They can leave uplifting messages on rocks and then hide them all around your neighborhood or leave them at friends’ houses as you walk by.
Even if we’re stuck at home during this quarantine, (actually, we’re safe at home), we can still spread kindness to the world, while maintaining social distancing.
Because kindness can still happen 6 feet away.