Children respond to what their exemplars teach them is meaningful, and for youth, parents and teachers can show that kindness is important by involving them in hands-on crafts that make kindness fun. Kindness crafts could include sending a hug through the mail or "heart attacking" someone's door.
Gather paper and help the child cut out dozens of hearts. Different types of paper -- newspaper, wrapping paper, tissue paper or construction paper -- can be used. Children who cannot use scissors can create heart shapes by drawing with markers or gluing different crafting items -- such as sequins, buttons, and pipe cleaners -- to paper. When the hearts are finished, the child can "heart attack" someone's home or bedroom door by decorating it with them. Use painter's tape to attach the hearts to the door's surface to prevent damage to the door's paint when the hearts are removed.
Mail a Hug
Have children trace their hands with a pencil on top of a piece of paper. Help them cut along the outline and connect the two hands with a long piece of string or a narrow strip of paper. Once the outline is cut and pieced together, it represents the child's "hug." Have children write meaningful messages on the hugs to whomever they want to send it to so they can learn to express kindness through not only actions but also words.
Random Acts of Service
Brainstorm different crafts the children can complete as a kindness to another. For example, they could draw portraits, create a handmade card, write and illustrate a short story, or create "warm fuzzy" monsters with pom poms and googly eyes. Have him or her write the ideas on slips of paper. Then brainstorm different individuals in the home, at school, and in the community and write them each on separate slips of paper. Help children decorate two "kindness jars" by decoupaging newspaper and magazine clippings of kind words like "happy," "volunteer" and "smile" onto the outside of each. Fill one jar with the acts of service and the other with the names of the individuals. Make a plan to help children choose a slip of a paper from each jar and perform the service craft for the recipient drawn.
Box of Kindnesses
Have the children decorate boxes with pictures depicting themselves performing acts of kindness. Whenever you notice the children showing kindness, you can help them record their acts of kindness on slips of paper. Positively reinforce their efforts by rewarding them after they've collected a certain number of slips -- by offering small rewards -- or simply enjoy reading them together and remembering the kind things they've done.