30-Day Kindness Challenge

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s almost time for people across the country to begin the daily practice of gratitude. This year I’m taking a different approach – one that I think will inspire a deeper sense of gratitude while also helping me develop a stronger kindness practice throughout the year. I’m calling it the 30-Day Kindness Challenge.

The 30-Day Kindness Challenge is great for the classroom (and beyond). I’m using this as a way to practice kindness across my life and will be asking my family, friends, and colleagues to join me. Will you join me?

This challenge holds two important messages:

  1. Anyone is a good candidate to receive kindness
  2. Kindness comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms

Here’s what you need to participate:

"Who" and "How" jars for the challenge.

“Who” and “How” jars for the challenge.

  • Paper (any kind will do – I used construction paper)
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • 2 large jars
  • A thin marker
  • Scissors
  • Decorations and supplies (ribbon, tape, glue, paper, glitter, etc.)

Step 1: Label one of your jars “WHO” and the other “HOW.” You are welcome to decorate your jars if you’d like.

Step 2: Cut sixty squares of paper (2×2 is a good size). I used brown and orange construction paper, a ruler, a pencil, and scissors. One half of your squares will be used for your “WHO” jar and the other half will be used for your “HOW” jar.

Step 3: Start with your “WHO” jar. Take half of your squares of paper and on each paper square write down someone who is a good candidate to receive kindness. This can include specific people or general descriptions. For example:

  • Specific: teachers, parents, siblings, classmates, team members, neighbors, and friends.
  • General: someone who inspires you, someone who makes a difference at school, someone who makes others smile, someone who seems sad, or someone who is having a rough day.

As you complete each square, fold it and put it in your “WHO” jar.

Step 4: Now work on your “HOW” jar. Use the second half of your paper squares and come up with thirty ways to be kind. Write one idea on each piece of paper. Here are a few ideas:

  • Write a note with words of encouragement
  • Help this person with a task or chore
  • Give the person a treat or a gift
  • Tell the person what you appreciate about him or her
  • Create something for this person (sculpt, draw, paint, bake, build, etc.)

As you complete each square, fold it and put it in your “HOW” jar.

Step 5: Begin the challenge. For the next thirty days, start your day by picking a piece of paper from each jar. You’ll have a “WHO” and a “HOW.” This is your kindness challenge for the day. The person on your “WHO” piece of paper will be the recipient of your selected act of kindness (your “HOW” piece of paper).

I’m starting on Sunday, November 2, but you can start anytime. I’ll be posting pictures and updates on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags: #ThinkKindness and #KindnessChallenge. You can learn more about my experience with the 30-Day Kindness Challenge in my next blog post.

If you’re doing this challenge in the classroom, I invite you to add discussions and writing activities. Questions for discussion or writing prompts include:

  • What did you learn from this challenge?
  • What was the easiest part of this challenge?
  • What was the most difficult part of this challenge?
  • How did you grow from this challenge?
  • What are you taking away from this experience?

Examples of variations include:

  • A 30-week challenge (choose one “WHO” and one “HOW” per week)
  • Write down the names of classmates, co-workers, or family members. It’s okay if you write down people’s names more than once. It’s a fun way to develop a kindness practice in the classroom, at work, or with your family.

Are you up for the challenge? Let’s do this!