Best Back to School Kindness Activity for Kids


Kids love hands-on games and activities. Seat work and worksheets have place in the classroom and are valuable, but finding a balance between pencil and paper work and hands-on activities is always my goal. With the first day of school almost here and many people in back to school mode, I am looking for a few interactive lessons that I can have ready to use in the classroom.

Having conversations about kindness and treating others with courtesy and respect is often the focus in many classrooms, especially at the start of the school year. Encouraging kindness can help set the tone for the year.

This back to school kindness activity is a simple group activity that could be done any time of year.

kindness activity for kids shows three balls with kind quotes on it and a child holding the balls.

This “Bucket Full of Kindness” activity is simple to prepare, fun to do and creates lots of great discussions.

It is a great activity to have on hand and ready to use when you have a few minutes to fill. Or perhaps, when children could use a reminder about kindness and all the different ways they can show kindness.

Once you’ve tried this kindness activity, try out another Easy Gratitude Game in the classroom or at home as a family.

If you are looking for a back to school activity to correspond with this hands-on activity, there is a FREE First Days of School flipbook available for my subscribers. Join me by subscribing, for free, and gaining access to my Free Resource Library. The library is full of printable resources and activities. More information is below the kindness activity description.

For more acts of kindness ideas, visit Simply Rooted Family post and free printable about Random Acts of Kindness for Kids.

back to school shows a printable back to school booklet.

Back to School Activity Materials

I used some old ball pit balls, because I already had them. However, you can use any ball or even something as simple as scrunched up paper. You will need:

  • Balls (Or pompoms, paper balls, tennis balls etc.)
  • Bucket (Or a large bowl or can)
  • Permanent Marker (Optional)

That’s all you need!

I decorated the bucket with paint, just to make it more fun.  You certainly don’t need to. However, it looked nice to have in my classroom for awhile and the kids were excited when they initially saw it.

This is a great activity to encourage children to be leaders and make good decisions in class.  I often use it during the first few days of school. It serves as a good reminder of the behavior expectations throughout the year.

back to school shows a bucket with plastic balls around and in it.

Back to School First Days Activity

I have done this activity a few ways. Depending how much time you have, or are looking to fill, you can use this activity and have all children participate during one sitting, or a quick 5 minute activity everyday for the first few weeks.

To do the activity, have children sit in a circle and give each child a ball.  Place the bucket in the middle of the circle. Encourage children to think of something kind that they can do at school. Ask questions such as:

  • What can you do to show kindness?
  • What is something someone has done to show kindness towards you?
  • Name something that you can do that is nice?
  • What can you do to help someone?
  • What is something you can do to make someone smile?
  • Think of something you can do to make someone’s first day of school better or easier?

Children are encouraged to think of a few ideas. You can go around the circle to each child. Or when a child has an idea they can share it by saying it out loud to the class. As they say what they can do to show kindness, they throw, or stand up, and put the ball into the bucket.

As the bucket fills, children can think about all of the kind things that were suggested that they could do.

Back to School - A picture of 3 colored ball pit balls. Each ball has a kind saying on it, such as "smile, be kind and hold the door."

You can print some, or all, of the kindness acts onto the balls with permanent marker. Printing on the balls is a great way to remember children’s ideas and fill the bucket with them.

Kindness Activities for Kids Extension Ideas

If you only have a few minutes to fill, you can easily use this activity. I have used the activity in the past by introducing it on the first day of school and simply adding one or two balls to the bucket each day.

Each day we would talk about something kind that they had seen or had done. We then added a ball for each of the things that the children said. Even a ball or two added to the bucket each day fills the bucket over time.

Doing a few balls at a time also allows you to discuss each of the ideas that the children come up with. This way you are only discussing one or two things each day (versus a full class of ideas).

Keeping the kindness bucket in your classroom throughout the year, is a great reminder for children to think about what each of the balls inside represent.

This activity is a fun, hands-on way to talk about kindness and your expectations for how you want your students to treat each other.

The more you talk about your kindness bucket and add to it, the more children will hopefully keep looking for ways to show kindness on a daily basis.

Free Printable First Days of School Flipbook

Prepare for your first days back to school, with the above kindness activity and with a printable flipbook. Filled with lots of great activities for children to work on and complete during the first few weeks. This activity book is also ideal to send home, or hand out at a meet the teacher night.

Subscribe and gain access to my Free Resource Library. It’s filled with lots of educational and fun activities.

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First Day of School Activities

Make preparing for the first day of school easier with this collection of over 35 First Day of School Activities and Ideas. From hands-on activities to crafts and name tags, you will find lots of creative ideas to make your first day smooth and fun!

back to school Pinterest pin.

More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

If you are looking for more hands-on teaching ideas, this collection below includes lots of fun and creative activities for kids to do at home, or school. From escape rooms and birthday party ideas to more first day of school ideas and activities for fall, there is lots to keep kids busy, and learning.

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