18 activities to help teach your kids kindness and compassion

18 activities to help teach your kids kindness and compassion

When it comes to kindness and compassion, we already know from our Youth Economy Report that children and teenagers prioritise the gift of giving. Alongside being kind with their money, there are other ways to show them the power of compassion. With a study finding that three key themes account for how children understand and view kindness: helping others, showing respect to others and encouraging others, here are 18 activities that help put kindness and compassion into practice.


Related: Teaching kids how to give back


Here are some of our favourite activities to help teach your kids kindness and compassion:

  • Create a Kindness Jar

  • Send appreciation notes

  • Message a friend that you haven't spoken to for a while.

  • Say thank you to a teacher you like

  • Donate some toys

  • Build a kindness paperchain

  • Stand up for something your believe in at school

  • Use your pocket money to buy food for a food bank

  • Give a compliment to someone shy

  • Offer to help someone who is struggling

Now let’s dive in with a little more detail.

18 Kindness activities for kids

  1. Give regularly. Getting your child into the habit of regularly giving can help them develop compassion and empathy for others and get them involved in issues they feel passionate about.

  2. Write a letter to PostPals This is a charity dedicated to making seriously ill children and their siblings aged 3-17 smile with cards, and letters, from other kids.

  3. Do something kind for your sibling every day. Encouraging your kids to be kind to each other leads to empathy and kindness in the home (as well as a bit of peace).

  4. Message a friend that you haven't spoken to for a while. Tell your kids that knowing someone is thinking of you is lovely.

  5. Say thank you to a teacher you like. Teachers get a lot of criticism and only a few thank yous. Suggest your child expresses their thanks to a teacher they like to make their day.

  6. Donate some toys. By the time they hit their 13th birthday, the average UK child will have owned 493 toys throughout their childhood. Donating them to a nursery, library or charity shop helps your child to see that being kind goes beyond their friends and home life.

  7. Offer to help someone who is struggling. It's not always easy to help a person in need, but listening and being there shows kindness and compassion.

  8. Say thank you whenever you can. That's thank you when someone holds a door for you, when you're at a checkout, and thank you generally to anyone who does something nice for you.

  9. Come up with five things you are grateful for. Nothing teaches compassion more quickly than being aware of everything you have to be thankful for.

  10. Send notes of appreciation. When someone does something nice for you, tell them how much it means.

  11. Read books and watch films about kindness. Movies like Wonder and Babe explain a lot about kindness and compassion. BookTrust also has a great kindness, compassion and empathy book list for kids.

  12. Have a family kindness jar. Fill the jar with small cards with random acts of kindness on them. Every day each family member has to pull out one and do what's on the card.

  13. Build a kindness paperchain. Create a paper link for a chain whenever your kids do something kind. By the end of the year, you can show your kids how much their kindness has grown.

  14. Stand up for something you believe in at school. It doesn't have to be a big thing; it can be sitting with someone who sits alone at lunch, helping a struggling friend, or simply getting involved in fundraising.

  15. Use your pocket money to buy food for a food bank. There are many ways to give, but understanding why a food donation box needs donations shows genuine compassion for others.

  16. Give a compliment to someone you know. Compliments help us communicate the appreciation we feel toward one another. You could tell a good friend what a lovely person they are, say to a family member how wonderful they are or tell someone they are looking good today.

  17. Donate to rescue animals. Another good way to show compassion is to get your kids ​​to donate pet food, cleaning supplies and even old bedding to animal shelters and rescue centres.

  18. Volunteer. Kids 14+ can volunteer in charity shops; roles include customer service, sorting donations and merchandising, or rescue centres where they help look after animals. Younger kids can get involved in fundraising for causes they are passionate about. 

7 Ways to encourage kindness

Have regular chats about what it means to be kind

We all have different ideas of what being kind means, so discussing this with your kids and teens is important. You could start by saying kindness is a type of behaviour marked by acts of generosity, consideration, and respect. For example, saying thank you when someone does something for you, sharing with siblings, and being considerate when someone is sad.

Encourage self-compassion when they are hard on themselves

Being kind to themselves is an integral part of self-care. This means teaching your children to be kind and gentle with themselves and to talk to themselves nicely and without harsh judgement. 

Model kindness when you are out with them

Kids will pick up on any discrepancy between what you say and what you do. Be sure to model what you say, especially when working, driving and interacting with others outside the home. Seeing you be respectful, kind and compassionate will bring your words to life.

Encourage them to be nice on and offline

This is an important one for tweens and teens and covers being kind on social media with comments, WhatsApp, and messaging groups. Encourage them not to alienate or isolate others and be respectful on and offline.

Talk about all the many ways they can give

Giving doesn’t just have to be about money. Let your kids know they can give their time, knowledge, help, and more. Then encourage them to find ways to do this, whether helping someone with their homework, helping an elderly neighbour or simply being compassionate and listening to someone’s worries.

Get involved in national campaigns 

Campaigns like Children in Needs, Stand Up to Cancer, and Red Nose Day allow you to talk about compassion and kindness with your kids. And show your kids all the many ways they can act on these feelings and help others through fundraising, awareness and volunteering.

Make being kind a family affair

Whether you are sending flowers, making a cake for someone feeling down or helping someone who needs you, get your kids involved too. Show them how to be kind and compassionate to others, ask if they would like to help and let them see the outcome of these small acts on others

What are the benefits of teaching kindness to kids?

  • Happy children. Studies show that kindness activities like helping others and making others feel good boost well-being and happiness.
  • Optimistic kids. Even small acts of kindness create feelings of self-worth and improved self-esteem.
  • Gratitude. Children learn to appreciate what they have and feel grateful when being kind to others.
  • Less Bullying. Research has found that the effects of bullying can be significantly reduced by encouraging students to be kinder to their peers.
  • Empathetic children. Kindness and empathy go hand in hand, as it takes understanding what someone is going through to work out how to make them feel better.

How can GoHenry help?

To help children become givers, they need to learn how to manage their money. Topping up their GoHenry prepaid kids debit card with their pocket money means they can practise making choices around giving.


Using the app's giving feature, kids and teenagers have already donated over £425,000 to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). 




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Teaching kids abut charity

Written by Anita Naik Published Mar 22, 2023 ● 4 min read