Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? Because of this, I thought October would be a great time to talk about kindness. Recently I posted about creating a kindness wall in my home to promote kind acts. Today’s activity helps kids think about how your words and actions impact other people. I did this activity with my own kids to help them understand the long lasting effect their words can have, even after they say sorry.
The activity is simple and just requires you to read the book Chrysanthemum and have paper hearts. Before I began to read, I cut out paper hearts for each of us, plus one extra that we would use later. I told them to pay attention to whether the characters in the book were using kind words or mean words.
As I read the book, every time a character said something mean to Chrysanthemum, I had them wrinkle up a piece of their paper heart to represent how mean words impact others. Every time Chrysanthemum’s classmates said something mean to her, the heart got wrinkled a little bit more.
Every time her parents said something kind and loving to her I had them smooth out the paper heart a little bit and try to repair it. At the end of the book we try and spread out the heart as much as possible and repair it either using tape or Band-Aids.
We compared the paper heart that wasn't wrinkled at all to the ones we wrinkled while we were reading and noticed how different they were. I talked with them about how even when you say sorry and apologize for your mean words and mean behaviors, it still has a lasting effect. You can smooth out the wrinkled heart as much as you can but it still is always going to look a little bit wrinkled from your mean words and your mean actions.
This is a great activity to do with your own family, or in a small group or in a classroom. It really helps establish a community of kindness. I know teachers who have actually hung the wrinkled hearts up in the classroom as a reminder all year to use kind words with one another.
Have you ever read a book about kindness and talked about it with your kids?