60 Acts of Kindness for Kids to Do to Make the World a Better Place

Kids may be little, but they can make a big difference in the world by performing these simple acts of kindness.

Random acts of kindness may sound simple, but they’re almost a revolutionary act in our world. Showing kindness requires courage, honesty, and thinking outside the box. It’s so worth it, though, to see the look of appreciation and delight on the recipient’s face. These small acts of service and random acts of kindness for kids can make a huge difference, for both the giver and the receiver. And that’s true whether you’re nine or 99.

Children are naturals when it comes to performing little acts of kindness. In fact, many of us adults take our cues from them! But sometimes kids need a little extra nudge to think about others. Whether it’s showing kindness to their families, friends, communities, animals, or the planet, we’ve got thoughtful ideas for kindhearted kiddos of every age. We’ve also got plenty of kindness memes and kindness quotes to put you in the right frame of mind.

Random acts of kindness for family

Send a get-well card

Have your child make and send a get-well card to a loved one who isn’t feeling well, or make a batch to drop off at the local hospital. Little artists will particularly love doing this one!

Text someone a funny meme

Are you always telling your kid to get off their phone? Put their love of tech to good use by having them text a funny meme to a family member. (Just make sure it’s appropriate!) It’s a quick way to put a smile on someone’s face.

Give someone a compliment

Learning how to give a kind, sincere compliment is a skill—and now is the perfect time for your child to practice. Start with one of these little compliments you should be giving every day.

Do a chore for a sibling

Doing a small chore for a brother or sister is an easy way to show kindness, particularly if they are having a bad day. It can also increase that loving sibling bond.

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FaceTime a grandparent

Nothing cheers up a grandparent like seeing the sweet face of their grandchild. Littles already love calling, but it may feel even more meaningful coming from an older child or teen.

Walk the dog

If you have a dog, encourage your child to take it on walks. If you don’t own one, offer to walk the dog of an elderly relative, a disabled neighbor, or a friend who’s out of town.

Make a family member’s bed

Making someone’s bed is a small kindness that can make a big difference in their day. Kids can add a note or small piece of candy on the pillow to make it extra special.

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Read a book to a sibling

The “reader” will love being able to share a favorite book, and the listener will enjoy the attention along with the story. Parents will love that it helps kids practice their reading skills.

Put away groceries

Children of all ages can learn about household management and show kindness to their parents by helping to shop for groceries, bring them in from the car, and put them away properly.

Offer to be a “mother’s helper” for an hour

Many kids love to help but aren’t old enough to babysit on their own. One solution is to allow your child to volunteer as a mother’s (or father’s) helper for you or a close loved one. The adult is still present, but the child can do small chores and play with younger children to help keep them busy.

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Give a hug to Mom or Dad

A hug from your child is the ultimate kindness! It shows they are thinking about you and they love you. Here’s why hugging is so important.

Organize the plastic containers

Is your Tupperware cabinet a mess? Even very young children enjoy stacking containers and matching things by size and shape. Older kids love organizing things, especially when they get to do it their way, so encourage creativity.

Refill the pet’s water dish

Another way to show kindness and love to animals is to make sure their needs are met. They can’t speak for themselves, so teach your child to regularly check your pet’s food and water bowls—or maybe even clean out the litter box!

Senior man playing chess with his grandson (8-9), Cape Town, South AfricaBFG Images/Getty Images

Play a board game with a sibling or grandparent

Kids love to play all sorts of games, like board games, card games, and even brain-boosting games. Use this natural desire for fun and have them reach out to a sibling, a grandparent, or anyone else who could use some extra love.

Post a picture of something they are grateful for

Kids can show gratitude for their blessings and kindness to others by taking a picture of something beautiful or happy in their lives and either posting it to social media or texting it to a loved one.

Help cook dinner

Children of all ages love helping out in the kitchen. Let them plan and cook a simple age-appropriate meal or work alongside you. As their skills and confidence grow, so will their ability to provide this kindness in the future.

Random acts of kindness for friends

Write to a pen pal

Writing via paper or electronically to a pen pal in another place is a great way for kids to learn social skills, learn about other cultures, and practice writing. Talk to your child’s teacher or a local community center, or participate in the Flat Stanley project.

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Make a friendship bracelet

Do a kindness craft with letter beads, spelling out a sweet message like “I love you,” “Best friend,” or “Peace.” Kids can make a bracelet to wear and one to share with a new friend or a family member.

Leave five kind comments on social media

Everyone loves getting happy messages on social media, so this is an easy random act of kindness for kids to try. Older kids with social media accounts can like and leave a positive, supportive comment on a friend or family member’s post. Encourage them to reach outside of their normal circle (safely) to include others who may be feeling ignored or left out. As always, monitor your children’s social media activity closely.

Make a friend laugh

Kids can spread joy to their friends by telling a funny joke or sharing a hilarious pun. Let the laughter commence!

Young children enjoying in the playroomRawpixel/Getty Images

Share toys

Sharing is caring, after all! Encourage your kids to share toys with their friends so everyone can join in on the fun.

Pick a dandelion for a friend

This small but sweet gesture allows kids share something special with their friends. If they don’t want to pick a dandelion, they can always give their friends other types of flowers.

Pay for a friend’s school lunch

If you can swing it, give your child extra money one day to pay for a friend’s school lunch. You never know what another family is going through (financial hardship, a sick family member, etc.), so your child’s kind deed could make a big difference.

Help with homework

Everyone needs help with their homework once in a while. If your child excels in a subject, have them help one of their friends who may be struggling in that same subject.

pre-teen boy and girl giving each other a high-five after basketball gameRebecca Nelson/Getty Images

Give a friend a high five

This act of kindness encourages your child to celebrate their friends’ accomplishments. Who doesn’t love getting a high five after a job well done?

Write a friendship poem

Words are powerful, especially in poetry. Your child can write a poem to a friend to express how much they value their friendship. It’s a creative act of kindness that’s sure to inspire some smiles.

Help a friend with a project

Is your child’s friend working on a project for school, or a special gift for a family member? If so, they can help their friend make it the best it can possibly be.

Random acts for kindness for neighbors

Make cookies for a neighbor

Kids love making and decorating cookies. Have them put a few extra on a plate to share with a neighbor or a friend. You can even add a note card with an uplifting quote.

Take a neighbor’s newspaper or package up to their porch

Newspapers, packages, and other items often get left at the end of the driveway or on lawns, and that puts them at risk of getting soggy or stolen. Kids can gently move them to a safe spot on the porch.

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Shovel the sidewalk

Kids in snowy climes can shovel a neighbor’s driveway or sidewalk. In warmer weather, kids can rake leaves, offer to bag yard waste, or do another small outside chore that may feel hard for someone who is elderly, disabled, pregnant, or overwhelmed.

Give someone a “heart attack”

Have your child cut out paper hearts in various sizes and write sweet notes on them. Tape them to the door of someone who could use cheering up, then ring the doorbell and run.

Smile

A child’s smile is one of the most precious things in the world. Teach children to do it in a safe, comfortable way, and that smile could make a person’s whole day.

Make a candy poster

A piece of poster board, some markers, and a collection of candy can be turned into a thoughtful get-well, welcome-home, congratulations, or just-because message. If you have extra treats lying around, you can give them to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to our troops.

Take dinner to an elderly neighbor

If you end up with a little extra after dinner, have your kid box up a serving or two and take it to a neighbor who could use a hot meal but may not cook just for themselves.

Use polite manners

Kids can be more polite than we often expect them to be. Saying “please” and “thank you” to both loved ones and neighbors is a simple way to show respect and kindness to others. Other kind phrases for kids may include “I’m so sorry!” and “How can I help?” Find out the daily habits of naturally polite people.

Random acts of kindness for teachers and classmates

Help the teacher put up chairs

Teachers do so much work outside of their normal classroom hours. One way kids can say thanks is to offer to help with some of those little things. Even very young kids can help pick up trash, stack chairs, put away supplies, or whatever their teacher needs.

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Eat lunch with someone who normally eats alone

Nearly everyone has a painful memory of eating alone in the school cafeteria. Teach your child to look for those who may be left out and kindly invite them to eat with them or join them at their table.

Ask another child to play at recess

Playing Groundies or tag or make-believe is so much more fun with friends. Encourage your kiddo to pay attention to those around him or her and invite them to play too.

Have a used-sports-equipment drive

Many kids are kept out of playing sports because they can’t afford the necessary equipment, while other children have garages full of old equipment they no longer use. Help your child collect and donate these items to kids in need.

Tell someone they did a great job

Learning to recognize someone else’s hard work, effort, and accomplishment is a true kindness. Teach kids to see and commend others for doing good things, big or small.

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Talk to the new kid

Being the new kid in school is nerve-racking, but having a friend to show you the ropes can make things easier. Encourage kids to welcome new classmates by playing with them at recess and sitting with them during lunch (as long as the new student is OK with it, of course).

Volunteer to hand out assignments

This is a random act of kindness a teacher will surely appreciate. Kids can volunteer to help hand out classroom assignments and save their teacher a little time.

Random acts of kindness for the community

Decorate lunch bags for the food pantry

Many community kitchens and food pantries serve meals in paper bags or boxes to go. Kids can write kind messages, draw pictures (with non-toxic markers), and decorate them with stickers.

Put grocery carts back in the corral

Put some of that boundless energy to good use by having children retrieve rogue grocery carts left on sidewalks, in handicapped parking spots, or at the edges of the parking lot, and return them to the store or the cart corral.

Cute schoolgirl smiling & balancing stack of books on the head at libraryKlaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Donate old books

Have your child go through their gently loved books and choose some that they’ve outgrown to donate to a local library, community center, shelter, church, or school. Here are some more powerful ways to give to charity without breaking the bank.

Make a snack basket for delivery people

Online orders are way up, and delivery folks are busier than ever. Help your child choose appropriate items—think bottled water or juice, granola bars, or prepackaged goodies—and make a basket with a sign letting delivery drivers know they’re welcome to take a snack for the road.

Write happy messages on sticky notes

Give your child a stack of sticky notes and some markers and let them fill the pad with happy pictures, kind messages, and compliments. Take the sticky pad with you during the day and let them put the notes where it can brighten someone’s day, like on a public bathroom mirror, a shelf at the store, a car window, or a sibling’s pillow.

Leave a basket of tennis balls or sticks at the dog park

Make a dog’s day (and their owner’s too!) by having your child collect old tennis balls or throwing sticks and placing them in a dog toy bin for everyone to enjoy.

Make cards or drawings for a retirement home

Many people in retirement homes feel isolated, and the pandemic only made that worse. Have kids draw pictures, make paintings, or write notes and deliver them to the elderly.

Child writes thank you on paperHakase_/Getty Images

Give a thank-you card to a service worker

Pick a local teacher, cashier, bus driver, or other worker who helps you and your child on a regular basis and write them a sweet thank-you note. Go as simple or elaborate (glitter!) as your child likes. Hand-deliver the note for extra smiles.

Make homeless kits

Sample-sized toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant can be put in a small Ziploc bag along with a toothbrush, comb, Band-Aids, and other sundry items. Children can help assemble these bags and hand them out to the house-less. One of the things no one tells you about being homeless is that hygiene items are worth their weight in gold.

Hang up fallen clothes at the store

Store hangers can be particularly slippery, and it’s not uncommon to see a few items piled on the floor. Show kindness to tired retail workers by hanging up a few.

Donate toys to a children’s hospital

Have your child pick out a few of the season’s best toys and donate them to a local children’s hospital. Or organize a toy drive to make a larger community contribution.

Write letters to soldiers

Kids can write letters, draw pictures, and/or make care packages for the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect us every day.

Donate old blankets to a pet shelter

Bedding that you no longer use, even if it’s not in tip-top shape, can make the perfect bed for a dog or cat. Many shelters love getting donations of old blankets and towels, but always call first to make sure.

Eco-friendly random acts of kindness

Ride a bike instead of driving

Have a short errand to run? Turn it into a bike ride and show kindness to the planet by keeping the car at home. You can use it as an opportunity to discuss the importance of taking care of our environment in small but impactful ways.

Plant wildflowers

Many community gardens and nature centers offer packets of local seeds or at least suggestions of what to plant. Teach children about showing kindness to the environment through planting and nurturing wildlife.

Group of volunteering children collecting garbage in a parkWestend61/Getty Images

Pick up litter at a local park

Make it a game by creating a scavenger-hunt list—a soda can, a candy wrapper, a fast-food bag—and see how fast your child can find them all. Check out more ways you and your kids can help save the planet in five minutes or less.

Collect recycling and take it to a drop-off center

Kids can easily collect tin cans and plastic bottles at home or at school, then bring them to a nearby recycling center (with your help, of course).

Make a pine-cone bird feeder

This random act of kindness for kids is intended to help Mother Nature. Take a pine cone, cover it in peanut butter, roll it in birdseed, and hang it from a nearby tree. Birds will enjoy the treat, particularly in the wintertime, and you can use it to teach your kiddo about the different types of wildlife in your area.

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Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.