What we did for 21 days of random acts of kindness challenge. Join the challenge and follow along as we learned to focus on others with these random acts of kindness.
We’ve All Been There…
The new year has just begun. I’m ready for it to be over.
I can’t seem to get ahead this year. Nothing is going according to plan.
Do you ever feel this way?
I hate this because I’m normally very motivated at the beginning of the year.
After looking absolutely everywhere for something to motivate me and coming up empty-handed, I realized I need to quit focusing on me.
Why Perform Acts of Kindness
So for the next 21 days, I’ll be focusing on others by performing 21 acts of kindness. One each day.
Each time we look outside of ourselves, we will find our joy again.
So I’m kicking off 21 days of focusing on others. If you want ideas, I’ve got a ton of them here.
These aren’t “change the world” or “solve world peace actions”. These are small actions.
Show someone else you SEE them. Smile. Make eye contact. Maybe that’s enough. Sometimes that’s all we need.
The world always needs more kindness.
I encourage you to start your own Kindness Challenge. Check out how ours went below.
Day by Day: 21 Days of random acts of Kindness Challenge
- Day One: Surprising the mail carrier
- Day Two: Giving to the animal shelter
- Day Three: Leaving surprises at the dollar bin
- Day Four: Send cards to these places you haven’t heard of
- Day Five: Donate children’s books from home
- Day Six: Yield to others – yes even here
- Day Seven: Send words of encouragement with these ideas
- Day Eight: Preload machines for a nice surprise
- Day Nine: Send an e-card
- Day Ten: Supporting a child’s charity
- Day Eleven: Gift baskets for charity
- Day Twelve: Flowers decrease depression in a home
- Day Thirteen: Kindness at the grocery store
- Day Fourteen: Kindness begins at home
- Day Fifteen: These are meant to be shared
- Day Sixteen: Be the neighbor you wished you had
- Day Seventeen: RAK: Pass it on
- Day Eighteen: Make use of old blankets and towels
- Day Nineteen: What to do with travel size toiletries
- Day Twenty: Pass on magazines or other collectibles
- Day Twenty-one: Brighten up a playground
Day One: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
A little thought and little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. ~ John Ruskin
With the dangerously cold temps in the mid-west the last few days, to kick off the 21 days of random acts of kindness, my son ran out hot chocolate to our mail carrier.
He ran out there so fast I didn’t get the best picture of it.
I’m not sure who received more joy from this exchange – my son or the mail carrier. My son ran back in with a huge grin and red cheeks, acting a little embarrassed, then asking what we could do next.
My kids were so excited by my suggestion of 21 days of kindness they immediately took matters into their own hands. They began throwing suggestions of what we could do for others especially with the super cold temps we are experiencing.
I highly suggest you recruit your little ones for the next 21 days. Kindness comes naturally to children and they will help stretch you out of your comfort zone.
Day Two: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Kindness is the highest form of intelligence. ~ Wayne Teasdale
I took my kids to the dollar store and gave them $3 each and let them pick out their own pet supplies. They enjoy feeling like they have their own money to spend and are in charge of buying decisions.
Then we went to the animal shelter and donated the toys and food. It wasn’t much, but we are doing small, consistent acts of kindness.
While there, of course, we had to visit all the puppies and kitties waiting for their forever home.
Recently, after going through a local drive-through for dinner there was a homeless man on the corner with his dog. We happened to have a bag of dog treats in the backseat so I rolled down the window while my kids gave them to the man for his dog.
It brought up some interesting questions from the kids about those without homes and their animals. We found out we have a local Pet Assistance Network. The nonprofit assists individuals and families by ensuring their pets wouldn’t have to be permanently separated from them due to temporary homelessness.
Once you open your eyes to other’s lives, you’ll find there is so much more you can do than what meets the surface.
Day Three: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop
For day three of random acts of kindness, I gave each of my kids one dollar to leave in various places in the dollar bins.
My son chose to leave the dollar in the toy bins. He wanted to wait around the aisle and act like he was shopping to see if anyone would find it before we left. A young boy found the dollar and showed his mom and asked if he could use it to buy a toy. This made my son extremely happy.
As you can see giving one dollar for someone to find isn’t changing the world. But we saw firsthand it’s putting a smile on someone’s face and we think the world could use more of that.
Day Four: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
We rise by lifting others. ~Robert Ingersoll
For day four of the random act of kindness challenge, I found various craft supplies around the house and made homemade cards. I wrote generic but heartfelt wishes in each of the cards and mailed them to an organization that distributes them to children hospitalized for long term care.
While researching where to send the cards I ran across lots of worthy places you can send cards – either handmade or store-bought if you want to do this too.
Ideas of Where to Send Cards
Send letters to the elderly. Many seniors don’t have anyone connecting with them and they are very lonely.
Make your own cards and send them to those suffering from cancer.
Send cards to kids who are in the hospital for various reasons.
Day Five: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
You will never have a completely bad day if you show kindness at least once. ~Greg Henry Quinn
For day five of the random act of kindness challenge, I went through all the books in my kid’s rooms that they don’t read anymore. Most were in excellent shape and I even found a few they never bothered to crack open and have since grown out of.
I took the stack to the kid’s elementary school and donated it to their school library.
Usually, at the end of the school year, the librarian asks families to turn in any books that are age-appropriate in exchange for kids to take some home over the summer. While that’s an awesome idea, instead of holding onto the books for five more months, I wanted to encourage the kids to give without getting anything in return.
Day Six: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Ah. Kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.
Today while driving, for day six of the random act of kindness challenge, I made it an intentional act to let three cars merge in front of me during inconvenient times or when they were being “annoying” for lack of a better word.
I don’t know what your city is like, but it seems like the driving in my city leaves much to be desired. But imagine if every driver would extend grace to one person every day.
Day Seven: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Kindness is free. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere.
For day seven of the random act of kindness challenge, we take a look at another no-cost and (almost) no-time option. Send words of encouragement to someone else. Whether it be by text or email. It doesn’t need to be long, just genuine.
Here are some ideas to get you started. To be most effective, personalize it with a specific example. You don’t need a reason to send these to someone, that’s the whole reason it’s random!
See how many you can send today.
- You always make me laugh.
- You have great ideas.
- Can I help you?
- I admire you.
- You are kind.
- You are a good friend/sister/listener/brother.
- You make a difference.
- You are creative.
- You are smart.
- You are a hard worker.
- I notice you.
- Thanks for helping me.
- You’re so brave.
- You are so much fun to be around.
- You have great ideas.
- I admire your outlook on life.
- Great job today on ____.
- I like your style.
- I’m glad you’re part of our group.
- I look forward to seeing you each day at _____.
- I appreciate your help.
- You have so much to offer.
- I learn a lot from you.
- Thank you for being an encouraging voice.
- You are so helpful.
- You are very talented. I love how you ______.
- You inspire me.
- I appreciate how responsive you are.
- I can always count on you.
- You have a big heart.
- Thanks for putting a smile on my face today.
- You are a great example for others.
- I love your enthusiasm, it inspires me.
Day Eight: Random Act of Kindness challenge
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. ~Mother Teresa
If you have kids, they will love today’s idea for a random act of kindness.
Go to a store where there’s a toy or candy machine by the checkout counter where you insert quarters into the slots. Have your child insert the quarters and leave them there. Don’t let them crank the wheel and get the prize. The idea is for a small child to come along while waiting for their mom to finish shopping and find there’s money in there and get a prize or candy for free.
You can also do this in vending machines. Prefill the vending machine with a dollar or however much you want.
After doing this once, I can’t go anywhere now without my kids wanting to place quarters in the slots as an act of kindness for others to find.
Day Nine: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
For day nine of the random act of kindness challenge, you don’t need to leave your computer and its free.
You can send virtual Valentine’s Day card to St. Jude patients. It took me about 30 seconds tops.
You choose a pre-made e-card featuring layouts inspired by patient art, then select a pre-written message, or create your own. And that’s it!
Day Ten: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone. ~Shannon L. Alder
For the random act of kindness Day Ten, buy a box of girl scout cookies directly from a girl scout. The girls who take shifts to sell cookies at the stores or on the corners work so hard and hope so hard every single time someone passes by their table.
Your time to purchase a box of cookies puts a smile on their face and the money goes to a great program.
Even if you don’t want the box of cookies, do a double act of kindness and gift the cookies to a friend or drop it off at the fire station.
If it’s not girl scout cookie time – the same goes for Boy Scouts selling popcorn. All the money goes to the worthy activities that keep the kids busy.
Day Eleven: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.
Day Eleven’s random act of kindness challenge is to create a gift basket. There are lots of opportunities to donate gift baskets:
- charity events often have gift baskets for bidding that are simply from people who donated the items
- your child’s school most likely does a fundraiser during the year and has gift baskets. Even if they put the gift baskets together from classroom items, they’d be delighted to receive extra baskets
- prepare a gift basket of your favorite things for a loved one that’s going through a difficult time or just because
- find a place in your house that you can begin collecting cute items you find on clearance then when you have an event, put it all together in a basket.
Don’t worry if you don’t have cellophane or know how to make it look pretty in a basket. The coordinator of the charity or fundraising event you go to will take care of that.
Day Twelve: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.
For day twelve of the random act of kindness challenge, send flowers to a loved one. You don’t need a special occasion – in fact, that’s what makes it random and all the more exciting for the recipient.
Flowers in your home have been shown to decrease stress, provide more energy, and increase positive feelings among family members. Who do you know in your life that could some of those benefits?
A more cost-effective idea is to take a plain terra-cotta pot, let your kids paint it, then place a plant inside and give it away.
Day Thirteen: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Kindness is spreading sunshine into other people’s lives regardless of the weather.
How often do you go to the grocery store? Multiple times per week most likely. Which means you have multiple opportunities for the following act of kindness.
Return a grocery cart from the middle of a parking space where someone left it in a hurry to the return rack. Not because you’re “doing someone else’s job” but because how annoying is it when you want to park somewhere but you can’t because there’s a grocery cart right in the middle of that spot? Make it easy for the next person.
If you see an elderly person struggling to put their groceries into their car then having to return their cart, help them out. It only takes a couple of minutes. The same goes for pregnant women or parents of multiple small children – surely you remember those days or are in the midst of them now.
If you shop at a discount store where you must place a quarter into the cart to release the shopping cart, give your children a few quarters to place into the carts. They find this a lot of fun plus it’s nice for the next person to not have to pay, even if it is just a quarter. Little things like that can make people smile.
Day Fourteen: Random Act of Kindness challenge
Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.
Day fourteen of the random act of kindness challenge happens to be Valentine’s Day. Whether it is nor not when you’re following along, today’s challenge still works for you.
How about surprising a loved one with something that would make them smile? Often we think of random acts of kindness being something we do for strangers. But kindness starts at home.
Mother Teresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
My youngest loves most of all when I surprise him at school with fast food so he doesn’t have to eat the school lunch and sit in his assigned seat. Maybe you make your family’s favorite dinner or take your child out for ice cream or play 30 minutes of Fortnite with your teen (kudos to you if you know how.)
Day Fifteen: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau
What do you love so much that you have an excess of? For me, books were something I held onto for a long time.
I had shelves and shelves of books I’d already read. I typically don’t read books more than once, even ones I loved. But I still held onto them.
Then one day I thought what would happen if I had a fire? Think of all the people who would get so much joy out of these books but I’m just hoarding them in my basement for no reason.
Since then, immediately after I read one book, I pass it on with the caveat that the recipient must pass it on when they are finished.
And it’s working. I’ve heard that people are giving the books on and on and a chain of at least 4 people are excitedly waiting for me to pass on another book!
Day Sixteen: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Kindness begins with ME.
Day sixteen of the random act of kindness challenge is to bring your neighbor’s trash can up to the side of their house when you grab yours. Yes, it may mean an extra trip but you’re already outside and it’s a nice surprise for your neighbor.
In my old neighborhood, my next-door neighbor and I would always bring each other’s trash can up for each other depending who got to it first. I never had to worry about forgetting about it but he would take care of it for me or vice-versa. It was just an unspoken agreement that developed over the years.
Encourage your kids to bring up trashcans for neighbors especially when the wind has knocked them into the street or in the rain or snow.
Recently, during an intense wind storm, all the trash cans were had fallen and some trash was strewn in the street. In our NextDoor App, someone commented on how a High Schooler got off the bus and righted the trashcans and picked up the trash and how much that small act meant to them.
Day Seventeen: Random Act of Kindness challenge
Every act of kindness grows the spirit and strengthens the soul.
Day seventeen of random of kindness happens to fall on RAK day – the official Random Act of Kindness day. But you can do this activity any day of the year.
Today, we filled sandwich baggies with assorted candy. We then attached tags to the baggies announcing the candy was a random act of kindness and to pass it on.
This is a fun activity to do with your kids. They will enjoy bagging it up and giving it away. Give the candy to:
- random people at the store
- the office staff at school or Dr. office
- family members
Get your printable Random Act of Kindness tags to attach to the baggies for free from the resource library.
Day Eighteen: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ~Scott Adams
Day Eighteen of our random act of kindness challenge is to gather up whatever old towels, sheets, blankets, or comforters you can find and donate them to an animal shelter.
Many people throw this stuff away but pretty much regardless of the shape it’s in, it can be reused, thus saving our environment and going to a good cause.
Giving to an animal shelter is an easy way to encourage your children to participate in acts of kindness. These types of activities are ones they are naturally excited to jump into and it sets them up for future activities that branch out to kindness to others.
Day Nineteen: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
Always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know. ~Colin Powell
For day nineteen of the random act of kindness challenge think about ways you can donate or put together blessing bags of travel-sized toiletries you accumulate as you travel.
I always grab all the toiletries from hotels but never use them. I had accumulated quite a collection. Adding on top of that were all the baggies of toothbrushes and travel sized toothpaste every time someone in our family went to the dentist.
We gathered all these things up and dropped them in one of the blessing boxes we have around town for donations. If you don’t’ have anything like that, you can make your own blessing bags and keep your car to hand out to anyone you see who may need one. Run by the dollar store and pick up additional items to make your bags complete.
Day Twenty: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou
Do you still get any subscriptions to magazines? I don’t but somehow I a few still find their way to my house either through some memberships that come with magazines or some kid’s quarterly magazines.
We don’t read them but instead of throwing them to the recycle bin, I put them aside and out of the way and let them accumulate. When I have a nice stack, I run them by the local senior citizen’s nursing home. Yes, even the kids’ magazines because they have visitors, right?
You can also donate them to doctor’s offices. Just cut out or peel off your address label first.
Day Twenty-One: Random Act of Kindness Challenge
In the end only kindness matters. ~Jewel
For day twenty-one of the random act of kindness challenge, do something that will bring happiness to a playground. Whether that be dropping some nickels or dimes for kids to find, leaving bubbles for kids to play with, or leaving sidewalk chalk.
Or have your kids get involved and make hopscotch or 4 square games with the sidewalk chalk. You may be stuck at the park if you bring the kids along!
Download More random acts of kindness Ideas
In the resource library, you can download 80 ideas for spreading cheer to others with random acts of kindness ideas parents and kids can together. This list was put together after I spent my 39th birthday performing 39 acts of kindness with my 2 young kids all in one day. Not everything we had planned worked, so we needed more than 39 ideas.