Today’s free printable activity was inspired by an article I read over at the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). And while here at Inner Pieces Gallery I focus mostly on designing cognitive enrichment materials for kids, sometimes I like to throw in a few designs that develop traits like kindness, compassion, and gratitude.
The school in India that GGSC featured is doing quite a few things right when it comes to helping children feel good about themselves. If you live or work with students in pre-K through grade 12, I highly recommend reading this beautiful article: What a Greater Good School Looks Like.
One character building practice the school implemented for their students involves a Garden of Kindness. When students do something kind for someone else, they get to go to the school’s Garden of Kindness and plant a new sapling. Yep, real dirt. Real plants. What a beautiful way to inspire kids to be kind to each other!
Because I deal more with paper around here than with dirt, you get to enjoy a modified version of the Garden of Kindness which you and the kids can create together. I’m providing a few pages to get you started, but there are so many different ways you can customize this. For instance, create a Garden of Gratitude instead of a Garden of Kindness. I’ll include a few more ideas for you at the end.
Printable Garden of Kindness for Kids
Page 1 of the Garden of Kindness is your printable background for the garden. Kids may color the grass, the flower stems, leaves, and the sky behind it all. I’ve added circles to this page that serve as guides. Kids may paste the flowers from page 2 over the top of each circle guide.
Page 2 of the Garden of Kindness includes just the tops of the flowers. Written on each flower is an inspiring quote about kindness. Kids can color all of these flowers, cut them out and attach them to page 1. Or, they can choose to use just a few of their favorites, or even none at all.
Page 3 is exactly like page 2, but without the quotes. Children may write whatever they wish (or whatever you instruct) on these blank flowers, then color them, cut them out and attach them to page 1.
Because you can print as many pages as you like, you can extend your Garden of Kindness as much as you like, or at least as much as you have space for.
Alternative Uses for the Printable Garden of Kindness for Kids
Of course, you may take our Indian school’s lead and allow children to “plant” a new printable flower every time they do something kind for another person. Or, customize this activity however you like. And look. It just so happens that I have a few ideas for you:
- Instead of attaching the flower tops to the printable background I provided, attach them to craft sticks and plant them into any real, dirt-filled flower pot.
- As a gift for any occasion, create a Bouquet of Kindness. Kids may write all of the ways they will treat the gift recipient with extra kindness that day, one act of kindness per flower. Alternatively, they may describe all of the ways that the gift recipient is kind.
- In the classroom, create a Garden of Kindness bulletin board. Whenever a student catches someone else being kind, they get to “plant” a flower for that person and describe the kindness they observed. What a great way to catch kids in the act of being good to each other!
- Create a flower wreath with a kindness theme, a gratitude theme, or no theme at all!
- Create a Kindness Mobile. Create it once or continue to add kindness flowers whenever the mood strikes.
I’m sure that you and the kids can come up with plenty of creative alternatives for this Printable Garden of Kindness. The main objective here is to have fun with it! And of course, as Ellen likes to say, “Be kind to one another!”
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