Our dear friend Kathy Yates of Tampa catches our attention on a regular basis with all of the fun activities she plans for her family and last December, she had our full attention when she started sharing daily pictures of the Kindness Elves! Think of them as an Elf on a Shelf, but using the Elves to teach your children about spreading… kindness! We asked her to share her experience with the Kindness Elves with hopes that it may inspire some of you to implement this new tradition in your home! By the way, she started a Facebook group for parents to share ideas! Anyone can join the group on Facebook by clicking here. Thank you, Kathy!
By Kathy Yates
We found thekindnesselves.com website and really loved the message. It is an alternative to Elf of the Shelf, where the Elf is naughty. Instead, we use Elves to teach age appropriate messages about sharing, kindness, and gratitude. We go through our day to day often in a blur. So we want to encourage these moments where we emphasize people like neighborhood helpers (garbage collectors or Firefighters). We want to encourage donating both our current toys and clothes and teaching them to buy new and unwrapped toys or food. So I really liked the idea of an elf helping to reinforce things that we try and teach all year, but should be emphasized this time of year. And things as little as hand making a card or making a phone call to a family member show our gratitude. Anyone can join our group on Facebook by clicking here.
Here is our list for this year!
Day 1 Kindness Elves Arrive with instructions, and our book advent calendar
Day 2 Sharing Day, Make a point to share with others today
Day 3 Write a friendly message with chalk on sidewalk for neighbors/ Create Gift bags
Day 4 Words of encouragement today, especially for our siblings
Day 5 Make Ornament or Gift for Grandparents
Day 6 Make new friends today, introduce your self to someone new
Day 7 Select pillows to give for the toy and veteran affairs drive at school
Day 8 Create a Grateful Jar, and make a list for Santa.
Day 9-11 Mom and dad are gone for the weekend. We are having a slumber party weekend with grandparents
Day 12 We save 25% of allowance to donate, lets empty those banks and buy food
Day 13 Make treats for neighbors
Day 14 Lets go shopping for new and unwrapped toys for charity
Day 15 Donation Day
Day 16 Make cards for teachers
Day 17 Shop for your Sibling Day!
Day 18 Celebrate sister’s birthday.
Day 19 Take a treat to dads office
Day 20 Make a list of neighborhood helpers (mail man, garbage men). Give small gift to some helpers
Day 21 Decorate Gingerbread houses
Day 22 Drop off thank you treat to local service men/women (firefighters?)
Day 23 Talk about our differences and similarities, Create a hanukkah gift for our teachers
Day 24 Kindness Elves Say Goodbye, leave PJs and a Movie
These pictures were for a day we brought treats to dads office, and took him to lunch:
In these pictures we found the Elves with supplies to make cards for family members:
The Elves also arrive on December 1st with 24 books (we reuse books every year, we hide them after Christmas):
The Elves brought us menorahs for us to make for our teachers. We attend a Jewish School and it’s important to teach our kids about how we are different and the same:
On this day, the Elves encouraged us to be nice and help our siblings:
This day we found the Elves on a cookie sheet and we made cookies for two neighbors:
We found the Elves with money and we went shopping for toys to donate.
Today we found a jar and yellow paper. So we made a gratitude jar! It was as bright as the sun when we filled it with things we were thankful for.