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Kindness Calendar: Supporting Social and Emotional Learning Daily

Lauren Orf
November 9, 2023

It’s hard to believe it is already November – leaves are falling off the trees, there is a chill in the air, and it’s the time of year when we are once again reminded to think about what we are most grateful for. With so much going on in our daily lives and in the world today, expressing gratitude or taking the time to practice acts of kindness can feel almost obligatory...but a little kindness each day can go a long way.  

When we start practicing skills like kindness, empathy, inclusion, gratitude, and mindfulness with children from an early age, it can set the stage for their daily interactions with the world around them – how they treat others as well as how they take care of themselves. When we model acts of kindness, empathy, and inclusion, we are showing children how much this matters every day, not just in November.  

This blog includes daily questions, activities, and book recommendations to help children explore what it means to be a kind, inclusive, and empathetic friend, and how we can practice mindfulness and gratitude for ourselves so we can continue to be kind, inclusive, and empathetic towards others. All of this will be gathered into a downloadable 🖨️ Kindness Calendar resource for you to use and practice with children each day to build these important prosocial skills. 

Kindness Calendar

You can preview the information from the Calendar below ⬇️

  1. Week 1 Kindness
  2. Week 2 Friendship
  3. Week 3 Empathy & Inclusion
  4. Week 4 Gratitude
  5. Week 5 Mindfulness

Week 1: Kindness  


Questions of the Day: 

  • What does kindness mean to you? 
  • What do you feel when you are kind to someone? 
  • What do you feel when someone is kind to you? 
  • What is something kind you can do for a family member today? 
  • What is something kind you can do for a friend today? 


  • Compliment Jar – Work together with children to think of kind words and phrases to say to others that can make them feel happy, loved, and cared for. Write these compliments down, fold them up, and put them into a big jar. Practice saying a few out loud to others and notice how it makes them feel. Keep the jar in a place children can access for a kindness compliment whenever it’s needed! 
  • Kindness Cake – Make your favorite treat with children and mix in kindness with each of the ingredients! Model kind words and ask children to whisper kind things into the mixing bowl as you bake. Once it’s out of the oven and cool, enjoy your kindness treat together or share it with others. 
  • Hug or High-Five? - Hugs can be just the thing we need to help us feel better when we are down, and giving hugs can feel great, too! Not everyone likes hugs, but we can still be kind with this simple gesture. Ask at least one person if they would like a hug or high-five, then notice how it makes you feel. 
  • How Can I Help? - Support children in walking around the classroom or your home and noticing what others are doing. Model language like, “Do you need help?” or “How can we help?” throughout the day, and encourage kind acts of helpfulness like cleaning up, setting the table, helping with the dishes, or putting clothes/toys away. 
  • Kindness Walk – Let’s move our bodies and practice kindness all at the same time! Take children on a walk around your neighborhood, school, or park and keep a lookout for ways to be kind like feeding seeds to a squirrel, holding your grown-up's hand to cross the street, or picking up trash off of the ground. Bonus: do you notice other people doing kind things? See if you can find the helpers! 

Related Stories: 

Finding Kindness by Deborah Underwood

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Kindness Makes Us Strong

Tomorrow I'll Be Kind by Jessica Hische

Counting Kindness by Hollis Kurman

Week 2: Friendship  


Questions of the Day: 

  • What can you do to be a good friend to others? 
  • What do your friends make you feel? 
  • How can you show your friends that you care about them? 
  • What does friendship look like for you? 
  • What is something that you and your friends have in common? What makes you and your friends different from one another? 


  • Friendship Painting Swap - Help children learn about friendship and develop empathy by creating their own painted representation of what friendship is. Guide them to participate in the act of giving a friend something made for them out of kindness. 
  • Friendship Venn Diagram - This community-building activity is a great way to help children practice sorting, strengthen their numeracy skills, get to know their peers, and begin to acknowledge the similarities and differences between themselves and others. 
  • Gentle Hands - Learn why it is important to use our gentle hands with friends, animals, and materials! 
  • Friendship Bracelets – A classic camp activity that never gets old. Set out string, beads, and child-safe scissors to make bracelets. Ask children who they want to make a bracelet for and why to make this activity intentionally kind. Ask questions like, “What is your friend’s favorite color?” or “How many beads do you think they would want?” to build empathy and perspective-taking along the way. 
  • Sharing & Caring – Learning to share can be challenging for littles, but sharing is an important part of building friendships and community with others! Start small by modeling language for children such as, “Can you please pass me the blue marker? Thank you so much for sharing!” or “I have two cookies on my plate, would you like one? I’ll share with you!” Then, build up to asking children to find one thing they can share with a friend today: a toy, a snack, a story, a joke, a seat next to them, a smile...anything goes! 

Related Stories: 

My Friends by Taro Gomi

Can I Play Too? By Samantha Cotterill

You Are Friendly by Todd Snow

The Heart of a Whale by Anna Pignataro

Sophies Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

Week 3: Empathy & Inclusion 

Empathy and Inclusion

Questions of the Day: 

  • What feelings do you have when someone asks you to play with them? What feelings do you have when someone says you can’t play with them? 
  • What is one thing you can do to include others in games or activities? 
  • If you see that someone is feeling sad, what can you do to help them feel better? What helps you feel better when you are sad? 
  • How can you show a friend that you are really listening to them? Let’s practice! 
  • What can we do to help everyone feel welcome in our classroom/home? 


  • How Do You Say, “Are You Okay?” - Noticing when someone is feeling sad, mad, or upset is the first step towards developing empathy. Help toddlers begin to learn this important skill by exploring how to ask if others are okay in different languages. 
  • Team-Building Obstacle Course - Boost children’s prosocial skills like listening and communicating with others, cooperation, and teamwork with this fun and challenging movement activity! 
  • Teamwork Towers - Teamwork and collaboration are important skills to practice when helping children build empathy and strengthen their prosocial skills, and it’s not always easy! Help support children in working together to create something awesome with this collaborative building activity. 
  • Cozy Family Portrait Collage - Cozy feelings like “happy,” “loved,” “proud,” “calm,” and even “excited” make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Help strengthen children’s empathy, prosocial skills, and emotional understanding while also building a community connection between home and school with this cozy, creative, family-themed art project. 
  • Our Superhero Selves - What does it mean to be a superhero? Guide children through a discussion about superhero qualities, and prompt them to create their own super-personas with this ECSEL-themed activity. 

Related Stories: 

Theo's Deliciously Different Dumplings by Dr. Donna Housman

Just Ask! By Sonia Sotomayor

All Are Welcome

Last Stop on Market Streetby Matt de la Peña

How to Be a Lion by Ed Vere

Week 4: Gratitude 


Questions of the Day: 

  • What do you think gratitude or being grateful means? 
  • What can we say or do to let others know we are thankful for them? 
  • What are 3 things you are most grateful for? 
  • What is one nice thing someone did for you today? 
  • What do we have that we can give to, make for, or share with others? 


  • Community Helper Thank You Cards - Taking a moment to think about and appreciate the many helpers in our community is important for developing empathy. Learn about them, thank them, and build empathy together! 
  • Giving Back to Schools Around the World - Explore images of schools around the world and discuss differences! Do all schools have the same resources and materials? Create a school supplies drive to send to a school in a different country. 
  • My Five Favorite Things - We all have favorite things, and they make us who we are as individuals! Identifying one’s own favorite things and hearing the favorites of others is a great way to share experiences and listen to other people to understand their experiences. 
  • Positive Thinking Paper Chain - We are connected by our emotions in so many ways, both prickly and cozy. Focus on our cozy feelings by brainstorming causes for what makes us feel happy, excited, loved, and proud, and create paper links to build the connection. 
  • Gratitude Stones – Explore the outdoors with children and guide them to choose a rock to decorate and give to someone they are grateful for. Take the rock inside, clean it, and let children paint or decorate it. Then, help them deliver the gratitude stone to that person! 

Related Stories: 

The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Tracy Sorell

Thanks a Lot by Raffi

Look and Be Grateful by Tomie DePaola

Otis Gives Thanks by Loren Long

Week 5: Mindfulness 


Questions of the Day: 

  • What are you feeling right now? What is making you feel this way? 
  • What does being calm look like to you? 
  • Close your eyes: What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you notice in your body? 
  • What is something that makes you feel proud of yourself? 
  • What can we do to calm down when we feel upset? 


  • “I Like Me”: Self-Portrait Collage - It is so important for children to take the time to think about the things about themselves that make them feel proud, excited, happy, and all-around cozy. Doing so is a big step towards their development of a positive sense of self. Help children celebrate themselves with this creative and expressive art activity! 
  • Dinosaur Yoga - Let’s channel our inner-dinosaur feelings into mindful dinosaur movements! Support children in taking a mindful moment to stretch like dinosaurs and identify their feelings while introducing yoga and deep breathing as regulation strategies. 
  • From Seeds to Trees - Combine movement, regulation strategies, and nature together and you get this peaceful and informative activity. Keep this idea in your back pocket for any time children need a moment to stretch and refocus. 
  • Mindfulness Nature Adventure - Practicing mindfulness can help us feel centered, more present, and more in touch with our feelings and emotions. What better way to feel more attuned with ourselves than by going out into nature? Guide children to channel their energy through their senses, express their feelings appropriately, and learn a regulation strategy with this calming mindfulness activity. 
  • Big Feelings Jar - We all experience feelings that may get a little too big sometimes. An important step in helping to calm down those big feelings is recognizing and identifying them. Work together with children to create this emotional regulation resource for home or the classroom that anyone can use whenever they need it. 

Related Stories: 

Mindfulness Moments for Kids: Hot Cocoa Calm by Kira Willey

Sometimes, All I Need is Me by Juliana Perdomo

You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeun Yoo

Mindfulness Activities for Kids (And Their Grown-ups) by Sally Arnold

Sit with Me: Meditation for Kids in Seven Easy Steps by Carolyn Kanjuro

Related Blogs: 

Related Housman Institute Resources: 

Making the Most of Storytime - using children's books to teach emotional intelligence

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