A Sensory Activity To Teach Kindness to Toddlers
Pink Shirt Day has inspired us around the world to talk about kindness. But what does being kind mean to you? For us Big Daydreamers here, we believe that kindness is like a puzzle. The pieces of the kindness puzzle include:
- Kindness to our community
- Kindness to ourselves
- Kindness to the planet
Kindness helps toddlers develop empathy - the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Being kind will help toddlers learn skills like taking turns and sharing. Other benefits of being kind include:
- Better self-esteem
- Happier kids
- More optimistic kids
- Develops a better sense of respect
To spark the conversation between you and your little daydreamers, here is a quick sensory activity inspired by the book Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin.
Fill a Bucket
A story based on their best-selling Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, the book Fill a Bucket is one for young kids. This simplified version of the book helps kids see the world around them in an empathetic and compassionate way.
The idea is that we all have an invisible bucket that can be filled or dipped. We also all have the power to fill someone else’s bucket when we show kindness or make someone feel special. When we show kindness, our buckets also fill. But when something bad happens or someone isn’t kind to us, they’re bucket dippers and take away from our buckets.
This activity combines reading the book and doing a sensory activity to teach toddlers and young kids about kindness. Reading can help spark your little daydreamer’s imagination and invite conversation. Doing the activity could make the idea of being kind more tangible and real.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 5-10 different coloured dyed pasta or rice
- Jars to put the dyed pasta or rice in
- A scoop
- 5-10 pieces of paper
- A bucket or something to represent the idea of a “bucket”
- Fill Your Bucket book or Have You Filled a Bucket Today book
How you do it:
- Read the book Fill Your Bucket together and talk about what being kind means. You can ask questions like “How does it feel when you are kind to someone else?” and “How does it feel when someone does something kind for you?”.
- Depending on their age, you can ask them for ideas on how they can fill someone else’s bucket or come up with them together.
- Take each idea and write them on pieces of paper.
- Label each jar with the idea.
- Ask them which acts of kindness they’ve done today or during the week.
- For each act of kindness, get them to pour from the labelled jar into their bucket to see how full it gets.
- Reflect and talk about the activity.
The official definition of kindness to some degree is to “be friendly, generous, selfless, and considerate towards others.”
Being kind is a social and emotional skill that toddlers and young kids learn by seeing it in action - through the adults and community around them. Little Daydreamers are great observers and soak the world around them like a sponge. By doing this activity, we hope it makes the idea more concrete and inspires acts of kindness in the world!