Philanthropic DIYs for the Whole Family
In this competitive and sometimes cutthroat society, kindness is often misconstrued as weakness. But kindness is not weakness, it is strength. It takes more courage to be kind than it does to be complacent and/or rude. Our world doesn’t need more nastiness and criticism, it needs more kindness. Outside of practicing kindness ourselves, teaching children the value of kindness is truly one of the most important things we adults can do for the upcoming generation.
Kindness is an investment we can all make. It doesn’t cost anything, yet the returns can be great. Being kind can turn someone’s whole day around. It can turn your day around! As Maya Angelou so wisely stated, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You don’t need to do any of these DIYs in order to teach or practice kindness, but we felt that these projects truly embodied both magnanimity and eco-friendliness.
Project 1: Sleeping mats made from plastic bags
Plastic Bags. They’re useful for a few minutes, then annoying forever more. They collect in a corner of your pantry or closet, they blow about outside, getting stuck in fences and foliage, they find their way into the bellies and around the necks of unsuspecting animals…they’re a mess. But J.B. Edmund, on her blog Burdens as Blessings, demonstrates how to turn plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. The process involves making plarn (yarn made from plastic bags), and then weaving the plarn into 3 feet by 6 feet mats, complete with carrying straps.
Why we love it: Helping the homeless and the environment at the same time? Yes, please! These mats can be a blessing to someone who otherwise sleeps on the ground. They are portable, can be easily cleaned off, they’re inexpensive to make, and they provide a solution for the vast collection of plastic bags that seem to accumulate everywhere.
Project 2: Take what you need sign
There is something about this sign that we find so moving. Of course ripping a small piece of paper off a sign won’t actually give you peace or faith, but then again…maybe the act of taking “what you need” will help you get started on the path toward whatever it is you need.
Why we love it: It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s thought-provoking. What do you need?
Project 3: Printable compliment cards
“Teaching my children kindness is really important to me, “writes Liz, the blogger at Kids Activities Blog who is behind the compliment cards, “The best way to do that is to lead by example, which is something I am constantly reminding myself. I also love finding little activities that help them to show kindness to others without spending money.
“I came up with these smile it forward compliment cards for a fun way to remind them that small things matter and kind words are important. It’s also wonderful to teach them that their actions can even influence a total stranger.”
Why we love it: Sometimes it’s much easier to smile and hand someone a card than it is to verbalize a compliment! These cards are just the trick for those of us who are a little shy.
Project 4: Kindness Stones
Simply paint or draw inspirational words (or pictures) on small stones. Then leave them somewhere they’re likely to be found! Easy as pie.
Why we love it: Like the compliment cards, these are an easy, inexpensive, non-verbal way of expressing kindness. The added bonus for these is that they are a surprise kindness. Think about it: How much fun would it be to find one of these while out on a walk?
Which project is your favorite?