Every parent — and every teacher at our daycare center — wants their children to grow up to be a kind person. One great way to do so is by modeling kindness yourself and talking about what kindness means in particular situations. There are also more deliberate ways we teach kindness here in our learning centers, and in today’s blog post we’ll share a few of the exercises and games we utilize to motivate kids to be nicer and to learn empathy for one another. Plus, like most things we do here at Kids Villa Learning Center, they’re also fun!

Good Names/Compliments

This is a game played at many daycare centers that gives children the opportunity to work on motor skills along with language skills. You have children stand up in a circle and toss a small ball to one another while giving the person they’re tossing the ball to a compliment. You can structure it by giving them a phrase like “I like this” or “thank you for.” Be sure that the ball is being tossed to everyone in the group. You can motivate kids by saying something like “whoever tosses the ball to as many different people as possible wins.” 

Move If You…

The goal of this game is to have children recognize commonalities between one another. The game works by positioning chairs or cones to form a circle, making sure that there is one less cone or chair than the number of children playing the game. The person who doesn’t have a chair or cone stands in the center of the circle and starts the game by saying, “Move if you also ____”. And they fill in the blank with a piece of information about themself/that is true to them, e.g. “has a pet cat, is an only child, etc.) Everyone for whom this statement is also true gets up and moves around the circle. The person who doesn’t find a cone/chair is the person in the middle.

Kindness Jar

Motivating kids with reward systems is nothing new, but doing so specifically for acts of kindness is a really great way to help kids see what kindness is and how their peers are acting kindly. The kindness jar is a collective reward system, and you will add a small token to the jar every time you see a child doing something kind. When you notice the act, explain to the kids what you saw and ask them to explain why the act was kind. Eventually, you can have kids report to you if they witness someone acting with kindness, and you can announce that to the group and put a token in the jar. When the jar is full, celebrate how kind your kids are and celebrate with popsicles or another small treat! This is a great tool for both parents and daycare centers. 

Kids Villa Learning Center

Our daycare center’s motto is “caring and learning go hand in hand” and we practice it every single day! We use games, like the ones we’ve shared today, to foster community and kindness among the children in our care. We hope that you model kindness for your children and that you’ve found these games useful!

We’re also proud to be accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education. We are dedicated to providing a full array of different supports that will help every child learn in their own unique way. We embrace and celebrate the diversity of our children, ethnically, racially, linguistically, mentally, physically, and developmentally. Learn more about our programs and teaching philosophy.  

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