Back in December 2014 I watched The Imagination Tree post about their Kindness Elves. They are an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf tradition. The Kindness Elves arrive in December and leave little notes each day for 12 days. The letters can either praise the children for the kind acts they have seen or suggest ways that your child can be kind to others. The idea behind the Kindness Elves is that they “emphasise kindness and love in the approach to Christmas and hopefully help the kids to develop thoughtfulness and compassion for the world around them in a playful and fun way.”
I vowed that in2015 we would participate too. You can imagine my excitement when I saw The Imagination Tree was creating a house for the Kindness Elves to live in and had created a dedicated Kindness Elves website. We purchased the house which came with two Kindness Elves.
On December 11th three construction men started working at the bottom of our fireplace. They were working on a large project.
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That evening, whilst Adam was asleep, the construction men built the Kindness Elves house. I had made one alteration to the original house. I printed a picture of a living room at Christmas and placed it on the inside of the box. The house has an amazing working mail box so your child could post letters directly to the Kindness Elves. The next morning Adam woke to find the two Kindness Elves, their house and a introductory letter.
Over the next 12 days the Kindness Elves left a message in a heart shaped letter along with a visual clue. As this was Adam’s first year and we were introducing the concept of kindness we decided to focus on concrete things – activities that Adam could physically do and see the physicality of his kindness. Here are our 12 activities we participated in:
Day 1 – Donating Shoes
Over the years Adam has grown out of several pairs of shoes. That day there was a pop-up shop in Norwich where you could donate shoes to refugees. We took Adam shoes, along with ours, to be donated.
Day 2 – Giving a present to Nanny in hospital
Adam’s Nanny has been in hospital for nearly 7 months. We visit her regularly but wanted a different way to cheer Nanny up. We went shopping and made her up a fruit basket.
Day 3 – Food Bank
Many families can not afford the additional expense of Christmas and rely on food banks for help. We found a list of items that the food bank are in need of and went shopping. Many supermarkets have food bank collection points.
Day 4 – Helping dogs
We discovered that the supermarket also had a collection point for dog items to be donated to the local dog rescue home. Adam choose some dog food and treats to place in the collection point.
Day 5 – Donating books
Adam thoroughly enjoyed his Snowman Advent Book Calendar and as a result was reading more and more books. We have a huge collection of books in most rooms. To share the love of books Adam chose five books to donate to the charity shop. I have to say it took him most of the morning to choose five books!
Day 6 – Donating a gift
Our supermarket had a collection point where you could donate newly bought toys for children who were spending Christmas in hospital. I let Adam choose the present. and he placed it in the collection point.
Day 7 – Donating clothes
Adam seems to have grown lots lately and is finally out of his 2-3 year old clothes. We collected them all together and took them to the charity shop.
Day 8 – Sponsor an animal
Each year we visit the zoo at Christmas. Whilst there, Adam fell in love with the penguins. We sponsored one of the black footed penguins.
Day 9 – Helping cats
We couldn’t help dogs without helping cats too. Adam chose some cat treats which we placed in a collection point for Venture Farm Cat Rescue.
Day 10 – People who help us
We created thank you cards to give to the people in the village who help us. Adam can be incredibly shy when speaking to people who he is not familiar with so the thank you cards gave him a focus when saying thank you.
Day 11 – Feeding the ducks
We went to the broads where we fed the ducks. Did you know that bread is actually dangerous for ducks. We gave them peas instead.
Day 12 – Thank you cards
Adam has developed a huge love of Christmas lights this year. He loves to walk around our village to see the different displays. We wanted to say thank you for people spending the time and energy in creating the Christmas light displays so we created thank you cards.
The Imagination Tree now has many Kindness Elves related products. We were thrilled to be able to look through Kind Classroom: A Teaching Resources Pack. This is the perfect accompaniment for teachers. It demonstrates how you can introduce the Kindness Elves in the classroom. What wonderful mascots the Kindness Elves would make. The ebook is packed with ideas, resources and printables to help your class enjoy the Kindness Elves throughout the year.
The long awaited picture book is also available to pre-order. The Story Of The Kindness Elves is a hardback book that is beautifully illustrated. It tells the sweet story of where the Kindness Elves live, who they are and what they do all day. We can’t wait for ours to arrive!
If you are looking for other ways to countdown to Christmas take a look at….
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