20 Screen-Free Activities Inspired by the Children’s Book: One Drop Of Kindness
In the book, we meet Gus, who was once an orphan going through life thinking that hurtful words and actions were the only way to communicate with others. He lived in a town that had a mysterious secret but when it was unlocked, a miraculous ripple effect of kindness occurred and Gus and the entire school and town were transformed.
There are so many great ways to celebrate the message and extend the learning within this wonderful story.
1. We made our own “Drops of Kindness.” My students wrote about how they would add kindness to the world and drew their idea on ‘drop’ shapes which were made from paper plates cut in fourths. They took their writing home and we attached the ‘drops’ to a large blue heart which I cut out of blue bulletin board paper to resemble the heart on the cover of the book.
The children were really excited about being able to choose books to put in their special bag, read over the summer, and also keep forever!
3. The children wrote stories comparing and contrasting the Mean School and The Kindness Academy Of World Changing Students. They also had fun working in collaborative groups to create the different schools using building bricks, paper, and scotch tape.
4. After the students had a chance to share their stories with the class, we used the pictures to create our own game. In this game, the students roll a die, pick a skill card, and if they solve the problem, they can move ahead from Mean School until they get all the way to the Kindness Academy. The great part about this game is the way it can be changed over and over just by changing the skill cards.
5. This next idea is the classic ‘Wrinkled Heart’ activity and explained in full detail here.
7. Everyone thought about all their random acts of kindness from this school year and created special memory scrapbook style books to take home. We added extra pages to them and I gave each child blank white index cards cut in half so they could add more RAK to their books over the summer.
9. One of the awesome ideas that Jeff Kubiak, the author, encourages students to do is to paint kindness sayings on rocks and hide them. We decided to do this today and at recess we collected a bunch of what we thought were the coolest rocks and did a little bit of painting. This will be an ongoing project as we think of kindness sayings and find spots to hide the rocks in once they are painted.
12. In the story we see parents working together to rebuild the garden at the school. This book would be a great way to inspire families to join together, along with the school team, to start a gardening project to beautify the school, or even begin a club that meets regularly to maintain a community garden. This site has great suggestions on how to get started gardening with even the youngest children.
13. It would be a fun challenge to have students work in cooperative groups to create a song or even a poem that told the story of Gus and the transformed school.
15. Many children drew the transformed school, The Kindness Academy of World Changing Students, with a large rainbow over it and one student said it reminded her of the quote by Maya Angelou, “Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” We’ve discussed and responded to many quotes this year as a class and this has always been one of their favorites. It definitely captures the essence of One Drop of Kindness and sharing Angelou’s quote after reading Kubiak’s book will provide a great opportunity for this quick science activity.
During a warm, sunny day, get a garden hose with a sprayer attached and a source of running water. Adjust the sprayer nozzle so that the hose makes a fine, misty spray. Encourage the children to experiment holding the hose in different positions to make a rainbow, then discuss what they noticed. They will find out that the rainbow can be seen only when the sun is behind the person and the spray.
16. Fruit salad is so much better when friends work together to bring in and prepare the fruit to share. It then becomes Friendship Fruit Salad! Sometimes when we prepare this recipe in the classroom we add cinnamon and marshmallows.
17. It’s always a great time to remember and show appreciation for all the people in the school who provide their own ‘Drops of Kindness’ and make a big difference in the community. Why not thank your school nurse or the secretary with special cards? The janitors and lunch room staff will also surely appreciate hand written thank you notes for all they do every day to keep everyone happy and healthy.
18. Students can pretend to be newspaper reporters from Gus’ town and create special edition issues that tell about the transformation from Mean School to The Kindness Academy.
19. It would be awesome to retell Gus’ story as a comic book or even a graphic novel. A couple of my students are in the process of this right now.
20. The students worked in small cooperative groups to come up with five books they thought Gus and his school community might want to have in their school library and had to share the reasons why they choose the books they did. The conversation was priceless as they justified their reasons for choosing certain books!
The book has an awesome page of activities and discussion ideas and even a special page of Kindness Cards! The ripple effect of kindness inspired by this book will definitely be long lasting and overwhelmingly powerful for all who have the pleasure to read it.
Thank you so much for your time and attention. I hope you found this post worthwhile.
I am passionate about creating an environment in my classroom and home where children are given the time and experiences they need to think, focus, learn, and create. I recently wrote a book, which is available now for preorder and will be released in September, to inspire and guide other parents and educators in creating authentic, screen-free, hands-on learning experiences for their children.
The book is titled: Educate the Heart: Screen-Free Activities for Grades PreK-6 to Inspire Authentic Learning and can be preordered here. The Educate the Heart podcast was created as an introduction and companion to the book and can be accessed here.
I love to collaborate and learn from others who share my vision so feel free to reach out by leaving me a comment, email, or connecting on social media. I’d love to hear from you and will be sure to get back to you in a timely fashion!
“To a child, ‘love’ is spelled T-I-M-E.”