February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day and it has quickly become a favorite holiday in our household. As a parent, I want my kids to learn gratitude and thanks for all that we have. I want them to understand that we are more alike than different and how kind words can help lift others. Random Acts of Kindness Day is a day to put actions to our discussions and that’s why it’s a favorite. 

Before spreading the joy on this day, we plan out our course of action! We typically use gift cards as a surprise to others because who doesn’t like a gift card. First, we selecting the $5-$10 gift cards. Some of our favorites include Chipotle, Panera, Fandango, Gap, Home Depot, Ulta and Target. Next, creating and decorating our own gift card carrier allows us to put a custom message. I like to make this easy by using designs others have posted like this one.  Another easy way to make a gift card printable on www.buygiftcards.com. After selecting your gift card and $5-$10 denomination, click on ‘Send to a Friend’, choose our It’s Cool to Be Kind faceplate under the Thank You category and print the gift card from home. A link to the gift card pdf is emailed to you quickly.

Now you have gift cards in hand and a special message to warm someone’s heart so it’s time to get started! Here are some ideas for you.

  1.  Send the kids to school with 3 $5 gift cards.  I’ve done this one before and the kids had a blast with it. The instructions are easy. Hand the gift card to someone at school that you appreciate (and it can’t be your best buddy) and watch their reaction. It can be the school nurse, librarian or even the principal but it must be someone that THEY pick.  Great general gift cards to use are Target, Grocery Store, Chipotle, Panera and Gap Options. When they get home from school ask them who they gave it to and why. Make sure to find out the reactions from others and how it made them feel. This is the true gem!
  2. Surprise a niece or nephew with a care package. In a digital era, sometimes we forget how fun it is to receive mail! Send a care package to a niece or nephew for Random Acts of Kindness Day. Stock it with snacks, candy, fun pens or good mechanical pencils and a gift card for Xbox, Starbucks, Dick’s Sporting Goods or Chipotle. Don’t forget to put a personal note in your care package so they feel the love. Have the kids call their cousin and see if they liked it. Again, it’s about the interaction that makes you feel so good.
  3. Say Thank You to people who help you every day. When you sit down and really think about it, so many people help you every day and you don’t even realize it. On Random Acts of Kindness Day, open your eyes to these people and say thanks. My family has taped $5 gift cards to our garbage cans and mailbox to say thank you.  The reactions are amazing. Our mailman wrote us a Thank You card saying how thoughtful it was. It really touched our hearts and showed the power of Random Acts of Kindness. I also love to put gift cards in my purse for the retail workers that help and put a smile on my face.
  4. Visit a Hospital. Lots of people in the hospital need a little joy. Personally, I like to visit a Children’s Hospital because it’s near and dear to my heart.  Schedule time with the volunteer department to give gift cards to patients or even walk around the lobby to put a smile on a nurse’s face or helper at the hospital. We’ve even taped them to the wall above a water fountain or in a bathroom.  Everyone can use words of kindness.
  5. Put a Smile On Grandma’s Face. My kids had a blast with this one. They created a bookmark for Grandma. We laminated it at the local FedEx store and taped a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to it. The kids used their best stealth moves to slip it into Grandma’s purse on our next visit. The next time she digs into her handbag to grab something, SURPRISE. I’m sure we will call with joy as soon as she finds it.  Ours did. 

I hope you got some fun ideas for Random Acts of Kindness Day. Don’t forget to talk about how it made everyone feel to give to others. The learnings from this day are invaluable.