The notable children’s book If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson is a sweet story that teaches kids about kindness. To go along with the book, you may like to do a special kindness activity. This one is perfect for spring. (Or even late winter.)
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Let me back up.
I found If You Plant a Seed (affiliate) when I was browsing through a list of notable new-ish children’s books. Kadir Nelson is an award-winning author-illustrator best known for his stories of diversity and his richly detailed illustrations.
This story of generosity and kindness is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s about a bunny and a mouse who plant seeds to grow food. Birds come and try to take their harvest. In the end, though, the animals share their food and together have an even more successful garden.
Kindness Activity Overview
The idea for this kindness activity is simple. Put some seeds you want to plant in the bottom of a jar. Then, catch your children being kind. Write down what they did on a slip of paper, and put it in the jar. When it’s time to plant the seeds, re-read the story, and talk about what’s on the slips of paper.
Kindness Activity Details
Read the story and explain the activity to your child. Choose some seeds and put them in a small jar. You may like to decorate it. Store the jar in a dark place such as a cupboard.
You might like to read this excellent short article on teaching kindness to children. When you catch your child showing kindness, write down the behavior. If your kids need some inspiration, check out this huge list of 100 Acts of Kindness for Kids.
Give your child the slip of paper and help him or her put it into the jar. (By “help” I mean make sure they don’t spill the seeds or drop the jar). You don’t have to fill the jar up. You could cram a whole lot of paper in a jar. The idea is to just praise and reinforce good behavior.
When you have a small collection of kind deeds in the jar, and when you have time, plant the seeds. Talk about how your plants can be used for kindness too. Flowers can brighten someone’s day. Vegetables can feed people and animals. (And if insects or critters get to your plants first, you can talk about that in terms of kindness too — of course, you may still want to discourage them from getting to the plants!)
For more book-inspired ideas from Books and Giggles, you may like…