SPARKLERS / Kindness & friendship

Everyday Kindness

Our favourite ideas for boosting kindness at school and beyond.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki understand the importance of kindness as a way to strengthen our connections with others.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

One of the best things we can do for our wellbeing is to be kind or give to others (our time, actions and words).

As well as strengthening our connections with others, research shows that kindness and giving makes us happier. And it’s contagious! If we're kind to someone, they're likely to be kind or kinder as a consequence.

This activity encourages everyday kindness by creating opportunities for students to be kind to each other and the people they care about.


To get tamariki thinking about kindness, start by brainstorming:

  • What is ‘being kind’?
  • What sorts of things can we do to be kind?
  • What do people do for us that is helpful, kind or loving?
  • How does it feel when someone is kind to us?
  • How does it feel when we are kind?

Explain that kindness is like a muscle that gets stronger the more we use it, and that it tends to be contagious. If we smile at someone, they often smile back!

Other kind acts are the same. When we’re kind to others, we encourage them to be kind too. This Kindness Boomerang video will helps show students this flow-on affect.

Hei mahi - What to do

Class kindness posters

Brainstorm ways you can be kind as a class. This might include saying hi, smiling at others, giving high-fives, sharing, using kind words, inviting someone new to join a game at lunch, listening well, etc.

Ask students to choose an idea they like and turn it into a poster you can display in your room.

Kindness buddies

Start a kindness buddy programme where tamariki get the name of classmate they can surprise with a little (or a lot!) of kindness that week. Say that this is a good chance to be kind to people they’re not already close friends with.

Put everyone’s names in a box, and invite students to choose one and keep it secret. Collect the names back, then revisit some of the simple things they could do for their kindness buddy. I.e. Be friendly, share, give them a note or drawing, encourage them, tell them something they’re good at, etc.

At the end of the week, do a grand reveal (or keep it secret), and let tamariki choose new names.

Theme of the day!

To encourage different types of kindness, establish special ‘kindness days’ with different topics. E.g. Kindness In The Classroom Day. Good Manners Day. Kindness At Home Day. Spreading Smiles Day. Helping Hand Day. Letting People Know You Care Day.

Give out stickers. Put up balloons! Make it fun. And after each day, reflect on students’ experiences. How did showing that particular sort of kindness make them feel? How did people respond? Did it brighten their day? How so? How could they like use this type of kindness more in their everyday lives?

What next?

A maths option! - We know that Chatterboxes are often used to support tamariki learning times tables. Add a compliment or kind action as the final prompt. A few options we love:

  • Awesome mahi! - go give a compliment.
  • That's so cool! - go help someone out for 5 minutes.
  • Ka rewe! - head off to share your smile.
  • Wicked! - go tell someone they're awesome and why.

This idea was beautifully created by Zoe Raines as part of the HLED122 paper at University of Canterbury.

And you might also like to head to Compliment posters or try Gratitude o’clock for more kindness and gratitude opportunities.

Sparklers at Home

If you'd like to encourage whānau to think about kindness with their tamariki and give an easy idea to try, simply copy and paste the following 'blurb' into an email or your home-learning programme as an introduction.

In the classroom we've been looking into the many benefits of kindness. The science behind kindness tells us that kindness strengthens our connections with others, and that being kind makes us happier!

Sparklers at Home activity, Everyday Kindness takes you through the same ideas we've been practising in the classroom, at home. Keep the kindness kōrero going with your tamariki.

Looking after you

Foster the hauora of your kaiako and team

Learn more