This tradition started a few years back with some children in my care, I wanted something that embodied the spirit of Christmas, the magic of nature, and was fun to celebrate the holidays. I had seen classrooms do elf on the shelf, or kindness countdowns... there was so many cute ideas out there, and there still is! Yet, nothing was exactly what I wanted. Knowing that the existing traditions didn't exactly fit, I created the kindness gnomes. In the blog post you can find our kindness gnome story as well as 12 of my favourite challenges/activities that the kindness gnome can bring.
I bought a small stuffed gnome at Ikea a few years back. (This one from Amazon would also work.) Once I had my gnome I named it, each kindness gnome is special for the forest they live in and there are many all around the world. Our gnome is named Jenkies but they can be named anything... get creative!
Introducing the Kindness Gnomes...
I introduce the gnome by telling the children the story a few days before I plan for him to arrive. Then I ask if the children think we have any kindness gnomes in our forest. Sometimes I pretend that I have even spotted one while they are playing or while I was setting up that day. Usually, this sparks lots of play around hunting for the kindness gnomes... that's when I start leaving notes and plan for the gnome to arrive.
12 Days of Kindness Activities/ Challenges...
Here are some ideas for 12 days of kindness gnome fun. These are starting points, although they can be switched up to include your child's interests or your group's values. The kindness gnome can visit as much or as little as you like and can come as early or as close to the holidays as works in your program plan. Each day the gnome comes he has a small note. Either a handwritten note or use my editable template below to fit your kindness challenge, children's names, and gnome name.
One: Hello notes, read the gnome story
Two: Be a helping hand to someone you Love
Three: Pick up some litter
Four: Write a kindness note for a friend
Five: Say/ do something kind for yourself
Six: Tell a joke to make someone laugh!
Seven: Read a story with someone you love
Eight: Make a holiday card for someone
Nine: Give a candy cane to someone who is kind to you
Ten: Let someone else go first, or give someone an extra turn
Eleven: Make winter animal feeders
Twelve: Receive a treat or gift from the kindness gnome for all your hardwork!
Make it your own...
The kindness gnome can visit for as little or as long as you want, can bring treats, or simply challenge your children to try new kindness tasks. The point of creating kindness gnomes is that they can be a flexible tradition for your family or classroom that meets your children's needs.
My wish for the Kindness Gnomes...
My wish for sharing my special kindness gnomes with my community is that anyone who adopts the tradition finds joy in the magic behind it. Nature is magical, Christmas is magical, and children should experience that magic. The most important thing to remember is kindness gnomes are not a tool for behavioural management and would never shame or express disappointment in children, they are a positive and encouraging bunch. Thank you for respecting the tradition if you choose to adopt it in your home or classroom.
Read the Story Here...
Use this LINK to find the editable template to make your own kindness notes.
Thank you for keeping the Kindness Gnome tradition alive. We hope it brings joy and magic to your family this holiday season! Share your kindness gnome journey with us on Instagram @playcreativeseeds. Happy Holidays!