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... 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, and then I inquire if the children think we have any kindness gnomes in our forest. Usually this sparks lot's of play and hunting for the kindness gnomes... thats when I start leaving notes and plan for the gnome to arrive.
12 Days of Kindness Activities/ Challenges...
One: Hello notes, read the gnome story
Two: Do a helping hand for 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 the needs of your children.
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 is the magic behind it. Nature is magical, Christmas is magical, and children should experiance 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...