Featured Activity: Make a Kindness Countdown Chain

Published on December 08, 2021 - Updated on December 08, 2021

A kindness chain reminds us all the holiday season is about so much more than Santa and presents.

I spend a lot of time talking about kindness with my two- and four-year-old boys.

At their ages, parenting feels like I’m giving daily, even hourly, lessons in how to treat other people.

That’s why I love our December tradition of a kindness countdown chain — it reinforces what I’m already trying to teach them and it reminds us all that the holiday season is about so much more than Santa and presents.

In the end, you’ll have a 25-link paper chain with one act of kindness written for each day leading up to Christmas. Each morning in December, we remove one link from the paper chain and then start spreading kindness, whether that’s baking cookies for a neighbor or making a card for grandma. The paper chain is also great way to give little kids a visual countdown to Christmas.

kindness chain 2.jpg

This super simple family activity requires just three items: colored construction paper, a marker and a stapler.

Here’s how we make our chain:

  1. Cut 25 two-inch-wide strips of red and green construction paper
  2. Write one act of kindness on each strip
  3. Take one strip and form a circle and then staple it together where the ends meet
  4. Thread a second paper strip through the first circle and staple that one together to create a chain
  5. Continue with the chain until you have 25 links

Here are some ideas for acts of kindness:

  • Make cards for loved ones
  • Make cards for teachers
  • Make a card for Santa
  • Make a card for the mail carrier
  • Send stickers in the mail to kids’ friends
  • Give sibling a hug
  • Tell mom/dad something you love about them
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor
  • Make dinner for a neighbor
  • Leave cards with dollar bills on strangers’ cars
  • Name three things you’re grateful for
  • Donate a toy or book
  • Donate clothes
  • Clean your room
  • Draw chalk rainbows on neighbors’ driveways

Share your family's favorite acts of kindness on Instagram and tag @gethappyly! We love to hear from you!

For more inspiration, check out another recently featured activity, Camping With Kids, make time for Family Bike Rides or Find a State Park near you! For a fun activity at home, check out our list of Chalk Games.

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Thoughtfully captured by:
Lizzy Alfs
Lizzy is a Michigan transplant living in the always bustling Nashville, Tenn. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she spent a decade working as a business journalist in Ann Arbor, Mich. and then Music City. She recently transitioned her journalism career to freelance writing so she could stay home with her two little boys, Milo and Jude. Lizzy grew up in the summers on a lake in beautiful Northern Michigan and she spent the winters making the most of the state's endless snow and slush. She lives by the motto "There's no such thing as bad weather" and you'll find her outside rain or shine. These days, Lizzy and the boys like to adventure around Nashville, looking for toddler-friendly hikes, parks and swimming holes.
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