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How to Teach Generosity to Your Children

’Tis the season for good cheer, charity, and gift-giving. What are all of these examples of? Generosity! There’s no time like the holidays to begin teaching generosity to preschoolers, and all the concepts that go into it—sharing, kindness, and caring for others—make for great social emotional activities! Parents and teachers alike can use what resources they have to demonstrate the importance of being generous to both people we know, and people we don’t. The only question is how to teach kids generosity.

Ellen Booth Church’s marvelous book Getting to the Heart of Learning contains numerous activities that tie social-emotional learning to other academic areas. It’s a perfect resource for illustrating the basics of generosity, while also reinforcing literacy, math, and motor skills. Below are a few excellent activities to help your child get into the spirit of giving!

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Circle Around with Friends


How it Promotes Generosity

This activity illustrates how everyone is connected and equally represented in the circle, as well as how to share with peers.

Materials

  • A large ball of yarn

What to Do

  • Have all the children sit in a circle. Hold one end of the ball of yarn and then roll it towards a child across the circle
  • Have the child across the circle pinch a section of the yarn and then roll the ball to someone else. Repeat until every child has had a turn and there is a web of yarn in the center of the circle
  • Ask the children to describe what the circle looks like to them. Ask them how they feel. Do they feel connected to their friends and peers? Explain how people are connected to one another through acts of kindness in the real world

Will I Have a Friend?


How it Promotes Generosity

This activity encourages empathy for others, which is the basis for acting generously towards others.

Materials

  • A new doll or stuffed toy
  • A large box or pillowcase

What to Do

  • Welcome the children to the circle and tell them there will be a new friend coming today. Show them the box/pillowcase containing the toy
  • Peek inside the box. Be dramatic! Tell the children that their new friend is very shy and isn’t sure if she wants to come out. Ask the children if they have ever felt that way and what they think they should do
  • Encourage the children to sing a welcoming song to the toy. After a while, have the toy peek out of the box. The children will be excited, but encourage them to be quiet and gentle, or else the toy will be scared away
  • Pass the toy around and encourage the children to each pat it and say welcome
  • Once the toy has been passed around, sit it in your lap and tell the children she is feeling a bit more comfortable. Thank the children for being careful, caring, and other words that emphasize care or kindness
  • Ask the children to describe how they’ve felt when entering school or another new place. Ask what made them finally feel welcome there. Listen closely to each child’s response and encourage other children to do the same

I Like the Way…


How it Promotes Generosity

This activity explains and introduces compliments and how they make others feel good about themselves. Giving other children compliments encourages kindness and illustrates how we can make other people happy through our words and actions.

Materials

  • Chart paper or a whiteboard
  • Drawing Paper
  • Crayons and Markers

What to Do

  • Use a compliment song to welcome children to the circle, such as singing “I like the way that Susi is sitting / John is sitting, George is sitting / I like the way everyone’s sitting / Now it’s time for circle”
  • Talk to the children about the song and how it made them feel to be mentioned. Explain that when you like something that someone does, you compliment them by saying “I like the way…”
  • Explain that there are many things to compliment someone on, from their actions to their clothes. Start a compliment board by having the children suggest words and phrases they say when they want to compliment someone.
  • Next, make compliment cards the children can share. The cards will have compliments on them using the words and phrases from the board. Give a few to each child and allow the children to decorate them.
  • Have the children go around the room and give each other compliment cards. Make sure they say “thank you” when they are complimented and that every child gets at least one card given to them.



More Activities to Try


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