100 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
Small gestures can really brighten a person's day. These "random acts of kindness" even have a whole week devoted to the concept in mid-February. Browse this list for 100 surefire ways to spread smiles and kindness wherever you go.
- Give an unexpected compliment.
- Plant a tree.
- Let someone cut in front of you in line.
- Pay the toll for the car behind you.
- Slow down so someone can merge in front of you in traffic.
- Let someone else take that primo parking spot.
- Give someone your seat on a crowded bus or subway.
- Put coins in an expired parking meter.
- Give up your seat on a plane so other travelers can sit together.
- Buy a warm meal for someone in need.
- Help someone struggling to carry their grocery bags.
- Stop to assist someone who looks lost.
- Say something encouraging to a parent who's struggling with rambunctious kids in a restaurant or grocery store.
- Offer to return a stranger's grocery cart to the front of the store.
- Keep plastic bags filled with snacks and sample-size toiletries in your car to give to the homeless. Genius Tip: Organize homeless shelter volunteers with an online sign up.
- Donate flowers to a nursing home.
- Hand out disposable water bottles to people working outside on a hot day.
- Buy a gift card to hand to someone on your way out of the coffee shop.
- Leave a great coupon next to that item in the grocery store.
- Pick up a piece of litter on the street and throw it out.
- Pass along a compliment to a service worker's boss.
- Take the time to write a great online review for a restaurant you love.
- Pay for the meal of the people at the next table. (Leave before they realize what you've done.)
- Leave a positive comment on a news article or blog post.
- Learn CPR.
- Give an extra tip and write an encouraging note along with it.
- Keep an extra umbrella in your car to give to someone stuck in the rain.
- Buy lemonade from a child's lemonade stand.
- Visit a nursing home — read books to or play board games with residents.
- Send a care package to a service member.
- Bring treats to your local fire station.
- Write a thank you note to your mail carrier.
- Talk to a stranger at a party who looks like they don't know anyone.
- Smile at someone who looks sad.
Organize an Acts of Kindness Week for your club. SAMPLE
- Participate in a charity walk or run.
- Give blood. Genius Tip: Organize a blood drive with a sign up.
- Donate your old cell phone or other electronics to charity.
- Sign up for a bone marrow registry.
- Become an organ donor.
- Donate gently used clothes to a charitable thrift shop.
- Give old blankets, sheets and towels to an animal shelter.
- Donate your unused frequent flyer miles to a charity partner of your airline.
- Sign up for a shift at your local soup kitchen.
- Play with animals at a local shelter. Genius Tip: See how this Virginia animal shelter organizes volunteers with SignUpGenius.
- Donate your old glasses.
- Contribute used books to the library or school media center.
- Organize a donation drive for coloring books, toys and art supplies for a hospital pediatric ward.
- Donate a vacation or sick day to a colleague who's struggling with an illness or caring for a sick loved one.
- Tell your boss one thing you love about him/her.
- Bring in a favorite treat and leave it in the break room. (It's extra fun if you do it anonymously.)
- Compliment a colleague to your boss.
- Deliver coffee to an office assistant.
- Post sticky notes with uplifting messages on the bathroom mirrors. Genius Tip: Try out these 20 tips to create a positive corporate culture at your office.
- Stay late for a co-worker who needs to get home.
- Invite a co-worker who is alone over the holidays to your home to celebrate.
- Share your knowledge freely.
- Mentor someone.
- Write a thank you note to someone who has helped your career.
- Make friends with someone new to the company.
- Add a positive comment to the conversation if office chatter becomes negative.
- Tell a joke to lighten the mood when a co-worker is handling a tough assignment.
Plan a packing party to send care packages to troops overseas. SAMPLE
- Introduce yourself, even if — especially if — you've lived near each other for a while but haven't met.
- Compliment a neighbor on a feature of their home.
- Scrape the ice off a neighbor's windshield after you've finished doing yours.
- Mow their lawn, rake their leaves or sweep their sidewalk as a surprise.
- Make a double batch of the cookies you're baking and bring some next door.
- Plan a neighborhood block party so everyone can get to know each other better. Genius Tip: Organize food for a block party with an online sign up.
- Walk your neighbor's dog when he has to stay late at the office.
- Offer to babysit a neighbor's child for free.
- Build a "little free library" box in your yard. Put books in it for your neighbors to borrow, and invite them to donate their books.
- Make dinner for a neighbor who has just had a baby or surgery. Genius Tip: Create a sign up to organize a group of people to make several dinners for your neighbor.
Organize a volunteer schedule to help others. SAMPLE
- Write a thank you note to a teacher who made a difference in your life.
- Tell the principal how much you love your child's teacher.
- Offer to read to your child's class during story time. Genius Tip: Organize story time volunteers with an online sign up.
- Offer to make copies or do other chores for your child's teacher.
- Create a new bulletin board for a teacher. Genius Tip: Check out these 100 bulletin board ideas.
- Send in glue sticks, pencils, sticky notes and paper towels for your child's classroom in the middle of the school year as supplies dwindle.
- Plan a surprise gift or lunch for a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week. Genius Tip: Organize an entire week of activities on a Teacher Appreciation sign up.
- Raise money for a project on your teacher's classroom wish list.
- Send in hand sanitizer and tissues during flu season. Genius Tip: Try out these 20 tips to stay healthy during flu season.
- Send in tissues for spring allergy season.
For Friends and Loved Ones
- Be on time. Genius Tip: Use SignUpGenius' Calendar Sync to automatically add your commitments to your digital calendar.
- Call your mom or dad just to say I love you.
- Research your family tree and share what you learned with other family members.
- Tell a friend what you love about their children.
- Attend an event, such as a dance recital or sporting event, of a friend's child.
- Send a message to a friend, letting them know you appreciate them.
- Reconnect with an old friend you've lost touch with over the years. Share a memory you carry with you.
- Forgive someone who has wronged you.
- Make amends with someone you have wronged.
- Do chores for a family member who could use some extra free time.
- Let your spouse sleep in when it's his/her turn to get up early with the kids.
- Donate to a friend's favorite charity in their name.
- Give a friend a book you think they would like.
- Send a print of a photo you took of a friend or their child.
- Write a letter of encouragement to a child you know is having a hard time.
- Send a friend a helpful or inspiring article that made you think of them.
- Figure out a friend or family member's half birthday (six months from their full birthday) and surprise them with a little treat on that day.
- Write a sweet, encouraging note and put it in your child's lunch box or under their pillow.
- Don't forget yourself! Schedule a pedicure or massage, spend a few hours reading a great book or make time for another activity you love. Being kind to yourself will give you the energy and strength to be kind to others!
Kindness is a gift that keeps on giving. Sprinkle a few of these ideas into your weekly routine, and you'll be spreading positive energy with a chain of love.
Jen Pilla Taylor is a former journalist and mother of two school-age children.