101 random acts of kindness ideas to practice with your family

Erica Loop
Nov. 5, 2019

Random acts of kindness ideas are all around us, from volunteering at your local food bank to helping an elderly neighbor move some furniture. They're a great way to bring the family together around the holidays or any time of year. Looking for ways to lift your family's spirits while lifting the spirits of others?

Here are 101 random acts to try:

  1. Have your kids choose a charity to which they can donate a portion of their allowance.
  2. Walk dogs at the animal shelter.
  3. Volunteer to sort the stash at a food bank.
  4. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter.
  5. Hand-draw birthday or holiday cards for nursing home residents.
  6. Cook dinner for a new or lonely neighbor.
  7. Give last year's winter-weather gear to children in need.
  8. Invite a friend or co-worker who doesn't have local relatives to a holiday dinner.
  9. Give a comforter to a homeless person.
  10. Write letters to soldiers overseas.
  11. Send a bouquet of flowers to a friend who needs some cheering up. Your kids can choose the flowers.
  12. Clean up your local park.
  13. Knit scarves for relatives.
  14. Ask someone about how their holiday traditions.
  15. If you have a garden, give a bushel of veggies to a neighbor or friend.
  16. Compliment each other.
  17. Forward your change at the drive-thru toward the next person's meal.
  18. Distribute gold stars (like the kind you got in school) to kids you meet throughout the day.
  19. Bake cookies for Grandpa's veterans' club.
  20. Set up a free hot-chocolate stand on a chilly day.
  21. Offer to carry an elderly person's groceries to their car.
  22. Pack lunches for the homeless and hand them out.
  23. Help younger children with their homework.
  24. Donate pet toys to an animal shelter.
  25. Donate gently used books to the library.
  26. Send a care package to a military canine.
  27. Stage a singalong at a nursing home.
  28. Donate old eyeglasses.
  29. Hand out flowers at a hospital.
  30. Carry a friend's backpack home.
  31. Bring soup to a sick friend.
  32. Share a snack with a pal who doesn't have one.
  33. Plant flowers in the community garden.
  34. Set up a free-flowers stand straight from your own garden.
  35. Give vegetables that you grow to a food bank.
  36. Have your children pick out (at least) one toy each to donate during the holidays.
  37. Re-fold the rumpled clothes on store display tables.
  38. Hold the door open for someone.
  39. Offer to wrap presents for a senior.
  40. Send a photo collage to a faraway friend or relative.
  41. Give your pet an extra-long brushing.
  42. Have members of the family hide encouraging notes for each other to find.
  43. Start a shoe drive.
  44. Walk a neighbor's dog for them.
  45. Donate warm socks to a homeless shelter.
  46. Give gloves along with the sock donation.
  47. Tip your server 50%.
  48. Give Grandpa a balloon bouquet — just because.
  49. Call a long-distance relative just to say hi.
  50. Send holiday candies to service people overseas.
  51. Give your spare change to a favorite charity.
  52. Switch places with the person behind you in line.
  53. Give the school crossing guard a bottle of water or a warm beverage.
  54. Leave encouraging sticky notes around town for people to find.
  55. Craft a holiday wreath for someone else.
  56. Leave treats or books at your local fire station.
  57. Stuff and hang stockings for your neighbors.
  58. Send a thank-you note to a community helper.
  59. Share your umbrella when it rains.
  60. Make a new friend.
  61. Introduce a new friend to your other friends.
  62. Teach your children how to really listen when someone is speaking (i.e., put the phone down).
  63. Take a friend to a movie.
  64. Donate diapers to a women's shelter.
  65. Offer to babysit for your new mommy friend.
  66. Stand up for someone who needs help.
  67. Adopt a pet.
  68. Pick up something that someone else dropped.
  69. Offer to be the carpool driver.
  70. Have the playdate at your house.
  71. Skype with Grandma/Grandpa.
  72. Bring holiday decorations to a shelter.
  73. Bring treats to the kids' soccer game — without being asked.
  74. Set up a gossip jar in which family members drop change if they gossip. Donate the change.
  75. Buy school supplies for a child in need.
  76. Donate your gently used toys to a women's shelter.
  77. Offer to cook for a family with a new baby.
  78. Have a yard sale and donate the proceeds.
  79. Pick up litter when you see it.
  80. Play board games with residents at a nursing home.
  81. Hold the elevator.
  82. If a worker is especially helpful at a store, make sure to let their manager know.
  83. Bake an apple pie for a teacher.
  84. Encourage a friend.
  85. Host a neighborhood cookout.
  86. Fill someone's expired parking meter.
  87. After a party, do your host's dishes.
  88. Give your seat to a senior, pregnant mom, or parents with small children.
  89. Buy extra groceries to donate.
  90. Plant a tree.
  91. Send a card to the mailman.
  92. Share your lunch.
  93. Return someone else's cart.
  94. Organize and paint a mural on a blank wall in your neighborhood.
  95. Clean up a hiking trail.
  96. Give new crayons to a children's hospital.
  97. Donate toothbrushes to a local day care.
  98. Add in toothpaste, too.
  99. Send e-cards with encouraging messages to classmates.
  100. Give your nanny a day off (and let them pick the day!)
  101. Give your random acts of kindness ideas to a friend.
Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

Please enter a valid email address

Thanks for signing up!

We’ll see you back in your inbox.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

You may also like

How much should you pay for a babysitter?