The Kindness Elves come with their own little house, which includes a working mailbox. This feature has been put to marvellously creative use by both teachers and parents, and we’d like to share some of those ideas with you. If you have other thoughts for how to make the best use of the Kindness Elves mailbox, be sure to share them with us as we are always very happy to hear from you.
1. Leaving suggestions for the elves
The mailbox provides a means for children to share their own ideas for small acts of kindness. The Elves, of course, bring the children a whole host of suggestions, but it’s always wonderful to see what the little ones come up with on their own. For older children, writing the notes is an opportunity to practice basic literacy skills, while the younger ones can draw pictures of what they’d like to do to help someone else.
Asking your children to leave a note for the Elves is also a way of assessing which activities they’ve really enjoyed. If the children keep suggesting that they visit an elderly relative or pick up litter in the park, you’ll know where to focus your energy to keep them engaged.
2. Reporting in on acts of kindness
Children take a special pride in their kindness missions, and most want to let the Elves know what they’ve accomplished that day. The mailbox is a means for children to report in, and is an excellent way of having them reflect on what their actions meant to someone else.
Again, reporting in also gives parents and teachers some valuable feedback. The notes can give you a better understanding of what the children are taking away from the activity than simply asking them if they had fun doing it.
3. Expanding the kindness community
Your children may also have their own ideas about who or what they’d like to help with their Acts of Kindness. They may have a concern for another person or cause you may not have considered. Having them make a list of people or charities they’d like to help gives them additional motivation when the person or cause is later raised in a kindness suggestion from the Elves.
If you ask children to explain to the Elves why they’ve chosen a particular person or subject, it helps to consolidate their thoughts and builds their commitment to helping out.
4. Asking questions about kindness
The mailbox can also be used as an intermediary for children to ask questions about the importance of kindness, or why following one of the Elves’ suggestions will actually help someone. The connection between the activity and an expression of caring may not be immediately evident to a child. Engaging in a dialogue with the Elves makes fulfilling the proposed Act of Kindness less like “following orders” and more of an idea they have questioned, understood, and accepted.
5. Build the habit of personal correspondence
Letter writing has become a bit of a dinosaur in an age of email and social media, and the Kindness Elves provide an opportunity to revive an important skill. Writing to the Elves fosters the importance of maintaining personal communications with friends and family, and the satisfaction that goes with occasionally putting pen to paper.
Your children may also want to send poems and drawings to the Elves – anything that allows them to express their feelings about their kindness projects.
You’ll be surprised, and delighted, by the results.