We all want our kids to grow up to be kind, empathetic people who naturally spread acts of kindness to others. Of course, we do. But how? How do we get them to that point?
With two young girls who are just beginning to explore the meaning of true friendship, I spend a lot of time chatting about the characteristics of a good friend and how our actions impact others. If you are a parent or teacher, then you know kids need a lot of good role models when it comes to doing the right thing even when it’s hard. And you probably know well that kids need a lot of practice spreading kindness in order for it to become an everyday habit for them. Planning acts of kindness together can be a great way to start this habit with kids.
I also find that combining our character lessons with something the girls are already very enthusiastic about helps drive the message home even more. That’s why I was ecstatic to find out about the newest line of characters from American Girl®: The WellieWishers™. The WellieWishers are a sweet and silly group of girls who all have the same big, bright wish: to be a good friend by showing acts of kindness to others. American Girl sent us our very own Camille and Willa dolls so that we could share in this sponsored post how we’re using the WellieWishers to learn about kindness and spread it to others.
I knew my girls were going to love the WellieWishers, but there’s no way I could have anticipated the squeals of delight that came from them as they opened the box containing their new friends. They had no idea what they were opening, and it’s was one of those magical moments of pure joy that I know we’ll all remember for years to come.
The individual WellieWishers are absolutely adorable, and each of the five characters has special passions and talents that young girls can identify with. In fact many girls will find something to identify with in all of them. My five-year-old was immediately drawn to animal-loving Willa. That’s her above showing off matching eyes with her new buddy. My seven-year-old bonded with Camille, and quickly added all the other WellieWishers to her own personal wish list. But getting to know our WellieWishers was just the beginning of the fun. Then we started learning about them and what they stand for, and we came up with some ways to use them as inspiration for extending kindness to others.
How We’re Using The WellieWishers to Spread Kindness
In addition to the WellieWishers dolls, the line also comes with books, an app, and an animated series that all make great tools for teaching the overall message of kindness. We’ll be getting some of the books soon to read together, and we can’t wait to see the series.
The WellieWishers themselves also serve as a great concrete reminder for kids. We’ve decided that each time the girls play with the dolls they are going to try to do an act of kindness. At first I wasn’t sure if they would feel like this is a chore, but the opposite has been true. They will each randomly pick up their WellieWisher and begin to play. Then, before I know it they head off to do something kind around the house. It’s sweet and genuine, and I absolutely love it.
Since sibling squabbles can be a struggle in our home, I really like seeing how much the girls have been inspired to do more acts of kindness toward one another. They are inviting one another to join in games more often. They’re sharing encouraging words where once there was a more competitive tone to their conversations. They’re helping one another with chores. We’ve still got a long way to go in the learning process, but I’m excited about how our WellieWishers have given us some great momentum.
The girls also love to take their WellieWishers out and about with us, so we’re taking our acts of kindness on the road too. As the girls carry their dolls around, they are reminded of our goal of doing at least one act of kindness while we are out. They rush to hold doors for people, pick up a person’s dropped object, help put someone’s grocery cart back and more.
Free Acts of Kindness Bingo Printable for Home and School
We’ve been having so much fun, that I decided to make a printable acts of kindness bingo set to help them come up with ideas and record some of the acts of kindness they are doing. We created two sets, one is for acts of kindness they do at school and the other is for acts of kindness they do at home.
They can’t take their dolls with them to school, but we are keeping their acts of kindness bingo sheets with their WellieWishers while they are off at school spreading kindness. Then they cross off any acts of kindness when they get home in the afternoon.
At home I decided to focus mainly on acts of kindness toward siblings, as sometimes that is an area where we struggle. 😉 You’ll find ideas like “invite your sibling to play a game with you” and “leave a nice note for your sibling to find.” There are also acts of kindness for parents and things to do to help around the home.
We also included a create your own acts of kindness board so that families who want to come up with their own ideas can do just that.
Learn More about The WellieWishers
Visit The WellieWishers page for kids to learn more. There you can meet each of the girls, link to the free WellieWishers app, and download excerpts from some of the books. On the site you can also see clips from the animated series featuring The WellieWishers…yay for age appropriate shows that teach good character!
What are some ways you would use The WellieWishers with your kids to teach about kindness and empathy?