Good morning! Its a new day, and a new week of Art Camp! This week is going to be a bit different – we are exploring the theme of Kindness, and I thought long and hard about how to deliver a week of sessions on this topic! I mean, kindness is a huge subject, much bigger than the animal world, much bigger than the ocean, much bigger than ourselves… kindness affects everyone if given a chance, and one act of kindness can lead to so much more…
So, with such a huge and world changing topic, where on earth do we start on just a week long journey? Well, I have learned that when something is huge and overwhelming, the best thing to do is to break it down into small pieces and start from scratch… so that is what we are going to do…
I have simplified our format, slowed down the pace, and focused on meaningful and achievable activities that centre around spreading kindness.
Each day this week, I will simply direct you to this post, and ask you to choose one art-inspired act of kindness and carry it out to the best of your ability…
Of course, there will still be pockets of artist inspiration, short films, and some reading for you, but the week will be a slower, more meditative experience…
PS. There are more than 7 ideas here, so that there are enough for you to pick and choose from depending on your age, ability, resources, location and preferences. And, of course you don’t have to do them all this week; you can come back and be inspired to create to spread kindness at any time!
I have broken up 18 acts of kindness into 4 categories; The Gift of Giving, Self-Care, Love the Environment, and Kindness in the Community – which one will you do first?
The Gift of Giving
Giving gifts is probably one of the most straightforward ways of showing kindness. A thoughtful, homemade gift is full of love and friendship, and can really brighten someone’s day, especially if its a gift – just because – rather than for a birthday or Christmas… Think of a person, or people that you could give a random gift to… perhaps a neighbour, a good friend, someone in your family… what about your postie, or rubbish collection men? Is there someone in your community who also helps people out? How about a teacher, nurse, dog walker, mechanic, or someone else who has impacted your life? I’m sure you will be spoiled for choice…
Here are some art-inspired gift ideas that you can make to show kindness, gratitude and love to your chosen recipients!
Homemade gift cards are one of the easiest way to send someone some love and kindness. All you need is some paper and pens and you can create something lovely. Of course, you can get more creative and make all kinds of cards – have a google if you need some more ideas!
There are loads of ways to make homemade gift wrap – I love this printing on fabric, as its more environmentally friendly too – but if you click the post it will take you to lots of ideas, such as using balloons as ribbons, or reusing old maps and book pages! Take a look…
Kid Made Gifts that Are Actually Useful
I was going to compile a list of gifts that kids can make to give, but during my research I found this awesome post from Jackie at Happy Hooligans, and decided to just share this with you instead. It has some fabulous ideas in, I’m sure you will find something that your chosen recipients will love! Let me know what you decide to make.
Food is Love!
Baking and giving food is a wonderful way to spend kindness and love, but its not always possible with distance or other issues, so the next best thing, or perhaps even better, is to give recipes. You can make recipe cards, or a whole recipe book to give to someone. Write your favourite recipes in your best handwriting, or use a computer, then draw or paint illustrations, patters and pretty titles! If you want to make a whole book, a binder or a sketchbook is perfect.
Thank You Notes
A simple thank you card or note to someone you are grateful for goes such a long way. All you need is some paper or card and a pen – you don’t even need to draw pictures – try some fancy lettering or even calligraphy! Pop a meaningful message inside or on the back and send with a gift or just on it’s own.
Baking bread for someone is a lovely thing to do on its own, but how about making it even more special by baking some Focaccia Art? These are so pretty! You can make all kinds of pictures and patterns with different vegetables. Click the link for a recipe, and then have a go! I’d love to see anything you make!
Love the Environment
If there is one thing that needs kindness as much, if not more, than our fellow humans, it is our beloved planet, our environment, the flora and fauna that reside alongside us! Caring for our environment has never been more important, and if we all show it a little kindness, things will get better!
Here are a couple ideas for how you can help the environment by doing art and crafts!
Make a Bird House
Helping the environment can start small, and close to home. Making a bird house is a wonderful way to use your art, craft and design skills to assist the winged wildlife right outside your windows, in your garden!
You can get kits to make and then use your creativity to paint and decorate them, or you could have a go at making one from scratch! We have made bird houses from scrap wood, and from plastic flower pots!
Make Bird Feeders
A bird house or nesting box is useful, but a bird feeder is probably even more so, especially in the Winter months. There are many ways to make bird feeders, and here are some lovely ideas for you:
Aren’t these lovely? Click each image to take you to the post for the instructions. Or perhaps you could come up with your own idea?
Design and Decorate a Bug Hotel
I am sure most of you are familiar with bug hotels – you can make them with a bit of scrap wood, an old pallet, or some old furniture. Older children could design one to make from scratch, or you could even buy a kit and then paint and decorate it with all your crafty skills! Bug hotels are a sanctuary to all kinds of insects and spiders, and can even become home for a bee colony! This is a super way to show our wild friends some kindness.
Make Awareness Art
As part of our home education last term we were exploring ocean conservation, and the artist, Wadsworth Jarrell.
Jarrell used text in his art to help convey his messages of racial equality, black culture, and inspiration, alongside bright colours, patterns and textured paint, to create vibrant, empowering art!
Jake used these ideas and painted a picture called “Love the Ocean”, which he said highlighted the importance of caring for the ocean. Inside the heart the sea is bustling with love, whereas outside of the heart, which represents the sea being neglected and abused, there is nothing but rubbish and pollution.
There are many artists who are using their work to highlight problems with the environment, in fact there are so many I should really write a whole post on it!
In the meantime, you can make art that raises awareness of any environmental issue that you feel passionate about! Even painting a picture about a beautiful bird, animal or landscape helps to raise awareness of how important these things are and why we should look after them!
Self Care is vitally important for our well being, and showing kindness to ourselves is one of the best ways to provide self care! Being kind to ourselves means that we respond to our physical, mental and emotional needs, and simply do things that make us feel better, like having a warm bath, or watching a film to relax in the evening, or going for a long walk with your dog, or taking time to do your favourite pastime…
Here are a couple of ideas to show yourself kindness through creativity and art…
Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the best ways to show yourself some kindness. Writing three things you are grateful for at the end of each day can really help to improve your well being, make you happier, and encourage you to make positive changes!
Whilst the act of writing in your journal each day may not be art-based or creative, making your journal is, and of course you can design your front cover, and illustrate your pages!
Make Time for Art
Simply making time for art is an act of kindness towards yourself.
Making art is important! It can be a therapeutic process; it can help us to express stress, emotions and problems; it can be calming; and it can greatly help with our self esteem!
We have busy lives, lots of responsibilities, and lots of day to day chores, and lots of other things we like to do, but it is important to try and make time to be creative!
This idea rolls on from the previous one of making time for art! Mindful drawing has all of the benefits I wrote about above, and its a simple way to stay creative every day… you could even combine it with your gratitude journal!
Being mindful is all about being in the moment and focusing on exactly what you are doing; it can be extremely beneficial to our mental health and well being. Here are two really great posts on Mindful Drawing, which will give you more info!
Send a Hug
Sending a “hug” to someone is definitely a wonderful thing to do for that person, but it will also help you too! It is an artful way of making a connection with someone you love, that perhaps you can’t see at the moment, which I’m sure will make you feel better!
You could decorate the hands or hearts with your favourite things, or things your recipient loves!
Kindness in the Community
If the recent pandemic has shown us anything, it is how communities can pull together and show so much kindness towards each other. We have seen beautiful rainbows in windows to cheer people up, we have seen posters, cards, and performative acts to show our gratitude to the NHS (UK health service). Let’s look at some more ways to spread kindness in our communities!
Start a Kindness Club
A bit of creative thinking goes a long way, and when you mix it with a heart full of kindness, you get something very special indeed! Take a look at the two videos below to see how these two teachers have created wonderful Kindness Clubs at their schools…
You could start a kindness club too – perhaps when you back to school? Or how about in your village or town? You could even start one online with the help of your parents or carers?
Positive Post-It Notes
Giving people compliments is a wonderful way to spread kindness. Don’t you like it when someone says something nice about you?!
A great way to do this in your community is to write positive post-it notes, and stick them up in bus stops, doorways, post boxes, or anywhere else you can find! These random acts of kindness will make such a difference! Remember to write one for yourself too 🙂
Make posters to encourage other people to perform random acts of kindness! Use all you creative skills to make an eye catching, colourful and bold picture that inspires people! I know you can do it!
Sidewalk Chalk Art
This might just be one of my favourite ways to spread love, kindness and art throughout the world! It’s such a simple idea, but can spread such joy!
Whether you live in a small village, a town, city or somewhere else, chances are you have a pavement or sidewalk you can draw on with chalk!
You could also try this paint recipe from Hammer and Thread, if you don’t have any chalk at home!
I have seen people chalk the names of wild flowers that are growing on pavements, and draw little creatures with moss for hair on cracks on the driveway… little pockets of magic!
Whatever you decide to draw, keep on sprinkling your kindness wherever you go!