Random Acts of Kindness (40 Easy Ideas)

Someone is doing a random act of kindness by putting a nice note in someone's locker

Often we underestimate the effect that one small act of kindness can have on someone else. Something as simple as paying for a stranger’s coffee, holding the door open for someone, or even smiling at someone else can change the entire trajectory of someone’s entire day. 

That’s why I compiled a list of 40 random acts of kindness ideas that you can start doing today

40 random acts of kindness ideas 

Random acts of kindness for the community

1) Donate blood 

While not everyone is in the position to be able to donate extra belongings or money to good causes, almost everyone is able to donate blood. Not only will you be helping someone in need, but you could be saving a life. The process doesn’t take long and lots of times you even get a free snack after. 

2) Volunteer your time at a nursing home 

The number of elderly people in nursing homes that don’t get anyone coming to visit them is a lot higher than you would think (and will break your heart). They can always use more volunteers to simply keep them company and visit with them, and they often have amazing stories and lessons to tell. It is an extremely rewarding experience and I can guarantee that you will end up getting more out of it than they will.  

3) Donate food to the food bank 

Do you have a pantry full of nonperishable items that you probably aren’t going to use? Many of us buy extra things that we aren’t going to eat, or we didn’t realize that someone in our house doesn’t even like them, or maybe we selected the wrong item and didn’t notice. 

Whatever the reason instead of leaving those items in your kitchen to eventually expire and get thrown out, donate them to a food bank.  

Here is a list of non-perishable food items that most food banks accept if you aren’t sure what to donate. 

4) Shovel snow or mow the lawn for a neighbor 

Do you have wonderful neighbors? Show them you care and make them smile by shoveling their sidewalks or driveway when you do yours. Or if it is summer you could mow their lawn when you mow yours.  

5) Donate money to a great cause 

If you have the means, donating money to something that means a lot to you is a wonderful idea. It is a great way to give back to the community. 

I like to donate to our local animal rescues.  

6) Donate items to a donation center or homeless shelter 

Do you have a bunch of toiletries laying around that you probably aren’t going to use? Or did you notice a sale on some of these things at your store that you could pick up?  

Homeless shelters and donation centers are always looking for items like socks, blankets, first aid kits, toiletries, dental hygiene products, women’s hygiene products, diapers, etc.  

It can be a good idea to also phone them to find out exactly which item they are running out of first.  

7) Pick up litter 

Depending on where you live, some places have a large problem with litter. It could be tons of litter after the snow melts, litter on the beach or in the ocean, or in fields that you walk your dog through. Wherever you notice litter, picking it up is a small way to do something kind for the planet. 

8) Donate books to the library  

I always have way too many books in my collection. I like to donate the ones I am done reading to worthy causes that are looking for book donations.  

9) Leave a random gift for the mailman/ deliveryman 

Deliverymen and women don’t get enough credit. They are behind the scenes ensuring that everyone gets their packages, but people don’t often think of them, or thank them. Leaving a thoughtful gift or treat for them, especially during the busy seasons like Christmas, is such a thoughtful gesture.  

Someone is picking up trash as an act of kindness

Random acts of kindness for kids to do

1) Surprise a teacher with a gift 

Teachers are so underappreciated. You can make the day of a teacher by bringing them an unexpected and thoughtful gift to show them how grateful you are for them.  

2) Include a classmate who is alone

From being alone on the playground to eating lunch alone, if you see someone by themselves and they look lonely, extending an invitation to spend time with you is an extremely kind thing to do.  

3) Bring treats to school 

Bringing treats to share with the class (and teacher) is an easy thing to do, but a kind gesture. Just be sure to note any dietary restrictions.

4) Leave positive notes on everyone’s desks or in their lockers

There is so much negativity out there, especially at school. Everyone is often self-conscious, so leaving positive notes and compliments for everyone can be such a kind gesture and make a huge impact on them.

Random acts of kindness for coworkers

1) Leave a nice note on your co-worker’s desk 

Leaving a cute, funny, or sweet note for a coworker to read can make such a positive difference for them, especially if they are going through a hard day. 

2) Bring in treats to work 

Little treats can be a nice way to let your coworkers know that you appreciate them and enjoy working with them. They are basically your work family, and sometimes you spend more time with them than you do your own family.  

3) Give them cute stickers

This one might sound silly, but at one of my jobs, we were extremely unappreciated. So what I would do is every time I thought one of my co-workers did something great, I would give them a cute, sparkly, smiley face sticker.

It wasn’t much, but it at least made them smile.

4) Help a co-worker out

From a difficult task to a heavy workload that they can’t complete that day, a little bit of help can go a long way when it comes to workplace stress.

Random acts of kindness for strangers 

1) Hold the door open for someone else 

While holding the door open for someone else is just good manners, many people have gotten out of the habit.  

Something so small can instantly make someone’s day better. 

2) Buy someone else’s coffee for them 

On your morning coffee run pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line. It’s a great way to treat a stranger and brighten their day, and sometimes it even leads to chains of people buying coffee for the person behind them. Spreading kindness doesn’t have to be expensive. And doesn’t coffee taste better when it is free anyways? 

3) Pay for someone else’s meal at a restaurant  

My husband and I try to do this as often as we can. Every so often on a date night, we will pick someone out at the restaurant we are eating at, and pay for their entire meal.  

Not only will this surprise make them smile, but it can often make their entire day. It is so nice doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return and you have no idea what someone else could be going through at the time. 

4) Make a nice comment on a blog, social media post, or video 

Did you watch a video or read an article that you enjoyed? Let the person that created it know that you liked it. There is so much creating being done on the internet that it can be easy to forget that there are actually people behind the content that you consume online. 

5) Give someone who is lost directions 

I’m sure many of us have seen someone that we think looks lost, or like they might not be sure about where they are going. Taking a few moments to stop and help them is an extremely thoughtful and much-appreciated small gesture. If they aren’t from your town you could even give them your recommendations on things they need to see or try. 

6) Take a picture for someone 

Have you ever been somewhere and someone else asks you if you can take a picture for them? Well if you see someone struggling to get a cute picture, ask if you can help. You will help them capture a special memory, and they might even associate that memory with the nice stranger who helped them.  

7) Plug the parking meter for someone 

If you notice that someone’s parking meter is about to expire and they are nowhere around, putting some extra change into their meter for them so that they don’t get a parking ticket is such a nice and unexpected thing to do. 

8) Return someone’s cart to the supermarket for them 

On our way into the supermarket, my husband and I will often offer to take the empty cart from someone that is finishing loading their groceries into their car. It takes no effort from us because we usually need a cart anyways, and it prevents someone else from having to take the time to do it.  

9) Smile at a stranger

It might seem like such a small gesture, but smiling at a gesture can completely brighten someone else’s day.

The other day I was very busy, and rushing around trying to get everything I needed to get done in a limited time. I most likely looked angry or upset, because I was so focused, but this woman I walked past made eye contact with me and gave me a huge smile, and it was like an instant little bubble of happiness.

Someone is at a coffee shop buying coffee as an act of kindness

Random acts of kindness for family  

1) Call and check on a family member 

Take the time out of your day to check up on a family member that you haven’t heard from in a while. Maybe you know one of them is having a hard time lately or is going through something. Checking on them can mean a lot to someone who really needs to know that someone cares. 

2) Cook dinner for your family 

Some people might be reading this and thinking, “I do this every day.” But if cooking dinner isn’t a part of your daily routine, then making the extra effort to cook dinner when your partner is having a rough day, or even doing chores or cleaning the house when it isn’t your turn can help to lighten the load on their shoulders and show them you really care. 

3) Buy your cat or dog a special treat 

I like to surprise my dogs once in a while and come home with a special treat. It could be anything from a new kind of dog treat, to a new chew toy, or an enrichment activity. Nothing is cuter than seeing your furry friend super excited about something you brought home. 

4) Take your parents out on a date 

Surprising my parents by taking them out for the day to spend the entire day together doing fun things is something else I love to do. From dinner and a movie to shopping, or local events, whatever I know that my parents are interested in is often what we do. In fact, I often do things like this instead of giving gifts too, because I know that experiences and making memories together mean a lot more to them than gifts do. 

5) Put your electronics away when spending time together 

How many times have you been trying to have a conversation with someone in your family, but they are too busy looking at their phone to really pay attention to you? 

Show your family how much you care about them by giving them your undivided attention and having a short digital detox

Random acts of kindness for friends 

1) Share a positive post on social media 

There can be so much negativity out there on social media lately. This can be exhausting and detrimental to our moods and our mental health. Sharing something positive, like a funny video, a cute meme, or a positive quote can help to brighten your friend’s day. 

2) Write a friend a kind letter 

In the days of social media, sending someone a letter on stationary is such a cute surprise. You could mail it to them or drop it off in their mailbox. Listing everything you love about them and telling them how grateful you are to have them in your life can make them so happy.  

I had a friend do this for me a while ago, and it didn’t just make my day, it made my entire week. Everyone loves to feel appreciated, and it made me feel really good.  

3) Share something that means a lot to a friend online 

From a friend’s small business, project, or anything they have accomplished, sharing it online can be a small way to show them how much you care about them and can brighten their day.  

4) Babysit for free 

Do you have friends that have children? Let them have a night out and offer to watch their kids for them for free. This is especially true for first-time parents who may be struggling. A night away can really make all the difference to them.  

5) Help a friend move 

Moving sucks! Helping a friend move can make the process so much easier and faster on them. They might need help with packing, moving, and unpacking. Find out where you would be the most useful! 

6) Make a self-care gift basket for them 

If you know someone that is having a hard time, dropping off a self-care gift basket can make all the difference in the world to them.  

It is such a kind thing to do, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find great self-care items for cheap.  

Random acts of kindness for small businesses  

1) Leave a glowing review online for a business 

The pandemic was extremely difficult for many businesses all over the world. Leaving a positive review when you receive delicious food, good customer service, or a great product is a great way to highlight a business that deserves the attention and you would be surprised how much a positive review means to entrepreneurs.  

I always make sure that I leave positive reviews whenever I can. It is something that takes next to no time and can help make such a positive impact on someone else. 

2) Give a customer service worker a compliment 

I try to do this all the time, but if I notice something complimentary about someone that is providing me with good customer service, I will tell them. It could be anything from “Thank you for taking the extra time to make sure I had ketchup.” to “Wow you remembered all of that in the order and got it perfect. Thank you.” to “I like your hair.”  

I know from personal experience that people working in customer service positions are more used to dealing with grumpy and rude customers than nice ones. A little compliment from someone can turn their entire day around. 

3) Support a new local business 

Trying out a new local restaurant or shopping at a new boutique over going to a non-locally owned franchise not only is wonderful for the business owner, but it helps to support your entire community.  

Conclusion

Has anyone done any of these small acts of kindness for you? Are there any that are missing from the list? Feel free to share this post on social media or with anyone else to inspire them to be kind!

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