Friends, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that no matter where in the world you live, what we’re all experiencing right now is unprecedented in our lifetime. Never in a million years did I imagine there would be a day when all non-essential businesses in my state would be closed and my kids would be learning from home indefinitely. I never foresaw a day when I wouldn’t be able to go sit in Starbucks with my mom and chat or stop in and eat lunch with a friend at a local restaurant. I certainly never imagined a time when I would go to the grocery store unsure if I’d be able to find what our family needed, or that I’d be limited on the amount of butter, milk, and meat I could purchase. Not to mention the toilet paper… Perhaps we should have seen this coming, but I for one did not. Now we find ourselves suddenly confined to our homes with no definite end in sight, and it’s starting to take a toll. Mentally, I’m exhausted. Physically, I’m afraid I’m on track to gain the “quarantine 15,” especially if Little Crafter keeps baking like he has been the past two weeks. But, the good news is that none of us are in this alone. Even if we have to stay at least 6 feet apart, we can still use creativity to spread kindness, hope, and love. Here are five very simple things you and your family can do to shine a little light in the darkness we’re facing. Whether you choose one or do all five, know that no act of kindness is ever wasted.
DECORATE WITH SIDEWALK CHALK
One thing most of us are still allowed to do is take short walks around our neighborhood. Why not brighten up the path with sidewalk chalk?
(Photo and art by Tiffany Burian)
Decorate the area around your home with encouraging messages, cheerful pictures, or colorful patterns. Even the tiniest of hands can help!
If you run out of space on your own sidewalk, leave a little cheer in front of someone else’s home or in a public area while you’re out walking. An art teacher friend of mine, Kristen Forman, and her kids recently left 21 rainbows for their neighbors to find. What a great surprise!
CREATE A WINDOW ART GALLERY
Create any kind of masterpiece and display it in your window, facing outward. Tape drawings and paintings in place, or draw/paint directly on the windows to create beautiful, colorful works of art. Then, neighbors who walk or drive by will be able to enjoy them!
If it’s a sunny day, you can even display some of your favorite pieces outside on a board or easel so passers-by can get a closer look. You can certainly do this all on your own, but it’s even more fun if you’re able to spread the word around the neighborhood and get others to participate too! If you have a community Facebook page, see if you can coordinate a date for hanging up your artwork so that the area becomes a virtual art gallery for everyone to walk around (separately, 6 feet apart) and enjoy!
(Photo Credit: Annie Wagner)
GOING ON A BEAR HUNT
Communities all over the country are joining in the fun by placing teddy bears in the windows of their homes for kids to spot as they drive or walk by. Our family took a walk through our neighborhood last night and all four of us enjoyed looking for and pointing out the bears we saw. One person even put their bear out on the roof! (That was our fave.)
It’s super easy to do, just choose a bear or even a different kind of stuffed animal if it’s all you have on hand, and display it in a window where it can be seen. If your neighborhood has a website, newsletter, or Facebook group, see if you can get other neighbors to participate too. In our neighborhood group, folks who played along were posting comments about the street they live on so that we knew what direction to head on our walk to find the most bears possible. Check out the hashtag #goingonabearhunt for more about this movement.
For a few years now, painting on rocks has been a popular trend. Making them brightly colored and often with encouraging messages, then hiding them for others to find has become a fun and creative way to spread kindness, even in normal circumstances. Now, more than ever, finding a kindness rock is sure to be a bright spot in someone’s day. Painted rocks are simple to create, just start with non-coated rocks and use acrylic or multi-surface paint to coat them with colors, then use small brushes or paint markers to add detail.
Kids of all ages can participate, and they will love hiding the finished rocks in spots all over the neighborhood.
Check out and use the hashtag #kindnessrocks for more inspiration.
SEND A CARD
Right now is a great time to send encouraging personal messages to family and friends. Older relatives, friends who live alone, and those who are celebrating birthdays during this time are great examples of people who would probably love to receive a card letting them know you’re thinking about them. Also, consider sending cards to thank those you know in the medical field and other essential services who are working hard on the front lines of this crisis. One option is to create your own cards and mail them. (Check out my tutorial here for making Insert Cards with the Cricut Joy.) I do suggest that you don’t lick the envelope, just use a damp paper towel to seal it instead.
Another option is to use a service like Ink Cards to create and send a photo postcard directly to your recipients. I recently did this to send “miss you” cards to my parents, in-laws, and grandmas. It’s a simple way to connect and send encouragement to those who need it most.
However you choose to share kindness, remember that it really does matter. The littlest of things you do can go a long way to encourage and bring hope to someone else. We’re all in this together. I’d love to hear about what you’re doing in your home and neighborhood to share kindness and hope in the midst of this pandemic. Share your photos and stories in the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook group so we can all be inspired!