Kindness Demonstration: The Ripple Effect School Counseling Activity

It’s not breaking news that bullying is an issue in schools (and the workplace, on the internet, etc.). Counselors everywhere are in the trenches, teaching skills and leading programs that will prevent this behavior so that all students have the opportunity to feel safe and valued in the school environment. To do this, school counselors are directly teaching kindness. Instead of telling students what not to do, counselors are giving them the skills to be kind, empathetic, caring individuals. This kindness demonstration is another activity to add to your toolbox to give students a visual representation of the ripple effect of kind acts!
 

Materials

  • Clear bowl filled with water
  • Food coloring

Kindness Demonstration

Have students gather around a table. Place the bowl of water in the center, and give 4-5 students small bottles of food coloring (they should all have the same color). Explain to the students the the bowl represents the classroom or school community. Ask one students to lightly squeeze 1 drop of food coloring into the water.

Explain that one drop of color represents one kind act. Ask students to look at the food coloring and make inferences about how one kind act affects the school community. The blue drop pretty much stays in one place but it does spread a little bit to the water right around the drop. Ask another student to add a drop on the edge of the blue water from the first drop. Ask students to notice what’s happening with the water now that the second drop has been added. Continue adding one drop at a time on the edge of the blue water.

Discussion

  • What happened when we had just one kind act in the class?
  • What happened each time there was another kind act?
  • What does this food coloring and water demonstration tell you about our class and school community?

Summary

One kind act, or drop of blue, spread to the water right around it. When one person shows kindness, it spreads to the people around him. When those people experience kindness, they spread kindness to others, just like adding another drop of blue to the water. As each person experiences kindness and then in turn shows kindness to others, there’s a ripple effect. This is just like when the drop of blue hit the water and there were ripples in the water, spreading the color to the water close by. Kindness spreads in the same way. As we experience kindness, we want to show others kindness. Then those people want to show others kindness, and the kindness spreads like a ripple through the water!

For an activity and craft to accompany the demonstration, check out this lesson. You’ll also love these other great kindness initiatives from some amazing school counselors who shared their ideas with me!

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