Kindness Activity for Kids Compli-Mats

Teaching our primary students about compliments is highly important in our classroom. Of course it's always easier to point out what we don't like...But, we have found we have to purposefully teach our first graders how to see the good in one another by pointing out what they do like. 
So, we came up with an idea to teach our kids how to pay compliments to their classmates.
Kindness activity for kids. Compli-Mats help kids see the good in one another.
Get it?
Compliments written on a 12x18 piece of construction paper, about the size of a place mat. 
Compliments + Place mat = Compli-Mats!
The kids eat it up. :)
We quickly printed a clip art heart onto a piece of paper and enlarged it on our copy  machine so it fit onto 12x18 inch construction paper. You could do the same, but honestly you could draw a heart, have them draw a heart, cut a heart, have them cut a heart, or just give them a piece of paper and call it a day.
Really, that's not the important part. What's next is the real deal. :)
This quote not only goes for teachers, it goes for friends too. It matters how we treat each other and it's important that children learn young how their words can make a positive or negative impact on those around them. We do a lot of things in our classroom, but MEAN is not one of them. 
Here's what we do about once a month, if not more...
Just depends if and when they need it. 
We have been known to Drop Everything and Read Compliment from time to time.
First, we brainstorm quickly up on our Promethean Board. We determine what a compliment even is.
We made up a silly chant..
A compliment...A compliment...What is a compliment?
 It's not a question. 
It's not a story. 
It's not all about myself. 
It's saying something from my heart, 
that's nice to someone else!
We didn't give them a ton of ideas because we truly wanted them to come up with their own. But, some of our kids need the print model and we need to provide the support. Upper grade kids may be good to go. 
Next, we send them to their own desks to start writing on their own Compli-Mats. First stop, compliment yourself. No, it's not all about themselves, but we chat about how loving yourself is important too. So, we ask them to write something about themselves that they really like. Plus, it gives us a quick assessment to see that they understand compliments before they begin. In other words, if someone writes "I like the beach." we can have a quick "Come back to the Compli-Mat Light" moment before the whole class gets "I like the beach." on their mats too.
Next, it's the teacher's turn! We keep them in their seats as we walk around, borrow their pencil and announce our compliment to them, then quickly jot it on their Compli-mat. "Colby thinks of others first." "Kelsey is a determined reader." Really, whatever comes to mind in the moment. It's from the heart. :)
Once they have seen a class full of compliment models from the teacher, we establish these Compli-Mat Movement Guidelines to be sure it isn't a free for all and mats are missed along the way. We highly suggest this with the younger students, just speaking from "free for all" experience. :) We have tables in our classroom, so they rotate table by table, walk around and write on each friend's mat, then all sit down at that table to let the teacher know they are ready to move on. You could hear a pin drop...They are so into it and that makes our hearts very happy. :)
Spelling is developmental...Just the way we like it. :)
Not because we need compliments or anything, but just because the kids beg to write on a mat for their teachers too, we leave one for ourselves out on our desk and call kids over to write on our Compli-Mats. The kids eat it up! 
Here's the BEST part!
Once we have made our way around the entire classroom, which probably only takes about 15 minutes nowadays, they end up back at their own table, with their own Compli-Mat. You should see them beam! We want them to read all their friends words, so we trick ask them to jazz up their Compli-Mat {insert jazz hands here}.
We set out markers, gel pens, colored pencils...Really whatever we've got and feel like setting out that day. If we have extra time, we let them sit with partners and read their Compli-Mats too. Then, they take them home to share with their families, which has gotten us teachers a few compliments from parents too.
Looking for a way to help your kids see the good in one another? 
Try throwing a Compli-Mat their way. You just may get compliments on what a caring teacher you are to be teaching kids how to care too.

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Compli-Mats Kindness Activity for Kids for free.
Kindness activity for kids. Compli-mats help kids see the good in one another.
Fluttering Through First Grade


  1. Oh my gosh, ladies!! What an adorable idea. I'm sure your little firsties love this! You guys are the best at coining cute words like 'Complimat'. :)

    Second Grade Sparkle

  2. How precious are these?? We need these right now in my classroom! Winter-Spring fever, you know...
    Peace, Love, and First Grade

  3. Love this idea! I'm not sure how well my 6th graders would do with this one, but I could have them do this anonymously (gotta look "cool" you know!) and then I could compile them so they could see what their classmates really think. Great idea! I'm pinning this now! Thanks!!

  4. What a great idea! I think I know what we are doing next week before we head off to Spring Break!

    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  5. I love doing this towards the end of the year and using the compliments to make a Wordle for each student :) It's so fun to see the different compliments they come up with!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  6. My JAZZ HANDS are ready! So doing this! What a great way to offset all the arguing that is happening in my room this year!

  7. We just finished up a writing activity with 'bucket fillers'....this will make the perfect follow up. Thanks for sharing this amazing idea! =)

    A+ Firsties

  8. You girls are adorable...I love how you foster love and compliments into your class important for our kiddos. Thank you for sharing such awesomeness ladies.
    Teaching and Much Moore

  9. I LOVE this so much! Thank you for the blog post about it!

    Common Core Galore and More

  10. I did something very similar with my 3rd graders last Friday! I just wrote each student's name on a piece of white paper. We brainstormed together positive words to describe our classmates. They came up with a great list. They started at their desk and rotated almost completely around the room. They went back to their desks with smiling faces as they read what their classmates wrote. I was just giddy until a student came up to me and showed me her paper. Someone wrote "lazy" on her paper. It didn't take long to determine who it was. HMPH! Just a little fair warning if you're doing this with older students...
    The Journey of a Beginning Teacher

  11. Thank you for sharing this great idea! I am going to try this this week!
    Stories and Songs in Second

  12. Love these ideas to integrate into my character counts lessons!

    Thanks for sharing!


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