Not too long ago I received a very special book in the post, 'The Story of The Kindness Elves'. It is a beautiful story about Sparkle and Pop, two elves who help children to spread kindness to people around them. From the minute we sat down my children were drawn into this magical story. The illustrations compliment the words perfectly and I had little fingers pointing out all the gorgeous details. From the houses in the clouds to the teddy in the attic, the colourful rainbows to the sad faces to the stars and the smiles and of course the Kindness Elves themselves. As we read the story we were able to talk about people's feeling and how it is nice to make others feel happy. My children are 1 and 3 years old and are a great age to start talking about kindness. Anna Ranson and Benjamin Byrne, the authors, have written a story that can be enjoyed by both younger and older children. While my children enjoyed the illustrations and the idea of making others happy, older children will be able to talk more deeply about experiences they have had and ideas they could do to spread acts of kindness.
In the story we learn that the Kindness Elves paint rainbows using paint made from special qualities and that together these special qualities help to make kind and caring hearts. We learn that rainbows are made up of compassion, kindness, love, joy, peace, gentleness and patience. I wanted to explore these attributes with my children so I decided to explore them individually while painting our own rainbows.
Slowly we used one colour at a time to build our rainbow, waiting for each layer to dry before painting the next. This helped in two ways, it stopped the colours mixing into one big messy brown painting (my children always end up finger painting!) and it also allowed us time to think about each attribute and do something special for it. We used little hints in the illustrations to decide which colours we would use for each special quality.
Red - Compassion
After reading the story the first time we started our rainbow paintings by using red for compassion. Mr 3 and I talked about how the sad people in the story felt and Miss 1 listened to us as she painted.
Orange - Joy
We painted the orange layer while listening to our favourite music. You can see Miss 1 mid-wiggle in the photo! They had huge smiles on their faces the whole time!
Yellow - Love
Before painting the yellow layer we looked at photos of people we loved and talked about who they were and why we loved them.
Green - Patience
For the green layer we had just one pot of paint and practiced patience by taking turns to paint with it. For Miss 1 and Mr 3 this really did take a lot of effort!
Blue - Peace
We brought the canvases inside for a peaceful atmosphere. Lowering the lights, listening to calming music and talking in whispers helped us to feel quite peaceful while we painted.
Purple - Gentleness
My children like to paint quite quickly, they enjoy fast hand movements through the paint and making dots by banging when they do use the brushes. For gentleness I put bells on their wrists and we talked about using gentle movements to make the soft sounds with the bells.
Pink - Kindness
We finished our rainbow paintings with kindness and just like the Kindness Elves we made a special potion to paint our final layer. We mixed strawberry essence and glitter into the paint to make it extra special.
With our rainbow paintings now finished we have two beautiful artworks to hang in the kid's bedroom. It will remind us all of 'The Story of the Kindness Elves' and the special qualities it takes to make a kind and caring heart. We can look at the paintings and remember the activities we did for each colour and what they mean. As we reread the book over and over again we can remember these feelings and put them into practice by starting our own acts of kindness for people around us.
If you are looking for the next story to add to your bookshelf that can be kept and treasured for a long time to come then this is it. I highly recommend this story book for parents, grandparents, carers and educators - the children in your life will simply adore it!
A huge thank you to Anna for sending us this book, Sparkle and Pop are going to play a very special part in my children's lives! Anna is the very clever writer behind The Imagination Tree and creator of The Kindness Elves. Click on The Kindness Elves link to find out more and how you can purchase the book.