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52 Random Acts of Kindness You Should Try

When it comes to paying it forward, there are thousands of simple ideas for making someone’s day! Whether it’s for a stranger, coworker, kids, or someone you love dearly, little acts of kindness can bring joy to those around you. Check out these random acts of kindness to get started!

1) Hold the Door

This is the old-school way to make someone’s day! Take an extra moment or two to hold the door for those around you while you’re out in public spaces.

2) Smile More

Man sitting on bench inside smiling. Photo by Instagram user @padmasoorya

Photo via @padmasoorya

When it comes to easy ways to pay it forward, smiling is about as basic as it gets. The truth is…you never know who needs that little show of kindness in their day!

3) Bring Food to Work

Red and white holiday donuts in box. Photo by Instagram user @carlsdonutslv

Photo via @carlsdonutslv

Everyone loves a food day at work! Be the one to surprise the office with bagels, cookies, fresh fruit, or some other tasty treat.

4) Pay for a Stranger’s Coffee

Pink to-go cup of coffee. Photo by Instagram user @rubiacafe

Photo via @rubiacafe

If you have a few dollars to spare in the morning, consider paying for someone’s coffee at your favorite go-to spot. You can do this whether you’re inside or in the drive-thru!

5) Let Someone Line Jump

People standing in line at grocery store. Photo by Instagram user @matchapunk

Photo via @matchapunk

Not in a hurry at the grocery store? Another way to give back to those around you is to let someone else go ahead of you in line. (This can be especially helpful for parents with fussy children!)

6) Be a Parking Meter Fairy

Parking tickets can quickly ruin someone’s day. If your city doesn’t have laws against it, use your extra quarters and feed the expiring meters on the block!

7) Donate Things You Rarely Use

Navy clothes and white linens folded on table. Photo by Instagram user @ecofriend.lia

Photo via @ecofriend.lia

Cleaning out your closet? Going through a decluttering phase? You can donate household items to all kinds of charitable organizations, as well as to local homeless shelters.

8) Make Coffee

Coffee in coffee pot on counter. Photo by Instagram user @mrcoffee

Photo via @mrcoffee

Do you get into the office early in the morning? Spread some kindness by making a fresh pot of coffee before everyone gets in!

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9) Thank a Service Member

One of the best ways to give back and bring some joy is to thank a veteran or an active duty service member. You can even send a personalized thank you email or letter!

10) Leave Coupons Behind

Pile of coupons on table. Photo by Instagram user @oisor_coupons

Photo via @oisor_coupons

If you have extra coupons you’re not using, pin them to a community board or leave them at the register. You never know who could benefit from these acts of kindness!

11) Write a Yelp Review

Yelp review about Phoenix Airport. Photo by Instagram user @yelp

Photo via @yelp

A classic way to pay it forward is to recognize great service at a restaurant or local business! Whether it’s an exceptional waitress or a store with great products, take a few minutes to publicly commend them.

12) Send Encouraging Texts

Text a friend or family member to say “Happy Monday,” or remind them why you love them! This can be a great random act of kindness idea for teenagers who love to text, too!

13) Welcome New Neighbors

Go above and beyond to a make a new family in your neighborhood feel welcome! In fact, we have a whole list of ideas for welcoming new neighbors that you can try!

14) Give a Coworker a Compliment

Thank you note and gift card on table. Photo by Instagram user @_bodybybabbs

Photo via @_bodybybabbs

Whether someone in the office went above and beyond on a project or simply has a great attitude everyday, tell them why you appreciate them!

15) Clean the Microwave

Black microwave with door open. Photo by Instagram user @fastklean

Photo via @fastklean

This may not be the most glamorous way to pay it forward, but it’s an easy way to improve the day-to-day atmosphere for those around you at home or at work.

16) Donate Blood

Woman and red shirt sitting with nurse donating blood. Photo by Instagram user @flcfalcons

Photo via @flcfalcons

Make an appointment to donate blood during a local blood drive with the American Red Cross! With just one donation, your blood can help save three lives. And you can do it multiple times a year!

17) Host a Lunch-N-Learn

Man standing in front of people giving presentation. Photo by Instagram user @the.skyfactory

Photo via @the.skyfactory

Help your coworkers learn something useful! This can add excitement to their day, and it helps people pick up new skills. (Bonus points if you provide food!)

18) Thank a Teacher

Giant cookie and cupcakes on wood cutting board. Photo by Instagram user @bigbakesbakery

Photo via @bigbakesbakery

Help your child write a thank you note to their favorite teacher, librarian, lunch lady, or janitor at their school to brighten someone’s day!

19) Run for a Cause

People wearing purple and holding paper flowers. Photo by Instagram user @cvillefit

Photo via @cvillefit

Whether you’re going solo or getting a group together, participating in a fundraiser run is a great way to give back. You don’t even have to be fast! In fact, most runs will allow you to walk, as long as you’re helping raise money for a good cause.

20) Help Someone Change a Tire

Woman changing tire on red car. Photo by Instagram user @bous_yoga

Photo via @bous_yoga

If you see someone with a flat tire on the side of the road, and you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere, consider stopping to help out. You can really save someone’s day!

21) Share Fun Stickers

Hand holding a sheet of stickers. Photo by Instagram user @sonunstickers

Photo via @sonunstickers

Looking for a random act of kindness idea for kids? Have your child take stickers to school and share them with everyone in class!

22) Write a Recommendation on LinkedIn

Tablet sitting on desk next to keys and cup of pens. Photo by Instagram user @glitterguide

Photo via @glitterguide

Do you have a coworker who does an exceptional job? Is there a business that you love to work with? Take the time to endorse them or write a review on LinkedIn!

23) Invite Someone to Lunch

If you have a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or there’s a new person who just started at your office, invite them out to lunch! (And if you want to go the extra mile with this random act of kindness, pick up the check!)

24) Organize a Day of Volunteering

Group of people picking up litter on sidewalk. Photo by Instagram user @samarasacenter

Photo via @samarasacenter

Give back to your community by organizing a group volunteer event! Plan a day where you and some friends can volunteer at a soup kitchen or participate in a local community cleanup.

25) Wash a Family Member’s Car

Whether it’s running it through an automated car wash or putting in the work yourself, this act of kindness saves the person you love time and reminds them that they matter to you!

26) Donate Books

Cleaning out your bookshelves at home? Why not donate your books to those in need? Hospitals, homeless shelters, after-school programs, and other organizations can always use gently-used books!

27) Say Hello in the Elevator

Two girls taking a picture in elevator. Photo by Instagram user @ruccci.gucci

Photo via @ruccci.gucci

This random act of kindness takes very little time and energy. Simply take the time to acknowledge the people sharing the elevator with you!

28) Mentor a Coworker

Man and woman sitting at table looking at notebook. Photo by Instagram user @weareahr

Photo via @weareahr

Have you been at your job for a while? Consider taking a new person at your office under your wing! You can share your knowledge and expertise to help them grow professionally.

29) Leave a Note in a Library Book

Hand holding book with paper note inside. Photo by Instagram user @scampneoroxy

Photo via @scampneoroxy

One simple act of kindness is to leave inspirational notes in library books! If you borrow books from your public library—or your children do from their school library—take a moment to tuck notes into books before returning them.

30) Help a Homeless Person

Woman giving homeless person food. Photo by Instagram user @ridockking

Photo via @ridockking

Show others how to be more compassionate by bringing food to a homeless person or stopping and asking how you can help them whenever you’re out in public.

31) Donate Lemonade Stand Money

Lemonade stands are a childhood staple! If your kids are running a lemonade stand, talk with them about donating some or all of the profits to a charitable organization.

32) Send a Funny Post on Social Media

Quote with yellow background that says I love you more than weekends. Photo by Instagram user @facebook

Photo via @facebook

One way to make someone’s day is to send them something funny on social media. It could be a GIF, a funny compliment card, or a video with a cute baby. Nevertheless, it’s an easy way to keep someone in your thoughts!

33) Visit a Nursing Home

Some of the best random acts of kindness center around spending quality time with others. If you have a few hours available, visit a nearby nursing home or retirement community to spend some time with seniors!

34) Start a Kindness Club

Work with your child and their school to organize a club dedicated to acts of kindness at school! (Check out this class of first grade students and see how they started a kind kids club.)

35) Donate Vacation Time

Family posing in front of castle at Disney World. Photo by Instagram user @sallyderogatis

Photo via @sallyderogatis

Maybe you have a coworker who hasn’t taken time off in a while. Or maybe you have a coworker who needs extra hours to handle a difficult situation. If you can, transfer your unused vacation days!

36) Chalk Inspiration

Rainbow chalk art on sidewalk that says be you. Photo by Instagram user @framinghamfpa

Photo via @framinghamfpa

Giving back doesn’t always have to be big. It can be something as small as filling your driveway and surrounding sidewalks with messages of encouragement!

37) Make Bird Feeders

Random acts of kindness aren’t just for people. Animals can use more kindness, too! Creating bird feeders is a great idea that can help your local wildlife.

38) Be the Neighborhood Dog Walker

Do your neighbors have dogs? Offer to take their pets for a walk to help them out! This can be particularly helpful if you have elderly neighbors who aren’t able to exercise their pets as much as they’d like.

39) Give High Fives

Dad and daughter high fiving. Photo by Instagram user @girlsrugbywa

Photo via @girlsrugbywa

Whether you’re walking down the street, ending a meeting, or at a children’s sports game, exchanging high fives is a simple act of kindness idea that’s sure to generate a lot of smiles!

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40) Thank Your Boss

Sometimes, the people in charge don’t hear good things enough. If your boss is doing a great job, let them know by writing them a thank you note.

41) Start a Little Free Library

Blue bird box filled with books. Photo by Instagram user @mrsboomreads

Photo via @mrsboomreads

Get the whole family or classroom together to build a tiny lending library. Don’t forget to register your Little Free Library when you’re finished!

42) Adopt a Pet

Girl holding blonde puppy. Photo by Instagram user @yeslouisville

Photo via @yeslouisville

If you have the space and the means, give the gift of a loving home to a pet in need. Adopting an animal can bring joy into your life and an animal’s life.

43) Surprise a Friend at Work

Hand holding two colorful cups of coffee. Photo by Instagram user @hitnrunbarista

Photo via @hitnrunbarista

Have a friend who’s been having a rough time lately? Stop by their office with coffee, lunch, or some flowers to brighten their day!

44) Leave Encouraging Notes

Do you prepare lunch for your partner or your kids? Tuck a nice note into their lunch bag to show them how much you care!

45) Mow Your Neighbor’s Lawn

Man mowing lawn. Photo by Instagram user @mowoxtools

Photo via @mowoxtools

Helping out with yard work is one of the original random acts of kindness. Whether it’s mowing the lawn or helping pick up leaves, these little things make a big difference!

46) Coach Your Kid’s Team

Love sports? Combine those skills with your dedication to giving back by coaching your child’s club sports team! (This is also a great opportunity to bond with your child and their friends.)

47) Give More Hugs

Two men hugging each other. Photo by Instagram user @owenshillco

Photo via @owenshillco

How many hugs do you give a day? Whatever the number, you can help the people in your life feel loved and supported by giving out more hugs!

48) Venmo a Friend

Blue coffee cup on plate. Photo by Instagram user @venmo

Photo via @venmo

If you have a few dollars to spare and want to pay it forward, send some cash to a friend with a note to treat themselves to a coffee or ice cream!

49) Call Your Grandparents

Or your aunt. Or the cousin you never see. Calling someone just to check in and see how they are is an easy act of kindness!

50) Write Notes on the Mirror

Mirror in bathroom with message saying start with a dream and courage. Photo by Instagram user @essgeez

Photo via @essgeez

Remind someone in your home that they look amazing or that they’re doing a great job by writing words of encouragement on their mirror.

51) Cook Something

Two women wearing aprons cooking. Photo by Instagram user @ljaydeeh

Photo via @ljaydeeh

Maybe it’s for your busy roommate. Maybe it’s for your spouse. Maybe it’s for visiting relatives. No matter who it’s for, cook a nice meal and spread some happiness!

52) Say “I Love You” More

Being kind doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. Simply reminding the people who matter how much you love them is an easy way to make someone’s day!

Remember that no matter how big or small, random acts of kindness help spread good in the world! Choose an idea on the list or make a calendar to help you stay accountable to paying it forward!