Spread a Little Sunshine

As you’re out and about, summer is a great time to share some random acts of kindness. Get inspired with these 25 ideas.

Random acts of kindness benefit the receiver, the giver, and even bystanders. Research has found that showing kindness has the power to make you happier and help you stay happy. But perhaps more surprising, a study conducted at the University of Virginia found that merely witnessing acts of kindness stirred a significant mood boost and increased the desire to perform good deeds. Here are some ways you can help spread joy to others this summer.

  1. Stop at a lemonade stand and buy a cup; then leave $5 so that the next group of people can have a cup for free. 
  2. Leave a bottle of sunscreen in the bathroom at the local pool, or some shampoo and soap at the shower in a campground. Label it with a “help yourself” note.
  3. Draw an inviting hopscotch grid on the blacktop at a park.
  4. Share a bounty of garden-fresh vegetables with a nursing home community. 
  5. Offer to pitch for a neighborhood game of kickball
  6. Pay for the car just behind you while driving through a tollbooth on the way to your vacation retreat.
  7. Leave a handful of pennies beside a wishing fountain.
  8. Treat someone without air-conditioning to free movie tickets.
  9. Share a Panera Bread® Flower Cookie with…anyone! 
  10. Tuck a gift card to your local ice cream parlor under the windshield wiper of a random car.
  11. Leave a bag of charcoal beside a grill at the park to inspire someone else’s barbecue.
  12. Mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor.
  13. Carry an extra umbrella to give to someone unprepared for a popup summer shower. 
  14. Pick up the litter at the beach or park.
  15. Cut out the cold-treat coupons in your local paper and leave them beside those items at your local grocery store.
  16. Bring fresh-picked flowers to your local hospital to share with patients.
  17. Make a CD filled with upbeat summer songs; give it to someone who needs a lift.
  18. Leave a simple scavenger hunt for a child to find at a park.
  19. Cut your long hair short and donate to Locks of Love.
  20. Look into gifting one of your vacation days to a coworker in need of a break.
  21. Leave a copy of a good book at a vacation rental home so the next guest might enjoy the read.
  22. Leave a few $1 bills near the bubble toys at the local dollar store.
  23. Offer a cold bottle of water or soda to the lifeguard, mail carrier, or construction worker baking in the sunshine.
  24. Let a few cars enter the line before you at that busy summertime event.
  25. Walk the dogs at a local animal shelter on a sunny day.