Bucket Filler Activities
Bucket filler activities are the perfect addition to any K-2 classroom to transform the environment. A bucket filling classroom is one where students work together and care. It’s a place where kindness is the norm. These 7 Bucket Filler Activities are low prep and easy to implement right away.
The bucket filling concept comes from some popular books by Carol McCloud. The books teach children that people have an invisible “bucket” over their heads that they carry with them at all times. When people are kind or helpful to us, they fill our bucket, but when they say or do unkind things, they dip from our bucket. The books do a great job of explaining the concept in a way that kids can understand! Click on any of the images below to check out the books.
Activities to Introduce Bucket Filling
1. After reading one or more of the books about Bucket Filling, I like to introduce the story of Maizy and the Bucket Fillers to my students. This is a Powerpoint presentation that includes a story I wrote about a new little girl who enters a calm, kind classroom and, well….things quickly change. The children love this story and it really illustrates the importance of having a bucket filling classroom. It also shows the children that you can always make better choices if you make up your mind to.
I also like to print out a copy of the book and laminate it.
I put it in the reading center, and the children love to revisit the story of Maizy. It’s a continual reminder of Bucket Filling and why it’s important.
2. Another Bucket Filler activity we do is to make an anchor chart to display in the classroom. The key is to build the chart with the students…don’t make it by yourself! Set it up first by making one side “Bucket Fillers” and one side “Bucket Dippers”. Then pull one character trait or behavior out at a time, read it with the children, and have them decide if that describes bucket fillers or bucket dippers.
I like to hang this anchor chart on a bulletin board in the classroom so it serves as reference all year along.
It also makes a pretty cute display if you ask me! *wink*
3. A sorting activity lets children really think about specific character traits and behaviors. This can be done small group or with the whole class. Add labels to actual buckets for this bucket filler activity. You can also leave the buckets out somewhere in the classroom for children to add more examples to as they think of them.
MORE Bucket Filler Activities for the Classroom
4. One of the most helpful bucket filler activities you can do in your classroom is to discuss specific scenarios. Present the children with several real-life, relatable scenarios, and let them tell what a Bucket Filler would do and what a Bucket Dipper would do. These scenarios can even be acted out. Let the children show how a filler or dipper would respond in each situation.
It’s always amazing to hear the children’s thinking on this activity. Their compassion and insight often extend well beyond their age!
I like to spread these out over a few weeks so we keep a running Bucket Filler dialogue going in the class. They are the perfect quick activity for circle time or morning meeting.
5. Work together as class to build a bucket filling community. Print out a hundreds chart and challenge your class to a kindness campaign. Each time you notice an act of kindness in the classroom, add a star sticker to the chart. When you fill up the entire chart, have a celebration. I’ve found that ice cream sundae parties are a class favorite!
6. Crafts are always a fun way to engage students in whatever you’re learning about. This bucket craft is colorful and cute, and it has an important purpose. Inside, students write about how they will be a bucket filler. I love hearing all the ways they plan to create a classroom community of kindness.
7. Finally, celebrate success with your students. Presenting awards and sending positive notes home is one of my favorite classroom Bucket Filler activities. I also love using punch cards. You can print them on colorful paper and let students use a hole punch to celebrate whenever they fill a bucket.
The materials in this post can be found in my Bucket Filling Classroom Toolkit. If you’re interested in checking it out, click on the image below.
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