Encouraging random acts of kindness among kids

Nicole Jakob, a North Shore area mom, was inspired by two things: a love of art and a loathing of participation trophies. In an era ripe with humble-bragging and social media ‘Likes,’ she set out to promote something different: anonymous altruism.

“I wanted to encourage kids to do something kind when no one was watching them, when they would not be recognized for it,” Jakob professed. “That being said, if you’re going to sell kids on it, I knew that it had to be fun or they wouldn’t do it. So I kept in mind that it had to be edgy and engaging.”

Three years of research birthed a solution: Renegade Made Craft Kits. The craft kit goal is making people happy and teaching kindness without the promise of reward or recognition–and that doing so is actually crazy fun. All kits include a black renegade bandit mask so that kids can get kind under a sneaky veil of anonymity.

Kit themes include:

Random Acts of Flowers

Bouquets bring out the best smiles, right? Find out firsthand as you assemble your own paper flower bouquet to be placed in public for the taking. Bonus: Each bloom explains the free floral gift and encourages the recipient to pass the positivity around by creating their own kind gestures.

Fairly Painless Tattoo Lounge for Charity

Forget the days of slinging lemonade. This kit takes things to a cute, creative level with a mini tattoo parlor that raises funds for a charitable organization of your choosing. Use the mini megaphone, kitschy table cloth and giant ad poster to reel in those customers. Bonus: these 125 temporary tattoos yield no pain, only pleasant grins.

Sidewalk Chalk Tagging Kit

The goal: to see smiles from those strolling the sidewalk. Mix up chalk paint and use stencils to leave clever messages like ‘Make Art, Not Your Bed’ or ‘The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things.’ Bonus: This graffiti easily washes away in the rain so encourage your kiddos to really paint the town!

Made You Look Kit

Sometimes we all just need a second glance to get a chuckle. This kit aims for hilarity with Zombie To-Do lists, funny fortunes and even a mustache sticker dispensary that will give you a double-take. Bonus: the postcard pack featuring sweet messages can be sent to those who need a perfectly kind pick-me-up.

Though Jakob’s Renegade Made kits are aimed at ages 8 and up, she stresses the importance of practicing kindness at any age, even for mini-renegades in the making. Her website features a free printable list noting random acts of kindness fit for any person (of any age) who just wants to spread the nice-ness around.

“As a parent, we all have a sense of pride if our kid excels but in the end your greatest wish is that they are kind. This seems especially important as we see the terrible effects on kids who have been bullied or feel disenfranchised,” Jakob explains. “This is my entire motivation … to try to make everyone feel that they’re important and worth the effort.”

Practicing what they preach is key for Renegade Made, who donate portions of purchases to charities, including Camp Kesem (a community that supports children whose parents are undergoing cancer) and Random Acts of Flowers (and organization that recycles and repurposes flowers for delivery to individuals in healthcare facilities).

Renegade Made Craft Kits are available for purchase on Amazon (Shep’s Toy Shop), at The Book Stall (Winnetka), Children’s Gift Shop (Northfield), Toy Et Cetera (Chicago), Lad & Lassie (Wilmette), as well as on UncommonGoods.com.

Learn more and download your free list of random acts of kindness at http://www.renegade-made.com.

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