6 How Full is Your Bucket Activities for Kindergarten (With Free Printables) 

 November 21, 2023

By  maipham

In every child lies a bucket, a metaphorical one. This bucket is filled whenever they experience acts of kindness, love, and positivity, and leaks whenever they encounter the opposite. This is the concept behind the book “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. The book emphasizes the importance of positive behavior in children, and it’s something we can bring to life in our classrooms and homes.

Activity 1: Bucket Filling Moments

Start off by giving your child a small container representing their bucket. Throughout the day, when the child exhibits positive behavior, show them how this fills up their bucket by adding small items like buttons or pompoms.

This visual aid helps children better understand how their good actions are rewarding. It’s a great way to promote positive behavior, as it gives kids a tangible representation of abstract emotional concepts.

Free printables

Activity 2: Bucket Filling Feelings

This activity encourages children to think about their emotions and how they relate to the concept of filling or emptying their buckets.

Start by creating a comfortable circle time setting. Initiate a discussion about feelings and emotions that make them feel good and contribute to filling their buckets. These could be happiness when playing with their best friends, joy when eating their favorite ice cream, or the warmth they feel when they receive a hug from their parents. Write down all their responses on a chart or board.

This activity not only helps them identify ‘bucket filling’ emotions but also fosters emotional intelligence and empathy.

Free printables

Activity 3: Bucket Dipping story

The “Bucket Dipper Story” activity helps children grasp the concept of empathy.

Begin by reading a story that involves characters treating each other unkindly. Then, discuss with the kids how this ‘dips’ into the characters’ buckets, causing them to empty.

This makes them understand that our negative actions towards others not only affect them but also empty our own buckets.

Activity 4: Bucket Dipping Feelings

Building on the previous activity, this one focuses on how it feels when our buckets are being emptied.

Ask children to share examples of negative behavior they have experienced or witnessed from their classmates, friends, or siblings. Encourage them to express how these actions made them feel and write down all responses on the board.

Discuss with them how we can prevent ourselves from ‘dipping’ into others’ buckets and keep our own filled.

Activity 5: Positive Affirmations Bucket

The final activity revolves around positive affirmations. These are simple phrases that boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem.

Begin by discussing the power of words with your children, emphasizing how negative words can ’empty’ someone else’s bucket while positive ones can fill it up. Then, encourage the children to come up with positive affirmations for themselves and their classmates.

Write these down on small pieces of paper and have the kids put them in a bucket labeled “Affirmation Bucket.”

Every day, take turns picking out an affirmation from the bucket and sharing it with the class.

Activity 6: Bucket Filling vs Bucket Dipping Actions

This activity involves creating two columns on a chart or board labeled “Bucket Filling” and “Bucket Dipping.”

Ask the children to brainstorm actions that fall under these categories and write them down in their respective columns.

This helps them differentiate between positive and negative behaviors, promoting self-awareness and encouraging them to choose ‘bucket filling’ actions.

Books on Bucket Filler

Here are some wonderful books that reinforce the concept of being a “bucket filler” for kids. Each of these books offers engaging stories and beautiful illustrations that make the concept of bucket filling relatable and fun.

  1. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” by Carol McCloud.
  2. Bucket Filling from A to Z: The Key to Being Happy” by Carol McCloud and Caryn Butzke.
  3. Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for a Happier Life” by Carol McCloud.
  4. Will You Fill My Bucket? Daily Acts of Love Around the World” by Carol McCloud and Karen Wells.
  5. Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children” by Carol McCloud, Katherine Martin, and David Messing.


Practicing these ‘How Full is Your Bucket?’ activities in kindergarten helps in nurturing empathy, promoting positive behavior, and improving self-esteem in children. By incorporating these activities into our daily routines, we can help our little ones grow emotionally and socially, providing them with the tools they need to navigate the world with kindness and understanding. Let’s take the first step in creating a generation of mindful and empathetic individuals.


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