Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We are Bucket Fillers!

Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

A few years ago I was introduced to the wonderful book "Have You Filled A Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids" by Carol McCloud. I immediately fell in love with the simple way the book takes such an abstract concept of kindness and makes it concrete for even the littlest of learners to understand. The book really resonates with my students and the illustrations are wonderful. The book also allows teachers to create a great character-development program in their classroom: Bucket Filling

Our Bucket Fillers Display
  Check out our bulletin board in our classroom above, where each child has their own bucket that they  get to fill with a “warm fuzzy” when they are a bucket filler. 

I got some of the great mini posters for our bulletin board here.

What is bucket filling?

Bucket filling is an easy-to-understand concept: Everyone carries an invisible bucket that holds our good thoughts and feelings. When our buckets are full, we feel happy and when our buckets are empty, we feel sad. 

Children quickly understand that they can be a "bucket filler" when they do and say things that are kind, considerate, caring, and respectful. They also learn that when they are mean, inconsiderate, uncaring, or disrespectful, they are "bucket dippers" who dip into buckets and remove those good feelings. Even the youngest child understands that actions and words can either fill a bucket or dip into it. 

We encourage all are kids to be "bucket fillers" and not "bucket dippers"!

To learn more about bucket filling check out Bucket Fillers Inc.'s website here. 

How We Encourage Bucket Filling in My Classroom:
  1. I bought mini-buckets from Target ($1) and had each child pick one out and then labeled it. If you want to save you can make them with paper too!
  2. I hung them up in a special spot in our classroom that the kids could see each day.
  3. Each time they do a kind act they get to put a "warm fuzzy" (pom-pom) in their individual bucket. Check out our warm fuzzy jar below.
  4. Every week or so we empty all the individual buckets into our "classroom bucket".
  5. When the classroom bucket becomes full we do something special in our classroom as a reward (e.g., pizza party, ice cream social).
  6. EVERY DAY, ALL DAY we promote this concept! We  are constantly encouraging, reminding, and recognizing every child's efforts to be bucket fillers in our classroom.
  7. We encourage the parents to promote this idea at home. Several parents even bought their own buckets to promote bucket filling in their family!
Our warm fuzzy jar:

To get the warm fuzzy label click here.
To get the classroom bucket label check this site out. 

How it's going in my classroom:

The children have really been doing a wonderful job doing their best to be nice to each other everyday. It takes a lot of teacher encouragement but it has now become habit and wonderful acts of  kindness are now filling the classroom. It is so wonderful to see their faces light up when one of the teachers tell them they can put a "warm fuzzy" in the jar for doing a kind deed for someone. It was so exciting when the classroom bucket became full and we had a “Bucket Fillers” celebration recently. 

Our "We Are Bucket Fillers" Celebration
The children got to decide what they wanted to do to celebrate and they voted on bringing in stuffed animals from home. That morning before they arrived I set up little beanie babies around the classroom to surprise them. They were thrilled to see a squirrel getting tissues, a penguin doing a puzzle, and a crab playing a science game. The kiddos got to play with their special stuffed animals in our learning centers, sit with them at circle and lunch, and nap with them!  We also made special cookies and had munchkins, popcorn, and juice as a special treat for the amazing bucket fillers! 

Pictures from our "We are Bucket Fillers" Celebration:

Reading books to their special friends

Spotting the silly stuffed animals around the classroom

Playing with play-dough with their special friends

Playing our magnet game with his buddy
Now, they are even more determined to fill their buckets to find out what our bucket fillers celebration will be next time!
Have you filled a bucket today?


  1. Thanks for sharing! I love this blog post and I love this book. We've been doing "bucket filling" at my preschool too. It's such a great way to help them understand that the happiness they give to others always comes back to them. Teresa Starr @

  2. Glad to chat your blog, I seem to be forward to more reliable articles and I think we all wish to thank so many good articles, blog to share with us. Esteetiline meditsiin Tartu