I'm a Philanthropist!

K, 1, 2

The children define philanthropy and have the opportunity to see they can participate in philanthropy. The memory-building game stimulates the children to choose many different ways of being philanthropic to improve their community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Sixty-Minute Session

The learner will

  • name a philanthropic act that they could actually perform.
  • distinguish between the concepts of time, talent, and treasure


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the word 'philanthropy' on the board. Ask the children to sound out this big word and make guesses about what it means. Say the word clearly and ask them to repeat it. You can have fun by splitting it into four syllables and assigning a syllable to each of four groups. They say it in turn by group: phil - an - thro - py.

    Just for fun, you can be silly and point to groups to say their parts out of turn: thro - an - phil - pe

  2. Define the big word as a big idea that they are capable of doing, even if they are small:  Philanthropy is giving your time, talent, or treasure for the good of all.

    Philanthropy can mean giving $250 to an animal shelter, but that isn't likely the type of philanthropy that a kid can do. We have other ways to give. We can give (and make things better for the world) with our time, talent, voice, or treasure. 

    If you have a passion for something, like animals (or music or the environment), you can find many ways to help.

    • You can volunteer your time to walk dogs or pet cats at the animal shelter.
    • You can give your talent by making dog toys or treats to donate.
    • You can use your voice to let people know there are cats available for adoption.
    • You may be able to give treasure (other than money), such as a gently used dog bed or toy.
  3. Brainstorm these meanings together:

    • What does it mean to give your time
    • What does it mean to give your talent? (Can you sing, dance, paint, recite poetry? Are you kind or a good listener?)
    • What does it mean to give your treasure
  4. For this activity, it can be helpful to list some contexts for giving or community needs, such as hunger, homelessness, illness, environmental concerns, loneliness, homeless pets, seeking peace, needs for kindness or listening, loss of bees, and more.

    Now ask each participant to think of something philanthropic that they could personally do (sharing time, talent, or treasure) for the sake of another, the environment, the group, or the world. Together, they will name this and play a memory game to list the others' acts of philanthropy. 

    Standing in a circle, each person says in turn, "I'm going to be a philanthropist by …" Each time they include the acts of philanthropy of the people before them. The game requires careful attention and memory. So, the second person says "I'm going to be a philanthropist by (what the previous person named and add their own)." This continues around the circle as each person adds another act to the list after reciting the ideas of the others.

    Option: Those who are done may be permitted to act out their part to jog the memory of the speaker and to keep them engaged. 

    Keep a list of actions to review and reflect on after the game. 

  5. The facilitator can bind pages of each participant's philanthropic action into a book for the whole group to enjoy, and upon which they can reflect. Each person makes an illustrated page with their act of philanthropy:  "I'm going to be a philanthropist by…" (from the game). The book pages may be grouped by type of philathropy (time, talent, treasure).  

Cross Curriculum 

Individual student activities may be done as suggested in the lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.