Bucketfilling — Family and Classroom Books Encourage Positive Behavior

I stumbled upon two very similar books based on a concept I admit I was not familiar with, bucketfilling, designed to help parents and teachers focus on building character in pre-school and elementary school children.   I did further research and discovered that there is a programs for teachers to use the concept in their classrooms — and there are examples of how it is being used in schools.  Since I just wrote a post July 5 on The Family Virtue Guide, I thought this would be a nice companion.  It essentially works with many virtues/values we hope to instill in children.   This is a great school project!

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids,  is written by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing for pre-schoolers to age 8 years.   Actually the author says that  filling the bucket begins at birth when parents love, hold, touch, care, play, and read to their children.  You are filling an invisible bucket for your child as well as your own.   As children grow, it is important that they are also taught to love, be kind, helpful, unselfish and respectful of others.   McCloud wrote this book and designed a program to teach the daily practice of bucketfilling David Messing’s illustrations  are colorful, bold and captivating and support the message.  The characters are multi-cultural and have disabilities.  There also is a companion guide for young children, Fill a Bucket.

This book visually conveys a very simple but profound message children will understand — and it’s fun because the illustrations speak to you!   Everyday people from all over the world, walk around carrying an invisible bucket.  You can’t see it, but it’s there.  That means children,  parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, classmates and people you don’t even know, all have an invisible bucket.  There is only one purpose for the bucket — to hold your good thoughts and feelings about yourself.   You fill your bucket when you  are kind to someone, smile, give someone a hug, listen when they are sad, run an errand or say hello to a stranger.  You fill someone else’s bucket, but you also fill your own bucket.   When you feel sad, upset and lonely your bucket is empty.   It also can be empty when you are mean or hurtful to someone.  That’s called “bucket dipping.”   Then everyone’s bucket is empty.   But, when you are a bucket filler, you make your home, school, community and world  a better place to be.   

How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids, is written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, Ph.D.  and illustrated by Maurie J. Manning.   Rath co-wrote the book with the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton, who has shared his “bucket” story since the 1960s.  The original book was an adult non-fiction, which became the basis for this children’s story book.  Reckmeyer  is Executive Director of the Donald O. Clifton Child Development Center for 25 years, and has helped thousands of kids build lives around their strengths.  The authors have written this book in story form.

Felix is building a block tower and his persistent little sister wants to help.  He repeatedly tells her NO!    Fed up, feisty Anna grabs her doll and takes a big whack at the tower and it tumbles.   Felix yells for Grandpa, who  begins to tell Felix about the invisible buckets that everyone has over their heads.  He tells Felix he  just emptied his sister’s bucket with his actions.  The next morning  Felix wakes up and  sees a small bucket floating above his head.  The bucket is full and as he goes through his day,  he begins to see how his interactions with other kids, empty and fill his bucket, drop by drop.   He  wonders what it feels like when you have an empty bucket.  Once he learns how easy it is to be helpful to his classmates and his sister, he is excited and happy.   As Felix realizes that every drop he helped put into someone else’s bucket, he felt a drop in his own bucket.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

6 thoughts on “Bucketfilling — Family and Classroom Books Encourage Positive Behavior

  1. What a great concept to teach kids (and adults) how our actions have an effect on others and on ourselves as well. The second book in particular sounds as if it would be very helpful in explaining the idea to kids.

    Thanks, as always, for finding and sharing these books — and this intriguing concept — with us, Pat!

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    • This concept was knew to me. I found the first book before the second. Although it doesn’t have a protagonist, it has cast of characters that are multicultural — and the book really shows through action and demonstrates the message very clearly. It is very bright and colorful. The second was good, but more traditional. It’ funny, but since I read the books I find myself thinking in those terms as I talk.

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  2. This is a great post Pat. Isn’t it funny how some books actually make you think in the way they are written. A woman on a small plane ride I have just done, and is on my tour here, gave me a great idea while we were chatting away about books for children during our flight, also in a similar but different concept.
    Amazing what pops up when least expected.
    Thanks for sharing these lovely books.

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    • Glad you like the bucketfilling concept. Find myself keeping it in my head as I go about my day. The pictures in the books are vivid and stay with you. Interesting that someone mentioned a similar idea to you during your flight. Hope you’re enjoying yourself and finding lots of story ideas.

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