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The feeling of happiness is something children and adults alike strive for, and it’s not just because it’s a feel-good emotion. Happiness is important to our health and wellbeing and the International Day of Happiness was created to recognize its impact. The International Day of Happiness has been a worldwide celebration on March 20th since 2013. The day was adopted by the UN resolution 66/281 in 2012 and is observed on their official calendar.
The 2018 theme for the International Day of Happiness is “Share Happiness.” There are several activities that you can organize to encourage a happier classroom and to help kids and teens develop happiness skills. You can even incorporate some of these activities into their science curriculum and daily classroom responsibilities.
To help you make the most of this special day dedicated to happiness, we’ve made a list of activities that you can incorporate into the classroom.
Put that stack of old magazines to make a happiness collage that you can proudly display in the classroom. Your class can make one large collaborative collage, or each person can make their own.
If you want to make the collage about on a specific subject, find materials related to the topics you want to cover. Then, have kids show you through the collage what they enjoy about your subject.
This activity helps kids develop happiness skills because even if you aren’t teaching their favorite subject, they can reflect and discover that there is something they enjoy about it. Later in life, they can use this technique to find the best in areas and situations that may not be the most fun to them.
There is something powerful about music. Listening to upbeat music and songs that are about being happy can affect your mood and lift your spirits. Whether you want to sing the songs as a group or simply put on the happy tunes while you are engaging in another activity, have a happy song handy to brighten up a few minutes in the day.
When happiness is the theme of your party, you can’t go wrong! You don’t have to go big, and the class can even help with the planning. Have kids help make the decorations and choose the games they want to play. If you really want to focus on your history curriculum, you can turn your lesson into a trivia game with points and prizes.
Sharing a happy memory is a simple and effective way to boost your happiness levels. Go around the room and let everyone share a happy memory. Being open and learning about each other can leave everyone feeling more connected and happier in the classroom whether you’re reviewing science curriculum or deciding what to name the class pet.
If the day is pretty outside, schedule time for a brisk walk or a few moments to run around and get some exercise and fresh air. A change of scenery can do wonders for happiness, and exercise gives the body a nice boost of energy. If the weather isn’t cooperating or you don’t have the chance to get outside, consider playing a game in the gym or doing group exercises in the classroom like jumping jacks.
Place a gratitude jar at the front of the room with small pieces of paper and pens and have everyone write down one thing they are grateful for. The jar filling up shows a visual representation that we have a lot to be happy for! You can make a gratitude jar a permanent addition to your room or bring it out for this special occasion.
A happiness worksheet is an excellent way to get the important school work done with a fun twist. You can use the happiness theme to match your curriculum, but let kids fill out their work on a colorful sheet with fun activities like tic tac toe or word hunts.
While we all want to feel happy, we should also want those around us to feel happy as well. Start the day by sharing the mission that everyone should do one good and selfless deed, and then report back, so it can be recorded.
You can measure the good deeds using the same method as a gratitude jar. When the jar is full, you can reward the class with something fun like a few free minutes to talk or candy. You can also measure this on a white board, using magnets, or whatever methods you prefer.
A scavenger hunt is a happy activity because it gets kids’ minds racing, gets them moving, and it’s just fun to use clues to hunt for a treasure at the end. You can use the happiness theme throughout the scavenger hunt or choose something that makes more sense for your history curriculum or another subject. You’ll want to set this up in the morning, so kids don’t see where you hide the clues!
Take a few moments on this day to read a funny story or a watch something that makes everyone laugh. Even just a brief moment of laughter can lift spirits and make the day a little brighter. You can even find a joke book and pass it around the room having everyone read one joke out loud.
A smile on your face can improve the mood of those around you and makes them feel happier. Take the time to embrace the International Day of Happiness, and whether you are focused on science curriculum or another subject, you teach young kids or teenagers – everyone appreciates a day dedicated to a happier wellbeing.