Evidence shows that happy students perform better at school, enjoy healthier relationships with other people, and are more successful in later life. We have put together three simple activities you can try out with your children to get them thinking about their wellbeing.
The Kindness Paper Chain
- Ask the children to cut out strips from different coloured paper.
- Once you have enough strips, talk to children about kindness. Talk about what kindness is, the importance of kindness, its different forms, and how we can be kind.
- Together, go through all of the kind things that children have done or experienced that day (or week) and add each of these to a strip of paper. For older children, they may be able to write their own.
- After a little while, take the tray away and remove a few items. Give the tray back to the children and ask them to see if they can remember which objects have been removed. This fun little activity can be used to help children learn new words.
- Once the children have run out of ideas, get them to loop these strips together and stick them down to create a kindness paper chain.
- This can then be put up in the classroom or at home and children can ask to add other kind things as they happen. It’s an ongoing project that promotes kindness and creates excitement around being kind!
- Ask children to collect large pebbles or stones.
- On a big sheet of paper, draw an oval to create the face.
- Using paints or markers, get the children to create different eyes, ears, mouths, and noses on each of the pebbles. Ask questions like "what shape does our mouth make when we are sad?" or "what do our eyes do when we are angry?" to help the students make different expressions.
- When the pebbles are complete and you have a range of facial expressions, the children can begin arranging them in the oval to create faces.
- You can create faces to show any type of emotion or feeling (happy, sad, angry, scared etc.). This creative project opens up conversations about feelings, how we deal with these feelings, and what might make us feel a certain way.
- Ask children to collect their favourite teddy bear or soft toy. You could also use beanbags or other light objects such as wooden blocks.
- Get the children to lie on their backs and place the toy on their stomach. Ask them to close their eyes.
- Guide them in taking three slow deep breaths in and out, asking them to watch the object as it moves up and down with their breath.
- Encourage them to think about how the breath feels and ask them to think about the answers to questions like "what is moving the toy?", "can you hear the breath?" and "what does it sound like?"
- You may want to finish this small mindfulness activity by asking them how it felt. Five or ten minutes of daily mindfulness exercises can see students reduce anxiety, increase concentration, and improve decision-making skills.