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Reasons Why Happiness Is Important: Great Ideas for Happy Students

Image Of Two Girls Smiling With The Title Why Happiness Is Important And Great Ideas For Happy Students.

The past few years have been quite a rollercoaster for me, especially dealing with my mum's illness and her passing. It took a huge toll on my wellbeing and happiness.

It's been tough, to say the least, but it made me consider why happiness is important to me. I'd forgotten just how crucial it is to find and cherish moments that bring me joy. It also made me consider the limited perception we have of the role happiness plays in our lives. 

I've been thinking about how we can bring more joy and positivity into the classroom. I believe it's essential to teach our kids about the value of happiness - how to recognize it, feel it, and share it with others. 

So, I compiled some ideas and activities your students will enjoy. I know they'll be wonderful classroom management tools for teachers and make celebrating International Day of Happiness more meaningful. 


Explain to Students Why Happiness is Important

In our daily lives, happiness is often thought of as a fleeting state of mind or a pleasant emotion. Something we enjoy but perhaps don't deeply value for its full significance.

It's helpful to expand this limited mindset to better understand why happiness is important. Research consistently shows that being happy plays a foundational role in our mental health and wellbeing. Happiness can affect everything from our physical health to our mental resilience. It can reduce the risk of heart disease and strengthen the immune system. It also improves our stress response and boosts creativity and problem-solving skills.

Beyond that, happiness can significantly improve the quality of our relationships. Recognizing happiness as more than a momentary pleasure helps us see how much it really affects us and the people around us. Realizing this helps us see that happiness is a big deal. It's something good that we should all try to have more of in our lives.

Help students get the big picture by sharing some benefits and reasons why happiness is important for them. You can just read these out as they're written for kids!

  • Boosts Your Brain Power
    Being happy can help your brain work better. This means you might find it easier to pay attention in class or come up with great ideas for your projects.
  • Turns Stress into a Whisper
    Happiness can make big problems seem a lot smaller. It's like having a superpower that turns the volume down on your worries. This can help you feel more relaxed and ready to tackle challenges.
  • Supercharges Your Energy Levels
    Happy kids often feel more energetic and ready to jump into activities, sports, and games. It's like being the Energizer bunny, having the energy to do what you love.
  • Builds a Shield Against Germs
    When you're happy, your body is better at fighting off germs that can make you sick. Think of happiness as your body's superhero, keeping you healthy so you don't miss out on fun.
  • Makes Friendships Stronger
    Happiness is like a magnet that attracts friends. It helps you laugh, share, and enjoy your time with friends more, to build stronger bonds.
  • Helps You Bounce Back
    Just like a bouncy ball, happiness helps you bounce back when you're having a tough time. You can see the bright side of things and find solutions to your problems more easily.
  • Encourages You to Try New Things
    Happiness gives you the courage to explore and try new activities. Whether it's joining a new club at school or learning to play an instrument. It's like having an adventure buddy inside you.
  • Fills You With Gratitude
    Happy students are more likely to see the good things in their lives. They appreciate what they have, like family, friends, and even their favorite book or game.
  • Spreads Like a Good Virus
    Just like a laugh that makes everyone in the room giggle, your happiness can spread to those around you. This can make the vibe in your whole class or family feel good.
  • Turns Mistakes into Lessons
    Instead of feeling down about getting something wrong, happiness helps you see mistakes as a way to learn and grow. It's like being a scientist who discovers something new each time an experiment doesn't go as planned.

Talk and Write About It - Discussion Prompts

Talking about happiness helps students understand their emotions and creates a positive atmosphere. It makes them more aware and empathetic, boosts communication skills, and strengthens friendships. These chats can be invaluable for encouraging positive self-talk and to make them feel more appreciative of the good things.

Here are some prompts to start you off:

  • What is Happiness?
  • What does happiness mean to you?
  • Can you think of a time when you felt truly happy? What made you feel that way?
  • Why do you think it's important to be happy?
  • How do you think our classroom would be different if everyone was happy?
  • How does feeling happy affect your body? (Discuss concepts like energy levels, sleep, and even the immune system.)
  • Why is it important for our minds and bodies to feel happy?
  • How does being happy affect how we treat our friends?
  • Do you think happiness can spread from one person to another? Can you share an example?
  • Can we feel happy even when things are tough? How?
  • What are some ways we can find happiness in a difficult situation or day?
  • Do you think happiness is contagious?
  • How does our mindset change when we are happy?
  • Can thinking happy thoughts make us feel happier? Why or why not?
  • What are some things you can do to make yourself feel happy?
  • How can you help someone else feel happy?
  • Share something you know makes your friend happy.
  • How does being thankful for what we have contribute to our happiness?
  • Can you name three things you are grateful for today?

These prompts can be adjusted based on the age and maturity level of your students. They're designed to spark meaningful conversations and reflections about happiness. The aim is to encourage students to think about their own feelings, behaviors, and the impact of happiness on their lives and the lives of those around them.

Engaging Ideas and Happiness Activities

Teaching students why happiness is important could be seen as a little selfish. The benefits are far greater than improving just wellbeing for kids. Happy students equals a happier classroom and that equates to peace, more engaged learning, and greater connections. A huge win for both students and teachers!

1. Happiness Around the World Project

► For Older Students (Grades 3-5):

Start by assigning different countries or cultures to small groups or pairs. Encourage students to investigate how various cultures understand and celebrate happiness.

They could look into:

  • Festivals
    Many cultures have specific festivals dedicated to happiness or gratitude. Holi in India, known as the Festival of Colors is one example. This festival celebrates love, happiness, and the arrival of spring.
  • Food
    Some cultures associate specific foods with happiness or special occasions. In Japan, it's considered good fortune to eat mochi (rice cakes) during the New Year. They also eat them during Children’s Day to create happiness.
  • Traditions and Customs
    Research concepts like "hygge" which encourages togetherness and wellbeing in Denmark. "Sobremesa" is another interesting custom that fosters joy and community. Sobremesa is a Spanish tradition where people linger at the table after a meal to digest and socialize. 

Students can present their findings through posters or digital presentations. They can incorporate images, facts, and even music or videos that represent happiness traditions. 

Consider organizing a "Happiness Around the World" fair. Students can display their projects to the class, other classes, or the entire school. It's a wonderful interactive learning experience the whole community can enjoy.

► For Younger Students (Grades K-2):

For younger students, transform your exploration of happiness into a journey of stories and art. Choose stories from different cultures that highlight themes of happiness, joy, and gratitude.

After reading each story together as a class, start a discussion about the main themes. Ask students what made the characters happy or how they spread joy. Discuss how people in different parts of the world celebrate happiness. Ask how it is similar or different from their own experiences.

Students can express what they've learned through a variety of art forms. They can draw scenes from a story and make happiness masks or paper lanterns.

Display their artwork in the classroom or around school as a beautiful reminder of the universal pursuit of happiness. This is a great activity to enhance listening and comprehension skills while encouraging empathy and creativity.

2. Kindness Challenge

Have you ever noticed how a simple smile can turn a gloomy day around? Or how offering a helping hand makes your own heart feel a bit lighter? That's the power of kindness, creating ripples of happiness throughout your school.

Kindness is like a secret ingredient that makes our school a happier place for everyone. When we share kind words, lend our things, or simply listen to a friend, we're not just making their day brighter, we're boosting our own happiness too! Kindness is like a boomerang; what we give out comes back to us in beautiful, unexpected ways.

Imagine your school as a garden. Every act of kindness is a seed that is planted. With each kind word and action, a garden of happiness grows so everyone can bloom (corny but true). This garden doesn't just make your school look good; it makes it feel good. It becomes a place where everyone wants to be because they feel valued, cared for, and appreciated.

So, challenge your students to be gardeners of kindness. Teach them to look for opportunities to be kind every day to make happiness bloom in your school.

There are many wonderful ways to spread kindness. Here are some popular resources and kindness activities your students will love.

Kindness Bookmarks Challenge

Throw a love bomb into your classroom with this popular kindness challenge. Kids can't get enough of it and teachers love that this no-prep activity is FUN while promoting friendship and a positive classroom community. 

Students select a coloring bookmark and personalize it with pencils, markers, and glitter. They then turn it over and write a positive message on the back to a schoolmate. They might write a compliment, a note of encouragement, or wish them a great day. 

When everyone's finished, the fun begins! You'll take your grade on a secret mission to hide their bookmarks in the library as a surprise for unsuspecting lenders. As your students quietly sneak around the library being careful not to be caught in the act of kindness, they feel proud and important to be making a difference to someone's day. 

Students Holding Kindness Coloring Bookmarks By Ripple Kindness Project Ready To Participate In A Fun Kindness Challenge.

This highly engaging activity teaches students valuable skills like consideration and empathy as they think of others while crafting their message. But there are also developmental benefits like improving fine motor skills, spatial awareness, strengthening muscles in the hand and improving the control needed for writing.

This is such a popular activity for elementary and special needs students. It ticks all the boxes for fun, excitement, and learning while making an impact throughout your school. 

I used this resource with our school's Kindness Club. We colored the bookmarks and hid them in books in our library. The Kindness Club members LOVED making the bookmarks, and I've received great feedback from our school's media specialist about the reactions from students who are finding the bookmarks. Thank you so much. 🙂

Shania B - 3rd, 4th, 5th Grades

As an End of Year activity, my kids coloured these in left them randomly in books in my class library for the next year's students - it has been so fun to see my new class discovering them!

Mia V - 2nd Grade

I just love this resource! I have used a couple of times now and not only is it easy and quick for teachers, the engagement that it generates within the classroom for students is exceptional. Thank you so much for a resource that is high in quality, easy and engaging to use and practical! 

Megan V - 3rd, 4th, 5th Grades

Kindness Quilt

An absolute favorite is this collaborative kindness quilt bulletin board kit. It's a best seller because students feel proud to have their work displayed in such a positive way.

A Gorgeous Kindness Quilt Colored And Assembled By Primary And Elementary School Students.

Kindness quilt submitted by Karen Caswell, fourth grade teacher at Coomera Rivers State School

This patchwork quilt has 30 squares with kindness quotes as well as images and bordered squares for students to make their own patches. 

Ready-made quilt squares can be printed to use as coloring pages or students can use Google Slides™ to add their own positive messages. Kids practice writing and spelling as they write or type an inspirational quote onto a blank template and personalize their piece with a picture.

Digital And Printable Resources For A Kindness Quilt For Primary And Elementary School Students By Ripple Kindness Sel Activities.

Why This Gorgeous Collaborative Bulletin Board is Loved:

  • The positive affirmations help to shift negative thinking and are a constant reminder of good behavior, friendship, and inclusion to promote a supportive classroom community.
  • The 30 growth mindset quotes on the quilt squares trigger meaningful discussions about kindness and personal values to develop a positive outlook.
  • Coloring and personalizing quilt squares is a creative and calming brain break that develops fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination.
  • By reading, writing, and spelling out inspirational quotes or their own thoughts on kindness, students practice essential literacy skills.
  • Suitable for a wide range of grades (from 1st grade to 8th grade), it's a versatile tool for teaching social-emotional learning skills at various developmental stages.
  • Offering both printable quilt squares and a digital Google Slides™ version, it caters to different classroom needs and preferences, including remote learning.
Kindness Quilt Patch By Karen Caswell Coomera Rivers State School
Kindness Quilt Piece By Karen Caswell Coomera Rivers State School

We used this to create a Kindness quilt in our hallway and it was a big hit! The kindness quotes were great discussion points. Thank you!

Laura D - 6th Grade

My class have created this beautiful kindness quilt as part of our school's beginning of the year wellbeing focus on relationships and kindness. Every piece of the quilt is different and the words are so meaningful. We still look at it on the classroom wall from time to time, reflect and remind ourselves of the words.

Lyn C - 2nd Grade

We used this activity along with the book for our school wide kindness week initiative. Each class made their own kindness quilt and we hung them up in the halls of the school. It was a great activity and I highly recommend. 

Tandy D - 1st Grade  

Create a Kindness Tree

Kindness trees are an amazing and fun way to encourage acts of kindness at school. Students love the excitement of watching their tree come to life as good deeds are added!! 

I love this idea so much that I wrote a post with lots of examples from around the world to inspire more schools to create a tree. I even created a resource with templates to make it as easy as possible to encourage whole schools to participate.

Kindness Tree Bulletin Board Kit For Primary And Elementary School Hallways For Students, Teachers, And Parents To Report Acts Of Kindness By Ripple Kindness Sel Activities.

This kindness tree kit has everything you need to make a colorful bulletin board for a bucket load of happiness in your grade. You have options galore to help you create a perfectly sized tree for your available space.

You can choose to print in color or the outlined templates for students to color in. What I love about the outlines is when everyone works together to build your tree, the result is a unique patchwork effect showcasing their individuality! 

Printable Resource To Make A Kindness Tree Bulletin Board For Primary And Elementary School Hallways For Students, Teachers, And Parents To Report Acts Of Kindness By Ripple Kindness Sel Activities.

Great community building resource. I really liked how it included everyone - teachers, students, parents and the Principal. Thank you. 

Samantha R - K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th Grades

I used this as a bulletin board outside my classroom. We are talking about being a kind school this year. This board is so cute and so powerful. I am thinking of doing it next year also!

Kaelene S - K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Grades

My Kindness and Manners Count Club used this resource to celebrate National Kindness Day for our whole school. It was loved by all.

Moneta R - 3rd, 4th, 5th Grades

You can use this kindness challenge as a class, year level, or whole school kindness activity to promote positive character traits and improve community. 

You can use the tree to bring students, teachers, and parents together to participate in a community event. It's a powerful, inclusive, and fun way to set expectations of friendship, inclusion, and caring during kindness days.

Kindness Cash - A Money and Classroom Behavior Management System

This is such a fun and novel way to teach about kindness, friendship, and money management! Kindness Cash can be used all year as a behavior management incentive and to build essential life skills.

Acts of kindness are provided but sheets can also be edited to include considered acts of kindness. Students decide what they do and how much cash they earn. But what makes this resource unique is how they spend their reward money. Children can use the cash they have in their "bank" on reward coupons they give away to classmates!

As students buy coupons on shopping days, they'll have to decide who will receive them and consider what they like.

Kindness Cash is a fun incentive system that requires children to be intentional in their kindness and their purchases.

Why Kindness Cash is the Ultimate Life Lesson:

  • Students learn to give as they show kindness and earn cash for coupons they give to their classmates.
  • Children learn to consider the positive character traits and actions of their classmates to select a recipient for their coupons.
  • Kindness Cash creates a buzz of excitement as students want to be kind and caring. The nicer they are, the more likely they'll be the recipient of someone's purchased coupons.
  • Students learn real-life skills like earning, saving, keeping a balance sheet, and spending all with a twist of kindness.
  • Earning cash is a fantastic motivator to get students to complete classroom jobs and follow the rules you set.
  • You'll have classroom management in the bag as students are rewarded for good behavior with this unique incentive system. 
  • This fun activity has it all. It combines altruistic giving with economics while you create a warm and inclusive cohort who care about their classmates.
Kindness Cash Is A Community Building Activity Where Students Earn Cash By Doing Acts Of Kindness. They Learn About Saving, Spending And Giving As They Purchase Coupons To Give Away To Their Classmates. A Great Way To Teach Life Skills And Create A Positive Classroom Community.

I am the coordinator of an after-school program and I have been wanting to find a way to promote good choices and finances and well this was that one-stop shop for me.


This is a fantastic resource! It was easy to use and my students loved it! Thank you!

Marlayne S - 5th Grade

3. Happy Science Experiments

Exploring happiness through science is both fun and insightful. It helps students understand how emotions affect us and our world. Below are some engaging experiments that mix learning with joy. Students will see how positivity and kindness can have real effects.

► For Older Scientists (Grades 3-5):

► Experiment 1: The Power of Words on Plant Growth

  • Start with two plants of the same type. Make sure they're in similar pots with the same amount of sunlight and water.
  • Decide which plant will hear kind words and which will hear unkind words.
  • Each day, have students say positive words to one plant and negative words to the other.
  • Over weeks, observe any differences in growth, health, or appearance between the two plants.
  • Talk about how the experiment shows the impact words can have, not just on plants but on people too.

► Experiment 2: Mood Meter Madness

  • Each student makes a mood meter with different colors representing various emotions (happy, sad, excited, etc.).
  • For a week, students use their mood meters to track how different activities, times of day, or interactions affect their emotions.
  • At the end of the week, discuss as a class which activities brought the most joy and why.
  • Encourage students to think about how they can incorporate more of those happiness-boosting activities into their daily lives.

► For Younger Scientists (Grades K-2):

► Smiling Challenge - Catch the Happiness Bug!

  • Bring your class together and explain that you’re going on a smile-spreading adventure.
  • Start by giving your biggest, goofiest smile to one student.
  • Encourage that student to pass their smile to a friend, and watch as the smiles keep spreading.
  • Ask the class how receiving and passing on smiles made them feel.
  • Chat about how something as simple as a smile can make everyone feel happier.
  • Ask students to continue the smiling challenge for the rest of the day outside of the classroom.

4. Jars of Happiness

Students learn to understand the concept of happiness and its impact on their wellbeing as they each create a Jar of Happiness.

You will need:

  • Clear jars or containers (one per student)
  • Colorful paper strips
  • Pens or markers
  • Decorative items (stickers, ribbons, etc.)

► For Older Students (Grades 3-5):

  • Start with a discussion about happiness. Ask students to share what happiness means to them and give some examples of things that bring them joy.
  • Give each student a jar and items to decorate and personalize it.
  • Ask students to write down happy memories, things they're grateful for, or positive affirmations on the paper strips. They will pop them into their jar.
  • Explain that in addition to filling their jars with happy moments, students will also write a brief journal entry about one of these moments each week. Discuss how reflecting on these moments can deepen their understanding and appreciation of happiness.
  • Provide an example of a journal entry about a happy moment, explaining the feelings and why it was significant. Guide students in writing their first entry, focusing on a recent happy moment.
  • Highlight the importance of recognizing and cherishing happy moments. Encourage students to regularly add to their jars and write weekly entries to build a habit of noticing and appreciating the joy in everyday life.

► For Younger Students (K-2):

  • Briefly discuss what makes us happy. Share examples like playing, spending time with family, or eating ice cream.
  • Give each student a jar and items to decorate and personalize it.
  • Ask students to think of things that make them happy. They will write or draw these on strips of paper to pop into their jar.
  • Invite students to share one thing from their jar and discuss how sharing happiness makes others happy too.
  • Encourage students to add to their jars at home whenever they feel happy.
  • Remind students that the jar can also be used when they're feeling unhappy to remind them of the positive things in their life. 

Homework Assignment: Encourage students to add at least one new happy thought to their jar each day for a week. They can share their favorite new addition in the next class.

This lesson delivers two important lessons for students. It helps them recognize and cherish moments of happiness and provides tangible reminders of the good things in their lives.

And there you have it! From the science of happiness to creating jars filled with joyful moments. We've explored how easy it is to bring more happiness into our classrooms.

Remember, every smile, kind word, and positive discussion can make a big difference. So, let's keep spreading those good vibes and make our classrooms the happiest places they can be.

And don't forget to take advantage of celebrated days like Kindness Day, Peace Day and International Day of Happiness!

Let me know how you spread happiness in your classroom! 


AUTHOR: Lisa Currie - Ripple Kindness Project
Lisa is passionate about contributing to a happier world by building emotional intelligence in kids through fun and engaging social-emotional learning resources. Her core value is kindness as she believes it to be the “mother” of all character traits. She started Ripple Kindness Project to spread kindness in schools and communities. She also founded an outreach program to support disadvantaged families.  

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