Do you want to celebrate World Smile Day with your students and make them smile? World Smile Day is a special event on the first Friday in October. It was started by Harvey Ball, the famous yellow Smiley Face creator, to inspire people to smile and share happiness with others. On this day, you can do fun and meaningful World Smile Day Activities in your classroom.
Smiling and being kind can significantly impact someone’s mood and well-being. Let’s make the world happier with these World Smile Day Activities!
The Famous Smiley Face
In 1963, Harvey Ball created the yellow Smiley Face. At the time, Ball was a commercial artist and graphic designer working in Worcester, Massachusetts. An insurance company approached Ball looking for a way to boost morale among its employees, who were feeling down after a merger.
The company asked Ball to create a simple design that could help lift the employees’ spirits. After brainstorming, Ball proposed a yellow circle with two black dots for the eyes and a black semicircle for the mouth. He drew the design by hand, and the company printed it on buttons distributed to employees. The design was an immediate hit, and soon people all over the company were wearing the buttons and smiling at each other.
The Smiley Face quickly caught on beyond the insurance company and became a famous symbol of happiness worldwide. People put the Smiley Face on buttons, T-shirts, mugs, and other products. It became one of the first commercially successful emoticons, preceding the creation of digital smileys by decades.
Harvey Ball copyrighted the design in 1971 and trademarked it in 1973. He sold the rights to the design for $45,000 in the 1970s. Ball died in 2001, but his legacy lives on through the Smiley Face, an enduring symbol of positivity and happiness.
Be sure to get the handout. It includes the printables you need to complete the World Smile Day activities.
World Smile Day Activities
Activity 1: Start the day with a smiley face greeting.
- One of the most iconic ways to celebrate World Smile Day is to wear a Smiley Face button or T-shirt.
- Have each student draw or cut out a smiley face and write their name on it. Then, have them exchange their smiley faces with another student and greet them with a smile and a compliment.
Activity 2: Perform random acts of kindness.
On World Smile Day, people are encouraged to perform small acts of kindness to spread happiness and positivity. This could include:
- leaving a note of encouragement for someone
- picking up litter in a park
- helping at a local food bank
- volunteering at a school
Activity 3: Virtual Smile Exchange
- Connect your class with another class from a different school or location using video conferencing tools. Ask your students to share smiles, tell jokes, or perform short skits with the other class.
- Invite your students to use social media to spread positivity and happiness on World Smile Day. Ask them to post pictures of themselves smiling or doing fun activities and tag their friends and followers. Remind them to use #WorldSmileDay on their posts and comments.
Activity #4: “Smile-o-Meter” Chart
Start the day with a “Smile-o-Meter” chart displayed prominently in the classroom. Draw a giant smiley face at the top and divide the chart into sections labeled with emotions (happy, excited, content, curious, etc.). Encourage students to place a sticker or mark on the chart throughout the day to indicate their emotional state. This activity promotes emotional awareness and allows us to discuss smiles’ positive impact on our well-being.
Activity #5: Acts of Kindness Challenge
Encourage students to participate in an “Acts of Kindness Challenge” on World Smile Day. Provide each student with a list of acts they can perform throughout the day, such as
- complimenting a classmate
- helping a teacher
- writing a thank-you note
- holding the door
- giving a hug
- saying thank you
Have them write their act of kindness on paper and fold it into a smiley face origami. Have them share their experiences with the class or with a partner.
Activity #6: Smile Collage
- Invite students to create a collaborative smile collage.
- Provide them with magazines, colored paper, markers, and scissors.
- Ask each student to cut out smile-related images or create smiling characters.
- Have them arrange and glue their creations onto a large poster board or mural.
- Display the smile collage in the classroom as a visual reminder of the power of positivity and happiness.
Activity #7: In the News
The handout includes 24 cards with acts of kindness that made the headlines. Print the cards and randomly pass them out to students.
Have students move into small groups based on one of the following:
- Recipient: strangers, friends, family, community, animals, environment
- Giver: individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, celebrities
- Type of kindness: material, emotional, social, informational, spiritual
- The scale of impact: local, national, global
- Cause: health, education, poverty, justice, peace, environment
Have students discuss the acts of kindness and then share their own experiences or ideas of doing acts of kindness for others.
The students could create posters or flyers based on their received cards and display them around the school or the community. They could also include a call to action or a challenge for others to join the kindness movement.
The students could write thank you notes or letters to the people or organizations mentioned in the cards they received. They could express their appreciation and admiration for their kindness and ask questions about their motivation or impact.
Activity #8: Smile-themed Math Activities
Incorporate smiles into math lessons with engaging activities:
- Smile Surveys: Have students survey their classmates and record data on various smile-related topics, such as favorite smiles or reasons people smile. They can then analyze and present the data using graphs or charts.
- Smile Word Problems: Create math word problems involving smile-related scenarios, such as calculating the number of smiles in a room based on given information or determining the percentage increase in smiles during a particular event.
Activity #9: Creating a School Bulletin Board for World Smile Day
- Select a prominent location in the school, such as the main hallway or cafeteria, where many people will see the bulletin board.
- Decide on a format for the bulletin board. You could make a giant smiley face as the centerpiece or create a collage of different smiles. Another idea is to have each student write or draw an act of kindness they have done or received on a sticky note. Then, have them stick their notes on a bulletin board in the shape of a smiley face.
- Include information about the history of World Smile Day and why it’s important to spread positivity and kindness.
- Encourage students to participate by creating a section to add their smiles, drawing them, or taking a picture of themselves smiling.
Activity #10: Smile-themed Writing Prompts
Engage students in reflective and creative writing using smile-themed writing prompts.
- Write a short story about a magical smile that brings happiness to everyone who sees it.
- Describe a time when a smile made a positive difference in your day.
- Imagine you are a smile superhero. What kind of acts would you do to spread smiles around the world?
- Write a short poem about what makes you smile or what you can do to make someone smile.
Encourage students to share their written pieces with their peers, fostering a supportive and encouraging environment.
Why Celebrate World Smile Day?
Smiling has many benefits for physical and mental health and relationships with others.
- Smiling can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, which is good for our health.
- By boosting our immune system and fighting infections, smiling can help us stay healthy and strong.
- When we smile, we release endorphins and serotonin, which are chemicals that make us feel happy and relaxed.
- Smiling can improve our mood and confidence, which can help us face challenges and opportunities.
- We can make ourselves more attractive and likable by smiling, which can improve our social and romantic relationships.
- Smiling can enhance our communication and cooperation skills, which can help us work better with others and achieve our goals.
World Smile Day offers a unique opportunity to promote positivity, kindness, and joy in the classroom. Incorporating these fun and educational activities into our lessons can empower upper elementary students to spread smiles and cultivate a supportive learning environment.
Remember, a smile is contagious, uplifting spirits and creating lasting connections. Let’s make World Smile Day a memorable and meaningful experience for our students and ourselves!