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5 easy ways to boost well-being in the class

From the director of the International Positive Psychology Network (IPEN), Emily Larson, here are five evidence based ways to promote well-being in children for educators and parents.

  1. What Makes You Happy Drawings/Photos

Activity Directions

Have students get into small groups and reflect for a few minutes on what makes them happy – an easier way for younger students to understand can be to ask them “what made you smile this week?” The things that make us happy can be really big, like our family, but they can also be really small, like a sunny day.

Once they have thought of something that makes them happy, ask them to draw a picture and share it with the class. For older students ask them to take a photo of something that makes them happy. Hang the pictures in the classroom or have them bring it home to share with their family.

  1. The 3 Good Things

Activity Directions

Gratitude exercises can manifest in many different ways, they can be solitary or group activities – however, since today is all about connecting with others, we suggest you make this a group gratitude exercise.

First, pair students into small groups of 3-4. Next, ask them to share three good things that happened to them today with their group mates. Remind them that good things can be anywhere and any size from something big like getting a new baby sister, to something smaller like your friend bringing you candy to school. Take this as an opportunity to practice active listening and storytelling skills.

Once everyone has shared, allow the class to reflect on how this activity made them feel (i.e. did you smile while doing this? Did you feel closer to the people sharing? Do you have more energy?).

  1. Random acts of kindness

Activity Directions

First, pair students in groups of 2-3 for this activity. In order to explain to the class what a random act of kindness is, it may be useful to show some fun videos or let them visit this website for some ideas. As a group, once they have decided on an act of kindness have them make a plan of how they will accomplish this act of kindness by the end of the day.


Once their act has been accomplished, allow each group to share what their random act of kindness was, how they did it, and what the outcome was.

  1. Mindful Savoring

Activity Directions

This activity is a solitary and silent activity. At the beginning of class, ask the students to think of a time they were truly happy. Next, ask them to close their eyes and try to remember that day, who they were with, what they were wearing, where they were. Ask them to recall the way they felt that day and why they were so happy – really relive the moment. Allow the students to sit with this memory for 5 minutes before beginning class.

This article was originally posted on The International Positive Education Network.