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How would you like to avoid the winter “blahs” by planning a special day that is sure to make everyone smile. A smile-filled day is just what you need to inject a strong dose of laughter, joy, and happiness into your winter schedule. Read on to discover 10 simple activities that will help you organize your own “smile-filled” day.
Whose smile is this?
A few days before, photograph each child in your group. Make sure they are smiling when you snap their picture. Cut out each child’s smile and glue all the smiles on a large piece of cardboard. Play a game of Whose smile is this? Children will enjoy identifying their own smile as well as the smile of each of their friends. You can even invite parents to play along.
Smiley face cookies
Bake large round cookies ahead of time (or bake them with your group). Use colourful icing tubes to draw a smiley face on each cookie. Enjoy the cookies at snack time or for dessert. They also make great gifts for parents.
Let’s wear yellow
Yellow is a bright and joyful color. Invite children to wear yellow clothing items for your special “smile-filled” day.
Let’s laugh like…
Collect pictures of different characters and animals. Play a game of Let’s laugh like… with your group. Pick a card and laugh as the photographed character or animal would. You can, for example, laugh like a tiny mouse, like Santa Claus, or like a grandfather. While you’re at it, have fun inventing new laughs. Children’s ideas will amaze you…and make you smile!
For this activity, you will need a variety of cards illustrating different body parts. Have children pick a card, name the corresponding body part, choose a friend, and tickle the illustrated body part to make their friend smile.
Organize a “kind word” exchange. Set small cards near your daycare entrance and encourage parents to write a kind message for their child. When they are done, they can display their message on a special wall. Read the messages during the day. Help children write a kind message for their parents too. At the end of the day, invite parents to read their child’s message. If you wish, keep the messages and read them with your group from time to time.
Let the sun shine
To brighten your daycare in the middle of winter, create a large sun with your group. Draw a large circle and have children paint or color it yellow. Once this step is done, have each child apply yellow paint to the palm of one of his or her hands and press it around the outside of the circle to represent one of the sun’s rays. Once the sun’s rays are dry, draw eyes and a smile on your sun and display it on a wall.
What makes me happy
Invite children to draw or cut pictures out of magazines to represent things that make them happy. Help them describe the different things that make them smile and write the details on their project for them.
Accentuate the good
Throughout the day, encourage children and congratulate them whenever you see them helping others, using kind words, complimenting a friend, etc. Every time you witness a child performing a “good action”, draw a smiley face on his or her hand.
Silly smiley photo shoot
Cut several different smiles out of magazines and glue each one on a Popsicle stick. Show children how they can hold the smiles up in front of their mouth as you photograph them. Print the pictures and use them to create a special smile-filled mural.
Have fun with your group…and smile!
Maude Dubé, Specialized educator
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