Game that Teaches Kids Kindness
Kindness Bible Verse: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
Objective: Kids will discover that kindness is contagious.
- What are ways to show kindness?
- When you are kind, what does your face look like?
- Describe a kind face.
Read the Following Poem by Spike Milligan:
Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around a corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I realized I had passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine, could travel around the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected.
The poem says it perfectly. Smiling is contagious, and it has a serious positive impact on others. After reading it through once, read it one more time and explain some of the bigger vocabulary for smaller kids.
I have made this poem into a free printable that you can download. This is great to hang up in a classroom or in your home.
Play Game: The Smile Infection Game
Ready to learn more about the fun game that teaches kids kindness?
Materials Needed to play this Fun Game that Teaches Kids Kindness
- Tennis balls – If playing in a classroom, one for every two students.
- Permanent Marker
- Fun, upbeat, happy music
Preparation: Draw smiley faces on the tennis balls that will be used. Kids can also help you make these.
The Smile Infection Game is simple and fun. It varies if you are playing with a small number of kids or a larger number of kids.
Playing the Smile Infection Game with a Smaller Number of Kids (2-4 Kids)
For a small number of kids, start some fun, happy music that encourages smiles. Let them toss the tennis ball around to different kids in the circle.
When the music stops, whoever is holding the ball has the goal is to get the other kids to laugh. They can try any number of techniques to get the others to smile and laugh – tell a joke, do something silly, make a funny face or siblings could tickle one another.
The child gets a point for everyone they get to laugh.
Continue as long as you wish. Give everyone the chance to make smile and laughter contagious.
Playing the Smile Infection Game with a Larger Number of Kids (More than 5 Kids)
For a larger number of kids, form two circles. There will be an inner circle of kids facing the outer circle of kids. The children that are straight across from each other will toss the tennis ball back and forth while the music plays.
When the music stops, the child holding the ball will try and get their partner to laugh.
Once the round is finished, the music starts. The inner circle rotates clockwise, and the outer circle rotates counter-clockwise. When the music stops, they locate their new partner.
The music then starts again, and they toss the smiley faced tennis ball back and forth. When the music stops this time, the one holding the ball is the person trying to make the other smile or laugh.
Play as many rounds as you wish.
If you want to make this an elimination game, you can. If a child can’t get their partner to laugh, they would be out, and you’d have to establish new circles with an equal number of kids before beginning another round.
Play until one child – the ultimate smile master – is remaining.
Here are some pictures of my kids playing this game when they were younger:
- How did you feel when you made someone else laugh?
- How did you feel when someone else made you smile or laugh?
- When you saw someone else smiling and laughing, did it feel like it was contagious? Like you couldn’t help but smile or laugh too?
The Science Behind Smiling
Share this information with your kids or your students at their level:
“When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress,” according to SCL health. These neuropeptides along with other hormones like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins help the brain to function better and make one happier.
The release of those feel good hormones:
- helps reduce heart-rate
- reduces stress
- helps our nerves communicate better
- naturally lifts ones mood.
Some scientific studies like, this study and this study, even suggests that faking laughter or faking a smile can still elevate your mood and incite happiness.
Try it with your kids. Have everyone start laughing…even if it is fake. See if it turns into real laughter, and then see if it makes everyone feel better.
It becomes a cycle -> you smile -> you feel better -> you feel better -> you smile more.
Science backs that smiling is contagious. So, when you smile, you not only benefit yourself but you benefit others because they catch the smile, which impacts their bodies in a positive way.
We were made as human beings to be empathetic with one another. This study shows how part of our empathetic natures involves mimicking the facial expressions of others. Empathy is actually one of the leading predictors of social competency. Read more about that here.
As we learn the science behind smiling and laughing, we start to understand why it’s important to teach kids to be intentional about spreading their smile to others.
Character Building Series
This is one lesson in my character building series. Learn more about my series here:
Intro to Character Building Series
Can’t wait to play this game next week when we work on kindness! Thanks for sharing!
Have fun with it. I’m sure you’ll come up with your own creative ideas too.
Have fun with it!
Oh what fun! Worth trying!
We had a good time with the kindness week. It’s amazing how many teachable moments come forward while we’re focusing on a certain word. Thanks for commenting!