If you are wondering how to teach kids about joy, I am here to help. While I do have an entire week of lessons on this topic, here is one super fun game that kids will love playing. It’s an active, creative, and engaging way to teach kids that joy is contagious.
Want another lesson on joy? Check out my joy bean bag toss game.
How to Teach Kids About Joy
Gameplay and hands-on activities help children learn about important concepts. As a former educator, I’m always looking for creative ways to engage kids’ minds. This game that teaches joy to kids is just that. I call this character-building activity the “Joy is Contagious Game.”
This is an adapted version of the classic game of tag. You will need dot stickers for this activity (Amazon affiliate link). These are very inexpensive on Amazon. You can use the extras to do my craft about the story of Joseph.
Once you have your dot stickers, write joy on all of them. Your kids can help!
The next step is to cut out strips of the stickers. Each child will have a different color of joy sticker for this activity.
Because this game teaches that joy is contagious, spend a minute explaining what contagious means so they can understand the concept. The simple definition is that contagious means spread from one person to another. Explain that bad things like sickness or negativity can be contagious, but so can good things like laughter and joy.
Time to play! The rules of the game are that you chase people around for one minute trying to stick a joy sticker on them. At the end of the minute, stop and see who was able to spread the most joy by adding up the stickers of their color. Great concept, right?
I hope your children or students want to play this over and over again to really solidify the concept.
Confession About Our Joy is Contagious Game
When I originally played this game that teaches joy back in 2012 it didn’t start out very well. I guess a good indicator of how an activity might go is when it takes the kids 20 minutes to figure out how to get out of the house even though they were already in jackets and shoes when I said we were going outside to play a game.
One child decided to change shoes and couldn’t decide which ones fit, what they felt like, or what exactly they wanted to wear. This was the first indication things might be headed south. Welcome to parenting a child with sensory processing issues.
Let’s pretend that while said child was having a meltdown over shoes another child started having a meltdown for no apparent reason. This might have been a solid second sign that that moment was not a good time to play the game.
So, I said, “Now is probably not a good time. We can play later.” Oh, but they wanted to play so bad, so we pressed forward.
Another thing that went wrong was that I originally transferred all the colored stickers onto different sheets rather than cutting the sheets into strips like I now suggest. In transferring the stickers around to different sheets of paper, they lost their stickiness, so the stickers dropped off and fell to the ground.
The final blow to the game was the fact that these now non-sticky stickers were barely hanging onto their page. It was a pretty windy day, and the windy gusts would blow these non-sticky stickers into the grass. This all happened while one of the children still couldn’t recover from the meltdown. We had super joyful grass that day.
Well, there’s the utter disaster of the game that did not bring us much joy. The irony was not lost on us.
More on Character-Building and Joy
I bring up this story as encouragement to you. We are going to do all we can to teach our kids character qualities we would love to be exemplified in their lives. Sometimes, the enemy, the uncomfortable shoes, or just the wind will fight against that. Stay in the battle. Choose joy for yourself in these harder parenting moments. You modeling joy despite hardships will be the best way to teach children joy.
So, let’s review how to teach kids about joy. Model it. Play my Joy is Contagious game. Be intentional about teaching joy. Want resources to do just that? Check out my other lessons on joy in my character-building series.