Spanish Version

Happy Days Bowl

Social Studies Activity

In this activity, students create a Happy Days Bowl that they can turn to for a reward on a good day or for an idea to turn around a bad day.


  • A large bowl
  • Brightly colored slips of paper
  • Pencils, pens, or colorful felt-tip pens


  1. Explain to the class that they are going to create a Happy Days Bowl. The bowl will hold ideas for things to do that might make a person's day happier. Students write their ideas on the slips of paper, fold them, and place them in the Happy Days Bowl.

  2. Start students thinking about ideas by offering some of your own. Then pass out the slips of paper so that everyone, including you, has at least three. After a set time, collect the slips in the bowl.

  3. The ideas can be wide ranging. Some examples might be:
    • A written note or greeting: greetings and good wishes in another language, lyrics from a favorite song, a funny poem, pun, or joke
    • Suggestions to do something: listen to a certain song in the audio tape section of the room; read a funny book on the library table; observe the graceful movements of a goldfish; study a certain picture to see some lovely colors; check how well the plants are doing; hug the stuffed rabbit in the quiet corner.
    • Reminders of special days. For example, "Think about the day we won the soccer match against Mr. Harvey's class." "Remember how nice it was when Mrs. Smith came and taught us a dance?" "Look at the beautiful book of leaves we put together in the fall."

  4. Tell children that they may go to the Happy Days Bowl if they are feeling good about something and want to mark the occasion with a special treat. Or they might dip into the bowl if they're having a bad day and want to turn it around by having something pleasant happen. You may wish to establish some guidelines for when and how frequently students can go to the bowl.

  5. Explain that when students go to the bowl, they draw a slip from it, read it, and then put it back in the bowl.


Keep blank slips of paper available so that students can add more ideas as they occur to them. After a couple of weeks, encourage students to evaluate how effective the Happy Days Bowl is and make any necessary changes.

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