Mood-boosting activities can do wonders for you and your students’ overall well-being. Aside from elevating your mood, these activities offer plenty of other benefits, such as reducing stress, nurturing cognitive skills, and promoting values like responsibility and teamwork. We’re sharing our favourite 10 mood-boosting activities you can introduce in your classroom.
Music can be used as a powerful tool to reinvigorate your students when they’re feeling a bit flat. It can also be a source of inspiration for them, as well as a tool for emotional support. Moreover, listening to music has a host of benefits. It can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and enhance mental alertness. Ask your students what songs they like listening to and use their suggestions to create a unique playlist for the classroom. You can also encourage your students to get up and dance, as movement can be one way for them to process what they’re feeling. If you’re feeling a bit low yourself, you may want to join in on the fun and experience the power of music.
It might sound like a cliché, but laughter is indeed the best medicine and offers several short- and long-term benefits. A good laugh can help ease tension and stress as it can lower cortisol levels, helping you and your students feel more relaxed. Moreover, laughter improves your endorphin levels, giving your mood an instant boost.
You can start by cracking a joke or two to break the ice. You can give your students a heads-up that they’ll be asked to share their favourite jokes, or you can do it spontaneously to get the ball rolling.
Engaging in physical activity promotes better physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can improve cognitive function and sleep, as well as reduce anxiety and depression. It can also help you and your students manage stress. The thing is everyone has different thresholds for physical activities. But there is some good news—you don’t need to engage in strenuous exercises to reap the benefits of physical activity. You can do something as simple as stretching, dancing, jumping, or playing indoor ball games.
Practicing mindfulness brings in a lot of benefits. It can improve not just your physical and mental health but also your overall well-being. Regular mindfulness practice can help reduce stress and hone our capacity to be aware and observant.
One of the most common myths about mindfulness and mindfulness exercises is that they’re only for adults. The good news is anyone can practice mindfulness, even kids. Plus, there are many ways to practice it. You can ask your students to sit down, stand, or move around. The key to mindfulness practice is paying attention and being present in the moment.
If you can, schedule a regular nature walk for your class. Being in nature and breathing fresh air can elevate your mood and give your energy levels a boost. It can also help reduce stress and promote better sleep. Plus, you can do it for free. Check your local area to see if there are any parks that you and your class can visit.
Gardening is a great mood-boosting activity that can easily be done in the classroom. It can reduce stress, help with fine motor development, especially if you’re with younger children, and it teaches them early on about responsibility and patience. It’s also a wonderful way for kids to use all their five senses. Plus, a classroom garden doubles as a teaching tool. As you plant, you can teach your students about how plants grow or what they need to thrive.
Classroom pets not only promote curiosity and learning but also help improve children’s self-esteem and teach them about responsibility. Moreover, class pets can provide richer experiences in the classroom for young learners and gives them something to look forward to when they go to school. Lastly, having a classroom pet can help enhance the well-being of your students and become a great alternative to screen time. Pets can relieve stress, offer emotional support, and enable students to feel more at ease.
Reading is always a welcome activity, whether it’s at home or in the classroom. It supports the development of students’ critical and analytical thinking skills, improves their self-esteem, and nurtures their imagination. Reading can also do wonders for your mental health. It can help reduce stress and give your students a way to cope with daily stressors, making reading an excellent mood-boosting activity.
Allot a specific schedule or time for reading, such as making it a weekly or monthly activity. Set up your classroom to make it more conducive for reading, like bringing pillows or blankets. You can also ask your students to bring some snacks.
Group activities like art projects give children the opportunity to learn about cooperation and teamwork. Moreover, art and art education are powerful tools for learning, self-expression, and creativity. It can relieve stress, keep students engaged, and make them feel excited. After all, isn’t it exciting to see your ideas come to life? Moreover, learning how to make or appreciate art can help young learners become happier.
Unstructured play allows your students to simply have fun while squeezing in some physical activity. In unstructured play, they can run around or dance to some of their favourite tunes. This not only gives them a sense of freedom, as structured play can feel a bit limiting sometimes, but it also helps elevate their mood.
Aside from introducing these activities, you can go a step further and create your own mood tracker for the classroom. Your students can select colours or icons like emojis that represent their mood. This way, you and your students can monitor the state of their mental health regularly. A mood tracker will also let you see any progress or fluctuations, allowing you to take the appropriate action to help your students effectively manage their moods.
An education in the arts empowers children and youth in so many important ways. It encourages self-expression, curiosity, innovation … and, of course, creativity. Now more than ever, this world needs creative thinkers. We need people who can imagine beautiful and radical possibilities for our future, and who have the courage to manifest those possibilities in the world around them: through song, dance, images, and through the relationships they forge with their peers. I look forward to helping my students cultivate these skills, so that they can move forward into this challenging year with hope, confidence, and kindness. – Mirka Loiselle
Thinking back to my school years, the happiest and most exciting memories are not associated with studying a multiplication table, or writing endless chemical equations. It’s the priceless experiences and discoveries born in the playground. It’s all the valuable lessons learned while making DIY costumes for a talent show, rehearsing choreography, or creating props for a school play. Today, more than ever, children need more opportunities to connect, collaborate, and have a feeling of togetherness. I believe our programs can help make a difference. Participation in fitness based activities and creative discovery will ultimately help kids to be more emotionally resilient and deal with many challenges they are faced with today. – Alena Tuchina
As adults, we are responding to this pandemic differently. Some of us with courage and compassion, and others with reasonable fear. I’m curious about what kids are thinking. If we can unearth their inner thoughts, we can help the next generation of leaders to become aware of uncertainty, and to respond with strength. Lively debates, “what if” scenarios, and multiple perspectives can foster empathy. Let’s give little humans an opportunity to have many thoughtful conversations about our current realities. – Orchid Chen
Extra-curricular programs and the arts are the reason I am the person I am today. As a professional dancer, I have realized through the pandemic that no matter where I am – I need to dance. Whether in my living room, an empty yet spacious Wal-Mart parking lot or a studio, dance is my fuel. It has been the bright spot in my day for the six months and having a moment to connect with other dancers sharing that same need for joy gives me so much energy. I have been fortunate enough to dance across the world and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that dance is a universal language that connects us all. It’s organizations like Playocity that we need more than ever right now, wherever you may find yourself. – Bailey Woodman