When kids can identify the people, places, thoughts and things that help them to feel happy (and then hold these in their hearts) they can access their happy feelings anytime. This allows them to experience the benefits from the “feel-good” chemicals (like dopamine) that then flood their brains.
This Happy HeART Lesson will help kids:
Recognize a range of feelings both within themselves and expressed by others
Identify their many sources of happiness so that they can tap into them anytime
The Lesson uses the following Materials:
The Happy Hunting book
A deck of Feel Wheel Cards, optional
One copy of the Free Happy HeART Sample Worksheet
Copies of the Free Happy Heart Worksheet
1. Before reading Happy Hunting
TALK ABOUT FEELINGS:
How do feelings feel?
How do we know when we're feeling happy, sad, scared, mad, disgusted or surprised? For example, when we're feeling scared our hearts might beat really fast...when we're feeling angry our faces might get really hot...
How do feeling look?
Using their faces and bodies, have kids demonstrate how their different feelings might look. For example, make your face, your shoulders, your hands, your body and your feet all show how you look when you're feeling mad.
What might we see?
Talk about how we might guess what others are feeling by what we see. Play feelings charades by having kids take turns choosing a Feel Wheel Card from the deck and then acting it out using only their face and body.
2. Read Happy Hunting
INTRODUCE, SHARE AND REVIEW THE STORY:
Show the cover of the book, read the title and ask kids to predict what the book might be about based on the picture and the name.
Explain that the story is about a girl who thinks she has lost her happy feeling and what happens when she goes hunting for it.
Challenge kids to watch for what she finds along her hunt, through the story and the pictures, and imagine how she might be feeling at different points along the way.
After reading the story, talk about it together. Revisit what you asked kids to watch for in your introduction.
3. Do the Happy HeART Activity
TEACH HOW TO IMAGINE, SAVOUR + BE CREATIVE WITH FEELINGS:
Invite kids to close their eyes, take some deep breaths and begin to imagine all the things that make them feel happy. These might include people, pets, ideas, colours, sounds, smells, wishes, dreams, and more.
Give them some time and encourage them to slow down and really experience their imaginings before opening their eyes.
Explain how we all carry these happy things with us in our hearts. Just imagining them can make us feel good.
Show and share the Happy HeART Sample Worksheet created by Liza, from the story.
Have kids complete their own Happy HeART Worksheet including all the things they imagined and anything else they think of while being creative.
Challenge them to use different shapes, colours, words and images.
4. Optional Extensions and Variations
Have kids do the FREE Feelings Match Handout for ages 5 to 7
Have kids complete the 3 Happy Drawings page in their Happy Hunting Journals
If you're teaching the happy habits, ask kids to look for examples of one, some or all of them within the story. Like, who showed kindness and how or who tried something new, what was it and how did it go?
If you're teaching the happy habits, encourage kids to include one or many in their personal heARTs. For example; include 1 wish, 1 outside activity, 1 way you slow down...and so on.
Create Happy HeART Collages using items collected from home, the classroom or outdoors.
Make Happy HeART Murals in small groups or as a whole class, family or club.
May you always know where to find your HAPPY xx