This activity is a variation on the popular ice-breaker game, Toss the Beach Ball, and is wonderful for children of any age range as well as adults. The idea is to inspire young children to think of the small things in their lives they’re grateful for.
Research shows practicing gratitude helps cultivate a greater sense of well-being. For this gratitude game, you’ll need a Silly Face emoji blow-up ball (or you can make one yourself by drawing on any blow-up ball) big enough to write on and a Sharpie or other permanent marker.
Before beginning, write four gratitude questions in different places on the ball. For example:
- Who inspires you?
- What made you smile today?
- What’s something positive you did today?
- What do you love about yourself?
- The fifth question — What’s something funny or silly about you? — is reserved for the Silly Face emoji (no need to write it on the ball).
Toss, Answer, Breathe
Sit in a close circle. Whoever begins the game should choose a question on the ball and answer it for the group. Group breathes in and then breathes out. They then toss the ball across the circle. Whomever catches it answers a question of their choice. The group pauses to take a breath together. The person then tosses the ball to another person. The game continues until all participants have had a chance to answer a question.
Sit cross-legged or in a comfortable position. Take a moment to think about what you’re thankful for in your life. Talk about how often we forget all the little things we’re grateful for in our lives, but how important it is to spend a bit of time each day thinking of these little things. Ask children if there are any other feelings or thoughts they want to share to reflect on gratitude.