Toss the Gratitude Emoji Ball

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach mindfulness to about sixty students at a local private school. The students ranged from the 5th through the 8th grade. We focused on the theme of gratitude. To kick us off, we played a Mindful Littles version of the popular ice-breaker game, Toss the Beach Ball.  The idea is that whoever catches the ball has to answer a question on the ball and then tosses the ball to another person.  For our version, I wrote down four gratitude questions on a Silly Face emoji beach ball l got from a friend. 

The questions I came up with were:

  1. Who inspires you?
  2. What made you smile today?
  3. What’s something positive you did today?
  4. What do you love about yourself?
  5. The 5th question was reserved for The Silly Face: What’s something fun or silly about you?

I started us off and picked the Silly Face.  I told the kids that something silly about me was that I loved singing really loud in the car.  After some chuckles, I tossed the ball into the crowd.  The students eagerly responded to the questions. Some of the heartfelt responses included things like “My pet made me smile.” “My mom inspires me.” and so many more.  The kids loved this game.  After we played the game and warmed up, we settled into mindful bodies, practiced some breathing with some visual props and then I led a short gratitude meditation. We talked about how often we forget all the little things we are grateful for in our lives, but how important it was to spend a bit of time each day thinking about these little things.

After my daughters came home from school, I tried this game with both of them, and they too had a lot of fun with it.   My favorite responses from my girls were for the question, “What do you love about yourself?”  My older daughter replied, “I love that I am goofy.”  My younger daughter replied, “I love mama.”  Lol.  So maybe my almost 3-year old needs a bit more time before she “understands” the game, but until then I’ll take her response.  🙂


  1. Thank you so much for helping the students in Houston.
    They truly needed a great deal of kindness, and may still need it.

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