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Nothing like a smile

To encourage the children to see the importance of a smile.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage the children to see the importance of a smile.

Preparation and materials


  1. Show the children the four pictures of smiling faces and ask them what they have in common. The answer is that they all show people looking happy and smiling.

    Put the game on the screen – click on ‘What’s different?’ with the pictures of smiley faces. Ask the children to spot the difference between the pictures on the first and third and the second and fourth lines.
  2. Ask the children if they can think of times when they would be expected to smile – these may include when they are happy, if they meet someone, if someone gives them a gift, when they have a photograph taken, etc.
  3. When someone is taking a photograph today he or she is usually expected to smile. In Victorian times, it was the exact opposite. People were told: ‘DO NOT ON ANY ACCOUNT SMILE!’

    Ask the children to hold serious expressions for 30 seconds. You could ask them not to smile while you attempt to make them laugh. Or you could ask a few children to come to the front to see if the other children can make them laugh.
  4. Here are a few facts about smiling.

    – There are over 18 different types of smile – e.g. a smile that says ‘hello’; a smile that says you are feeling a bit sad; a smile that says you are excited, etc. Ask the children to try smiling at one another in the ways you suggest.
    – Someone who studies smiles is called a ‘gelotologist’.
    – A smile uses between 5 and 53 muscles!
    – When you smile your body releases chemicals called endorphins – these make you feel better!
    – People who smile more are usually liked more!
    – You can often tell if someone is smiling even if you are on the telephone!
    – Bosses are more likely to promote people that smile!
  5. Ask the children how it makes them feel when someone smiles at them.
  6. Someone once said ‘A smile costs you nothing but it brings great richness to the recipient’. Explain what this saying means.
  7. A verse in the Bible says ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine’ (Proverbs 17.22).
  8. All of us can smile at people. By doing so, we can make other people happy. Let’s try to do this today.

Time for reflection

Think about people who you know that smile a lot. Think about a time when someone has given you a smile that has made you feel good. Make a decision to smile at lots of people today – you may be surprised at the reaction you get!

Dear God,
Thank you for our amazing world.
We have so much that makes us happy!
Please help us to do our part in making the world a happier place.
Please help us today to smile at others and make them happy.


‘Thankyou, Lord, for this fine day’ (Come and Praise, 32)

Publication date: March 2013   (Vol.15 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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