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Pause for Thought: Enjoy the Summer!

Spreading happiness

by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider that we each have our part to play in making summertime happy for everyone.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a relay baton (a cardboard tube will do if you don’t have a baton) and a daisy chain or paper chain.
  • Optional: you may wish to show the YouTube video ‘Dropped baton’, which shows athletes dropping the baton in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in which case you will also need the means to do so. The video is 0.28 minutes long and is available at:


  1. Explain that you are going to describe two different types of day and you want the children to imagine how they might feel on each day. Make sure that your voice makes the first scenario sound miserable and the second exciting!

  2. Begin by describing a cold, wet, dreary day where it is raining so much that you can’t go out to play.

    For example: when I woke up one Saturday morning, it was still dark outside. I climbed out of bed and opened the curtains. Outside, it was pouring with rain. It looked so miserable. I put on my clothes and went downstairs. My mum was there, looking sad. ‘We were going to go out today,’ she said, ‘but it’s so wet and dreary that we’ll have to stay here. At least you can do your homework all day!’

    Ask the children how they think they would feel in that situation.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Now, describe a different day.

    For example: I woke up one morning and the sun was streaming through my curtains. I leapt out of bed, opened the curtains and threw open the window. Outside, the birds were singing and the sweet smell of a nearby blossom tree wafted towards me. I ran downstairs and out into the garden. It was a beautiful day. ‘I think we’ll play here for the morning,’ Mum called from the kitchen, ‘and then maybe we’ll go to the beach for an ice cream!’

    Ask the children how they think they would feel on a day like this.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Hopefully, the children will have described feeling sad and disappointed in the first scenario, and happy and excited in the second one.

    Point out that the weather can have a big effect on how we feel. Often, children love the summer term, when they can play on the school field and feel warm and happy outside. However, a happy summer is about much more than good weather!

  5. Ask about eight children to come to the front and then position them around the edge of the room. Give the relay baton to the first child and explain that they are going to run a relay race in slow motion. (If the children are not familiar with what a relay race entails, explain it first.)

    When the race is over, explain that each child had to pass on the baton to the next child. In the same way, our feelings can be passed on to other people. If we shout at someone, they are likely to feel angry and upset, so they may well shout at someone else, who in turn feels angry and passes it on. If we don’t let someone play with us, they may feel upset and take that feeling out on someone else who would like to play with them. Other people often follow our examples.

  6. Explain that in the same way, we can also pass on happiness to one another. If we are kind to someone, they are likely to be kind to another person. If we let others play with us, they are likely to follow our example. Even a smile is likely to be passed on: if we make someone feel happy, they are likely to make the next person happy and so on.

  7. Hold up the daisy chain or paper chain.

    Explain that many people like to sit and make daisy chains in the summer. They look beautiful when they are first made, but they are also very fragile.

    Snap the chain, showing how easily it breaks.

    Explain that in the same way, people’s happiness can be easily broken and their feelings easily hurt. Point out that sometimes, it only takes a little thing to turn someone’s happy summer day into a sad one.

  8. Challenge the children to think about their actions. Are they passing on happiness to others this summer? Are they thinking about other people’s feelings and trying their best to keep those in school joined together in a happy chain of people, rather than a sad one?

Time for reflection

Ask the following questions, pausing to allow time for thought after each one.

- How could you make someone else happy today?
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Have you made someone sad recently?
Pause to allow time for thought.

- Do you need to go to that person, say sorry and put things right?
Pause to allow time for thought.

Remind the children that we all have our part to play in making each other’s summers happy.

There is something very special about making other people happy; it can often make us feel great too!

Dear God,
Thank you for all the people who make us happy.
Thank you for beautiful summer days when we can play outside and feel warm and excited.
Please help us to do our part in making everyone else’s summer happy.
Thank you that we can even bring happiness by something as simple as a smile.


‘Don’t worry, be happy’ by Bobby McFerrin, available at: (4.54 minutes long)

Publication date: July 2021   (Vol.23 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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