10 Ways to Spread Joy in Your Classroom

The holiday season is just around the corner. These few weeks leading up to the holidays can be stressful for students and teachers, with tests, grades and holiday travel.

If you want to make your classroom a happier place this time of the year, we've have your back. As part of generationOn's Joy Maker Challenge, we're sharing 10 ways you can make your classroom a more joyous place to be!

Host a mini-food drive for a local food bank.

Colder temperatures often places added stress on food banks. Have your students ask their parent or guardian if there are any extra cans or non-perishable food items at home that they could bring in as part of a classroom-wide donation to your local food bank.

Talk to your students about the significance of diversity.

Not everyone celebrates the holidays in the same way. By hosting an activity where kids and teens learn to identify and value difference, students can take the time to understand the significance of diversity in their classroom and community. You can use this project guide to learn how to get started.

Help spread holiday cheer in your community.

Come together and spread cheer as a class or school for the Joy Maker Challenge! Spreading joy doesn't take a lot of time and even the smallest acts of service can make a big impact! Plus, joining the challenge means kids in need will get a toy or game for the holidays, so double your impact and sign up today!

Make festive decorations for a local senior center.

Let your students get creative by creating festive decorations to donate to a local senior center, retirement or nursing home! Many seniors don't have the opportunity to spend the holidays with the people they love, so making snowflakes and other holiday decorations may be just the thing to brighten their day!

Teach your students about the power of giving back.

Teach your students about the importance of civil society and the importance of giving back. Serving the community is something students of any age can grasp. Through our partnership with Learning to Give, you can find lesson plans on civil society for any grade level.

Start a happiness club!

Use collegiate happiness clubs as inspiration to start your own generationOn Club! Clubs can choose projects based on their community's needs and have access to resources and mini-grant opportunities through our website. You can visit the generationOn Clubs page to learn more and get started.

Help students understand the issues of homelessness and poverty.

Homelessness and poverty are hard topics, but learning about them can lead to finding ways to spread joy to those who need it most. Younger kids can learn about how selfless acts bring people happiness and can help them out of a bad situation and older kids and teens can discuss how to tackle these issues. Use these lesson plans on homelessness, hunger and poverty to get the conversation started.

Design holiday cards to send to military families or troops abroad.

The holidays can be hard for military families who are often separated because of deployments. Knowing someone is thinking of them can help them feel better and lift their spirits! Have your students design "caring cards" and write heartwarming messages inside to show them you care!

Take time to help students reflect.

The weeks leading up to winter break can be especially stressful on students. Encourage them to take the time to reflect on the importance of volunteering and giving back. You can use our reflection guides to come up with questions that help students focus on what the holidays are truly about.

Make no-sew blankets for families in shelters.

When the weather gets cold, who doesn't want to curl up with hot chocolate and a warm blanket? Unfortunately, many people don't have access to thick blankets because of their transition into a homeless shelter or foster care. Have your students create no-sew blankets to give to shelters or agencies that give the recipient a warm hug to comfort them when the temperatures drop!

Now in its seventh year, the Joy Maker Challenge, sponsored by Hasbro, inspires kids and teens to complete acts of kindness or volunteer service to spread joy in their communities and around the world. For every kid or teen who participates, Hasbro will donate a toy or game to Toys for Tots - up to $1 million worth!

You can participate and be entered to win awesome grants and prizes by going to generationOn.org/joymaker, sharing your acts of kindness or volunteer service, and uploading a photo and story!