There are a lot of things you learn while living under quarantine. For example, you learn the importance of rationing. The best way to avoid a needless trip to the grocery store is stop snacking and keep a stringent eye on your toilet paper. You also learn the value of hobbies because nothing makes the hours drag on like sitting around with nothing to do. For my part, I’ve learned the value of a good laugh.

It might sound cliché but I’m being serious. The situation outside is pretty grim, and that gloominess has a way of seeping into you. This is especially true for students, who are currently dealing with the frustration of cancelled classes, abandoned graduations, and the prospect of a summer spent indoors. As educators, we should always create opportunities for healthy social-emotional growth, both for ourselves and for our students. Sometimes the best way to accomplish this is by helping them remember how to smile.

Here are just a few fun activities to make your kids smile:

Funny Read-Alouds for Growing Readers I K-3

Nothing puts a smile on someone’s face like a good book. Get your young readers laughing out loud with picture book stories designed to tickle their funny bone. For students K-3, consider The Book with No Pictures, which will not only strengthen their reading comprehension but show them that books don’t need illustrations to be fun. Or simply go entertainment value with something like We Found a Hat. Don’t worry if these aren’t on your bookshelf, there are countless read-aloud videos your students can use to listen, learn, and laugh with just a click!

Snow Fluff I K-6

Those of us in the upper Midwest have been “enjoying” the frequent snowfalls these past couple weeks. However, if you’re in a warmer area and would like one last taste of winter, consider trying the Snow Fluff experiment. Have your students use cornstarch and shaving cream to create their own snow, then take the opportunity to create a snowman or a snow angel. Just make sure you’re prepared for a little cleanup afterwards!

Stop Motion Movies! I K-12

While quarantine is helping us prevent the spread, it’s also bringing out many people’s inner artist. Why not encourage your kids to try their hand at a funny stop-motion video? After all, it doesn’t take a huge budget, fancy equipment, and famous actors to create an awesome film. Encourage your students to design a stop motion video about a funny family vacation and share it with their peers. Alternatively, you could have them use media to recount a time they laughed so hard they cried! Watching these videos is sure to bring on a smile.

Tandem Stories I K-12

Tandem stories are simple to execute so long as your students have internet access. First, divide your students up into pairs. Then, give them each a character and an inciting incident. One student will begin writing a story before emailing it to their partner after a set period. It’s possible they’ll work together to write a clever, coherent adventure, but it’s more likely they’ll both take the narrative in wildly different directions. It will be complete pandemonium, but that’s what makes it fun!

Bill Nye Saves the World I 9-12

When all else fails, turn to television. This Netflix series stars Emmy-winning host Bill Nye from your favorite childhood science videos, Bill Nye the Science Guy. Be warned, this version of the show is aimed at a much older audience and contains mature language and content. Regardless, Nye brings his signature charm and enthusiasm to this new laboratory, along with famous guests who explore scientific issues which touch our lives. Not only will your students discover about a variety of current issues, they’ll get the chance to laugh as they learn!

We Hope you all are staying safe, healthy, and curious! For more free educational resources, check out these new options at Blueappleteacher.og!