Did you know that if someone smiles at you, you’re bound to smile back? A smile often expresses encouragement to someone or serves as a warm greeting. If you aren’t smiling enough these days, World Smile Day on Friday, October 7th is the perfect day to start.
In 1963, Harvey Ball created the familiar yellow smiley face. A commercial artist from Massachusetts, Ball created the smiley face design for a State Mutual Life Insurance company campaign. Ball aimed to spread goodwill and cheer throughout the world with his smiley face. Through the years, Ball became concerned his image was becoming too commercialized and the original intent of the smiley face was getting lost. However, Ball never copyrighted the design. To bring back the original meaning of his smiley face, Ball declared the first Friday of October annually would be dedicated to smiles. He called it World Smile Day. World Smile Day devotes a day to smiles and spreading random acts of kindness. On World Smile Day, people worldwide are encouraged to do an act of kindness and make one person smile. Ball died in 2001, and shortly afterward, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was founded. Since then, the foundation serves as the official sponsor of the happy observance day.
You can organize your own World Smile Day event for your classroom or center. Some fun things you can do:
- Do a random act of kindness for another teacher or parent.
- Teach the children about random acts of kindness then allow them to come up with their own ideas or by creating a board with ideas of what they could do-give someone a compliment, helping another child clean up, be a partner with someone new, etc.
- Pass out smiley face stickers.
- Have a contest among classrooms, such as who does the best decorations with smiley faces or which classroom does the most acts of kindness.
- Give a smile to everyone you come across.
- Tell someone a funny joke.
- Play happy songs like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.
Fun Facts about Smiling:
- Smiling uses anywhere from 5 to 53 muscles in your face.
- Researchers have identified that there are 19 types of smiles.
- According to research studies, women smile more often than men.
- Babies are born with the ability to smile.
- Smiles are the most easily recognizable facial expression.
- Smiles are a universal sign of happiness.
- Smiles cost nothing but create so much.
In addition, there are many health benefits of smiling:
- Improves mood and can lower blood pressure
- Can relieve stress and pain
- Improves relationships
- Boosts the immune system
- Increases life expectancy
Who wouldn’t want all those benefits? All it takes is smiling. And the more often, the better!
So, turn that frown upside down and remember when you smile (hopefully) the whole world smiles with you!