Smile Jar of Activities for Kids (Free Printable)

We’ve got a fun boatload of activities in one jar for the kids and family to enjoy this summer!

It’ll bring some love, fun, and laughter, and it’s something for kids to look forward to each day. These are fun staycation ideas and for spending more time at home too.

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We’ve got 40 free printable cards (plus 10 blank ones), each meant to bring a little fun or love into the day. They center on the happy simple joys and bringing smiles, and are great for ages 3-12 (pre-k & primary grades).

It’s our Smile Jar:

You can customize the assortment by removing some or adding your own. They are wonderful for helping to teach social and emotional learning (SEL)!

In addition to crafts, games, and fun activities, we also included ideas that foster kindness and appreciation, while keeping social distancing in mind.

Many of the ideas encourage connecting with nature – whether it’s getting outside for play, taking a nature walk, or crafting with seashells & rocks.

And since we’re ocean lovers, we geared a few of the ideas to celebrate the sea too.

For some splashingly fun ocean picture books, check out our author page on Amazon and explore our site for more activities.

Summer is such a fun time for ocean adventures!

Most of the smile jar ideas are screen-free, giving easy tech-free activities to give the screens a little break. There’s music, movement, reading, playing, eco-friendly activities, and more!

Teachers can modify this by having a smile jar at each station and selecting specific ones for an art station, literacy or reading station, movement and music, and kindness in the classroom. So fun!

Oh, and this would make a sweet DIY gift idea to share with a family with little ones too.

The jar itself can be decorated, a fun project in itself. You can upcycle or recycle a tub, jar, or container and use craft materials you have to decorate it.

We kept it simple with our printable “Smile Jar” label and a turquoise ribbon:

Then, add our free printable cards to the jar!

1. Print them out on paper or card stock (we used card stock)

TIP: you may want to print the first page on a different color, since these ideas take a little more time or prep. That way, it’ll make choosing them based on available time easier!

2. Cut them apart

3. Fold them & seal closed with a sticker if desired (we used some that came with our planner)

4. Place them in the jar

5. Decide how you want to interact with the jar. Ideas:

  • Have your child or children pull a random card when you wish (or at a certain time in the day), open it, and do the activity!
    • The kids can take turns pulling cards, or pull one card each and all kids participate in each activity.
  • Pull 1-3 cards in the morning and decide when you’ll do them that day
  • If it’s a pretty quick activity that was drawn, feel free to draw another
  • Also feel free to put the card back in the jar (or not), depending on your preference

If you decide to start with all of our smile cards in the jar, the following items would be good to have on hand (many of which you possibly already do):

  • coloring book + crayons
  • watercolor paints + paper
  • a frozen treat of your choice (frozen juice popsicle, smoothie, etc.)
  • a bottle of blowing bubbles with wand
  • seashells + craft items
  • rocks + paint
  • clay or play dough
  • Hawaiian music (or substitute other music)
  • board game
  • jigsaw puzzle
  • note card + postage stamp
  • beanbags to toss + hula hoop
  • photo frame
  • baking mix or recipe/ingredients for cookies or treat of your choice
  • book
  • picture book (check out our ocean picture books on Amazon!)

We hope you have a blast this summer, and that these ideas help bring smiles and joy to your home!

Live porpoisefully, The Taylors

Disclaimer: All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

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