The Happiness Box
Help your children to develop skills for happiness AND build positive climate in your family or in the classroom using validated positive psychology interventions.
Based on the latest research and practice of positive psychology, these funky cards can be used to play three different games, from more traditional “Happy Families” or “Go Fish” to facilitating daily actions that contribute to a positive mindset, such as mindfulness, savouring, expressing positive emotions, realising one’s strengths or acquiring confidence and optimism.
The Happiness Box can be used with various age groups, in different contexts and applied to varied needs. It consists of 42 cards, divided into 7 families of 6 cards each. Children can learn strategies from members of the CONFIDENT, FIT, OPTIMISTIC, PLEASURE, CREATIVE, SOCIABLE or PEACEFUL families.
The Happiness Box was developed by Dr Ilona Boniwell, a researcher and practitioner in positive psychology and Laure Reynaud, a teacher with 18 years of experience.
Happiness Box is designed for children of kindergarten and primary school age. However, we have found that adults can have as much, if not more, fun as children when the game is used in training or over dinner. The Happiness Box can be used in a family setting or as an education/facilitation tool.
As a classic game
- Happy Families / Go Fish
One of the players, chosen at random, deals out 7 cards to all the players, one by one. The remaining cards form the pile.
The person to the dealer’s left begins the game. If they have at least one card from a family, they can try to complete it by asking any player for a specific card which they don’t have and which they want. For this they say: “in the FIT family….I want card 3. Come on, let’s dance…”. Careful! A player can only ask for a card from a particular family if they already have one in their hand.
If the other player has the card they must hand it over. If the asking player obtains the card that they wanted they may play again. If they don’t get the card they asked for, they must then draw the top card from the pile. If the card drawn is the one asked for, the asker says “lucky draw”, shows it to the other players and gets another turn. If the card drawn is not the one wanted the turn now passes to the player on the left who can ask for the card they want.
If a player has a whole family (all 6 cards), they place all the cards of the family in front of them. The game ends when there are no more cards in the pile and each of the families is grouped together. All that remains to do is to count the number of complete families belonging to each player AND try out some of the activities described.
As a positive psychology intervention
- A moment to share
Do the activity suggested on the card. The activities are generally short and can be completed between two lessons, between two exercises (in class), during a meal or at a moment between friends or family (in the car, at home etc.)
How to choose the card or the activity? At random from the 42 cards in the game, depending on the skill which needs to be worked on (confidence, sociability etc.), the time available (5 minutes, 10 minutes, one hour); or even the objective of the activity itself (example: to relax through respiratory exercises, mindfulness exercises etc.)
As a training activity
- Family hunt
Depending on the size of the group, each participant is handed between 1 to 3 cards, each from a different family. Their task is to collect the cards from the same family (by exchanging with others) and then find their own family members. When the complete family gets together, they must first perform all the exercises on their cards and then prepare a fun presentation of their family to others, demonstrating some of all of the exercises.