On November 21, child psychologist Svitlana Roiz and the “Smart Osvita” NGO announced the launch of a new game, “The Power of Smile”. The game promotes relaxation, closer contact with the body, and emotional healing.
It is available for free download and printing here.
“Smart Osvita” will also send printed games to schools in vulnerable areas of Ukraine. Please follow the link to register your school and receive the free games.
“The Power of Smile” can be used in a group or with just one player. Children from the age of 4 can play. For a team, the number of participants is unlimited.
“The Power of Smile” is a very simple, fun, kind, very frivolous project, on the one hand, and the other hand, a deep and practical project. It is both a game for all ages and a therapeutic practice. And a practical tool for getting to know emotions and regulating emotions. Our entire team wants sincere smiles for all of us in this difficult time,” comments Svitlana Roiz, the author, a child and family psychologist.
The game includes templates of 12 different smiles with captions (happy, sad, kissing, confident, vampire smile, mocking, shy, caring…, etc.) that you can cut out, stick on a stick (tube, spoon), or bring to your face. There is also a poster with a circle of emotions that can be hung on the wall at home or in the classroom and postcards with smiles. You can print them out, color them, use them for yourself, or send them as gifts to whomever you want.
How to use the game?
- you can look at yourself in the mirror, trying on these different types of smiles and studying yourself;
- take a selfie and send it to someone;
- approach someone with this smile;
- start a smile flash mob in your classroom;
- play a game with someone or in a group and ask them to guess what kind of smile it is;
- sign and send a postcard with a smile (they are included in the kit);
- try on the smile and recite the poem with the appropriate intonation;
- teachers can invite a child experiencing anxiety to use one of the templates when answering the questions on the board or to recall an event that made them smile.
Among the auxiliary elements of the game is a poster with a “circle of emotions” that can be printed and hung on the wall of a room or group in a kindergarten or classroom. This is to help children get used to self-knowledge and express their different emotions and states. And by the faces on the poster, they learned to recognize them in others. The poster demonstrated different emotions, but the sector with happiness is the largest to become a resource for children.
Do we need permission to smile for ourselves now? Even more, we need permission to have joy and play. When we see a smile, the mirror system starts working in us, and we smile back (even if it is drawn on a template). Then, we revitalize.
The game’s creators also provide detailed comments in the instructions on the possibilities of leisure with “The Power of Smile” and various explanations about the very nature of smiling and stress. So, behind every smile is the work of facial muscles. And when we experience stress, our muscles spasm. And in many adults and children, we can now observe a “traumatic mask” – a face that does not express emotions.
When we affect the body, we simultaneously affect our state – the emotional sphere and the level of our thoughts. And this affects our behavior and our choices. Scientists distinguish 19 main types of typical movements of the lips (eyes and eyebrows) that “express the tendency to laugh”. The instructions include a description of the facial muscles and a suggestion for “revitalizing” them.
The facial muscles are connected to the activity of the vagus nerve (responsible for the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system for the ability to relax and recover).
“So this game is fun, mimicry gymnastics, a therapeutic workshop, and a way to regain the ability to look at yourself or to withstand the gaze of others (if you play in a pair or group), and the possibility of contact and intimacy. The manual contains suggestions on how to play with groups of children, how to play by yourself,” explains Svitlana Roiz.
The impulse of a smile has the power to be transmitted. Then, the process will be perceived as a game, and the game is what can unlock the limbic system, which is now constantly tuned to respond to dangers. The impact on the bodily and emotional levels will occur in different variants of smiling games. This will help children learn different emotional states and develop the ability to distinguish between them. The game will also return permission and the ability to express positive emotions.
The project was created by:
- author Svitlana Roiz;
- editor Tetiana Stus;
- designers Roman and Olena Marchyshyn;
- illustrator Inna Cherniak;
- project manager Iryna Petriv.
The game was created with the support of the Educo Foundation.