Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness Activities

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Would you say your bucket is half full or half empty? Check out this lesson for ideas for activities that your students can do to learn more about kindness and anti-bullying in order to fill up their bucket of happiness!

A Bucket Full of Happiness

Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness by Carol McCloud points out ways to deal with bullies, choose good friends, and handle negative people. After reading this book with your class, there are many activities that bring this book to life and show kids how to make themselves and others happy.

Activities for Kids

Act It Out

Some students really enjoy getting up in front of their classmates. With this activity, students get to act out different scenarios to show ways that they could fill up their buckets.


  • Volunteers to participate in acting something out (entire class or at least five students from your class)
  • Notebooks or scratch paper
  • Pencils
  • Possible props
  • Typed or written scenarios for students to act out
    • Examples: how to handle a bully at the playground, how to handle teasing at lunch, and standing up for someone on the bus.


  • Students will receive a specific scenario that teaches a lesson on how to fill up your bucket with happiness.
  • Students will have time to discuss and practice their scenario either with partners or as a small group.
  • Students will act out their scenario in front of the class.
  • Observe students discussing and/or writing about how the problem in the scenario was solved.
  • As a class, discuss other possible solutions that would help fill the bucket.

Ways to Fill a Bucket

In this activity, students collaborate to come up with ways to fill a bucket.

  • Ask students to create a list of ways to fill a bucket. Students can use their own ideas as well as pull ideas from the book. This can be done as an entire class, in partners, or with small groups.
  • After students are provided time to work, compile a total list as a class. This may be created on anything permanent such as: popsicle sticks to store in a cup, index cards, a large poster board, a computer document, etc.
  • Now that you created a list as an entire class, you could choose one filler each day/week for students to try to meet. It can be accomplished either in the class or at home. Example: Say something nice to someone or pay someone a compliment.

Classroom Bucket Fillers

Interactive Bulletin Boards are a great way to incorporate filling a bucket for each child in your classroom.


  • Interactive Bulletin Board - either on a wall, a bulletin board, or a door
    • Create a space for every student's name to be displayed on a cup or envelope that will hold pieces of paper or popsicle sticks.
  • Bucket Filler Ideas (see 'Ways to Fill a Bucket' activity in this lesson)


  • Prepare a bulletin board display that is interactive. Each student in the class should have a special spot or 'bucket' on the bulletin board.
  • Throughout the day/week, students will fill their own buckets and others' buckets.
  • Encourage students to say or do nice things for others. Monitor students' buckets on the board to make sure each student is receiving bucket fillers.
    • Example of giving a bucket filler to someone: You write a note telling someone they are kind or good at something. Then, you place the note in their bucket.
    • Example of your own bucket filler: You see someone standing by themselves at the playground and you ask them to play with you. Then, you write a brief description of this event and place it in your own bucket as well as the bucket of the person you helped.
  • If you notice someone's bucket is not being filled, talk with your students or fill it yourself.


  • Possibly once a day/week, pull someone's bucket filler out of their cup/envelope to share the happiness that occurred. Give this bucket filler a special highlight.
  • Ask students to share a special bucket filler.

Confidence Cookies

Students get to build their own confidence with this activity.


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