Mindful Minis had a great start to our holiday program today. The theme for the 3-day program is “Holiday Adventures” and today we had lots of fun at the funfair in our imaginations.
I started off the class by reminding the children what Mindfulness is and the ways in which we practise Mindfulness. We then warmed up our bodies by shaking all our sillies out (singing and acting out the “Shake my Sillies” song). Afterwards I played the Popcorn Freeze game with the kids where they had to bounce on their mats like popping popcorn until the music stopped. It was a successful way to get rid of all the extra energy!
Funfairs are usually filled with balloon sellers so during the breathing exercises, I asked the children to notice how their tummies grew like a balloon as they breathed in and then deflated as they breathed out. They also did some pretzel breathing, ice-cream breathing and even some scary roller coaster breathing. All the breath work really helped them to relax and find calm.
Next I did a delicious Mindful Eating exercise with the children. They each got a marshmallow and I asked them to notice its colour, shape, etc. Then I asked them to comment on how it felt e.g. squishy and soft. Lastly I asked them to smell and lick it. I asked them if the smell and taste reminded them of anything. Strawberries was the answer! Then they got to eat it – after much anticipation! Encouragingly, they chewed slowly and purposefully, and it seemed that they really noticed the great tastes in their mouths.
After all the eating, it was time for some Mindful Movement. We acted out riding around a bumper car track. With legs straight out in front of us while sitting, we pushed the accelerator and brake by pointing our feet one at a time. As we got bumped by other cars, we were “pushed” forwards to touch our toes. Then we had to quickly avoid other cars that were whizzing in front of us by drawing up our knees close to our chests. Finally, the bumper car fun came to an end and it was time for the guided visualisation.
The kids were really still and quiet during the visualisation. It was great to see their bodies relax and let go. In the visualisation I took them on a very fast and out of control roller coaster that was whizzing all over the place. But they learnt to focus on their breath, to keep it slow and steady, and in doing so they noticed how they can keep calm when everything around them gets crazy and overwhelming. I encouraged them to use this technique at any time during the day when things get too busy. I reminded them how easy it is simply to focus on their breath and take a deep breath in and out. It is an incredibly simple technique that goes a long way in helping one stay calm when things get too crazy.
After saying our empowering mantras, we ended off the class with some artwork of colouring in ice-cream mandalas. The word “mandala” means circle in Sanskrit. We see mandalas all around us in nature all the time. It is wonderfully relaxing for children to colour in mandalas and it is a great exercise for encouraging children to stay focused. And of course, probably most importantly, it’s fun!
It was a wonderful class and I loved teaching it!
“Peace – it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~ author unknown