The second day of our Mindful Minis holiday program was super cool (excuse the pun!) Today the theme was “Winter Wonderland” in keeping with our overall theme of “Holiday Adventures”. Despite all being South African children, they were very knowledgeable about snow and the fun one can have in a snowy Winter Wonderland.
I started off the class with our emotional weather report. We all checked into what we were feeling and shared with the group. I did my best to draw each child a face on a sticker to depict what they were feeling. I then reminded the children about tuning into their bodies and giving themselves space to listen to their bodies. As adults we often just “carry on” and don’t take a moment to listen to what our bodies need. It is important for child to understand how important they are and how important their bodies are, and that by stopping for a few moments to hear what their bodies are trying to tell them, they will sometimes be able to stop a build-up of difficult and intense feelings.
We got rid of some extra energy by singing, dancing and playing the freeze game. In this game, we acted out various activities that commonly happen in the snow such as shivering, skiing and building a snowman. There was great enthusiasm for being snow angels. During the breathing exercises, we stayed with the snow theme and had great fun taking a deep breath in and then a fast breath out as we pretended to throw snowballs at each other. There was much laughter and happiness during this exercise. We also mimicked snowflakes falling by taking a deep breath in and then a long, slow breath out signifying the snowflakes falling gently to the ground. And lastly we practiced toboggan breath where we held our breath for 5 counts while pretending to ride fast down a scary, steep slope on a toboggan.
Next up was a Mindful tactile exercise – making fake snow! By mixing bicarb and shaving cream, we managed to make something that was cold to touch (amazing!) and had the soft, crumbly quality of real snow. The kids thoroughly enjoyed this sensory exercise.
Then it was time for the guided visualisation. I asked them to imagine themselves as a snowman standing in a magical, snow-covered garden. A little bird came hopping along leaving tiny footprints in the snow. I reminded the children to stay very still since snowmen don’t move and the bird would get a huge fright to see a moving snowman! After noticing the beauty all around them, I asked the kids to feel the warm sun slowly melting their snowman bodies. I asked them to visualise their bodies melting and dripping into the ground. I asked them to notice how the different parts of their bodies relaxed as they melted into the ground. This is a wonderful exercise to help children let go. It helps them to allow all their tensions, worries and concerns to melt away so they can let their bodies relax fully.
As per usual, we ended the guided visualisation by thanking ourselves for the special relaxation time. We then said our empowering mantras and reminded ourselves that we are important. The class ended off with the children each building their own snowman. I had made dough using bicarb and corn starch which I scented with peppermint essence. I added some pearly white glitter and a few hundreds and thousands to give it a magical look. The kids had great fun getting their hands dirty in the soft, sticky dough. They decorated the most beautiful snowmen which will hopefully dry hard in the next 24 hours.
It was a very hands-on, sensory class and the kids all did so well in drawing attention to what they were feeling. A few were hesitant to keep their hands messy and sticky for long but they noticed and identified when the sensory experience got too much for them. Absolutely fantastic to see! They were spot on with listening to their bodies and knowing when it was all too much which is what today was all about!
“Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself.” ~ Eckhard Tolle