The last day of our Mindful Minis holiday program was great fun. Today we went on an adventure to the seaside in our imaginations. Always a favourite with young kids. We reminded ourselves of all the wonderful things one can do at the seaside – building sandcastles, catching crabs, exploring rock pools, swimming and surfing!
After checking in and sharing with the group how everyone was feeling, we did some funky dance movements. Pushing pineapples and grinding coffee, we were thrown back in time to the mid-80s on the island of Waikiki bopping to the Agadoo-doo-doo song! I had forgotten how catchy the tune is and the song has been playing in my head ever since teaching the class.
After lots of dancing, we did some animal movements. We waddled about like penguins on the beach, jumped some starfish star jumps, waved our arms about in big movements like octopus and used our arms to mimic a shark’s jaws chomping. Lots of big movements to get the blood flowing through our bodies.
Then it was time to take some deep breaths. During our breathing exercises, we did some pufferfish breathing which helped us to be aware of how our stomachs expand when we breathe in and deflate when we breathe out. We copied a whale blowing water out through his spout when we did our whale breathing. We also mimicked an eel hiding still behind the rocks when we held our breaths and kept our bodies very, very still.
Next we did some Mindful movement by pretending to run down to the beach for a surf. We ran on the spot on our mats. Then we jumped down onto our tummies and pretended to paddle out to sea over the breakers. We waited for the right wave and then jumped up onto our boards in warrior pose and rode the wave back to the beach. The kids had great fun surfing and even made up a few of their own surfing poses. Finally, it was time to relax and we lay down on our surfboards, floating in the ocean, enjoying the warm sun on our bodies.
As the children relaxed on their mats, I led them in a guided visualisation to the Island of Calm. They started off by sailing in a boat, feeling the breeze on their skin. A school of dolphins swam along next to the boat for a while and I suggested they reach out to touch a dolphin and feel its smooth, slippery skin. The boat reached an exotic island covered with trees that bore a variety of brightly coloured fruit. I asked the children to take a bite from the biggest fruit they could see and notice the wonderful flavours in their mouths as they tasted the sweet juice.
Then, as they walked down the beach, they noticed a piece of paper in the sand. On picking up the paper, they saw it was a treasure map! I guided them in following the treasure map to the spot marked x. As they dug in the sand, I asked them to notice how the sand felt colder and wetter the deeper they dug. Then their fingers touched something hard. As they pulled the object out, they noticed it was a book with a picture of themselves on the cover. They carefully looked at the book and saw that it was filled with pictures of things that they love and that make them happy. Their very own special happiness book! I asked them to notice how calm and relaxed they felt as they looked at the pictures of all things that make them happy. I suggested that whenever they are feeling lonely or sad, they can remember their happiness book. All that they need to do is find a quiet space to sit or lie down and then let themselves swim to the Island of Calm in their minds and find their happiness book. I reminded them that they can take as much time as they need to read the book and remember all the things that they love and that make them happy. This is a very empowering technique to help children find a quiet space where they can feel confident and happy.
We then joined hands in a circle and said the wonderful mantras which encourages the children to be kind and calm. They were all very eager to start the artwork and draw some beautiful beach scenes. There was real beach sand to sprinkle over glue and some green crepe paper to use as leaves or seaweed. A few of the children drew themselves with their happiness books which was so heart-warming to see.
So the first holiday program for Mindful Minis draws to an end. A very happy and successful 3 days. Lots of smiles all round.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” ~ Mother Teresa