Mindful Minis had a great start to our holiday workshop today. The theme for today was “The Magic Carpet Ride”. We had lots of fun using various activities such as artwork, breathing exercises, mindful movement and guided visualisations to explore the different ways in which we can be mindful and experience the benefits of practising mindfulness.
For some of the children attending today’s session, it was their first introduction to mindfulness. I started off the class by explaining what mindfulness is and the ways in which we can practise mindfulness. I used the wonderful glitter jar analogy to explain how when we go about our usual day, our minds can get very busy like all the glitter moving around in the jar when we shake it. But when we practise mindfulness, our minds are calmed and we have clarity just like the water clears in the jar when we stop shaking it. This is a powerful prop to explain the concept of mindfulness to young children.
We then warmed up our bodies by dancing out some of our energy. We sang the “Shake my Sillies” song and no class with the word “magic” in the title is complete without some “Hocus Pocus” so next we sang and danced the Hokey Pokey! The kids loved it and it was great to hear their little voices sing loud and strong albeit slightly out of tune! We then listen to a delightful children’s poem about a magic carpet ride to set the scene.
We then traveled on our magic carpet to join Aladdin in Arabia – the land of spices. The first mindfulness exercise used herbs and spices to get the children to use their senses. I passed around a variety of spices and herbs that the children got to feel, smell and some even dared to taste! Some of the spices were in an unusual form e.g. cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon but it was lovely to see the children still made certain associations such as “these sticks smell of pancakes!” The children then used the herbs and spices to create their own mandala pictures. The result was beautiful, textured mandalas with wonderful aromas!
We then did some breath work in order to prepare for a short, guided relaxation about flying. The children responded well to the relaxation and those that got to use the weighted blankets commented on how calm and relaxed the blankets made them feel. After saying the Mindful Minis Mantra, we had a short break, some refreshments and a bit of a run around in the garden.
After the tea break, we did a bit more dancing and jumping around. It really helps the children to settle if they have had an opportunity to release any pent-up energy. In the next activity, the children made the most gorgeous flying carpets of their own. Cutting out various patterns of coloured paper, the results were beautiful, brightly coloured carpets that would look amazing in any home!
We ended off the morning with a guided visualisation about a special flying carpet that could take the children anywhere they wanted to go. I encouraged the children to really immerse themselves in their special place and envision it in detail. I asked them to look closely around at all they could see, listen carefully for any sounds and pay attention to all the smells in their special place. The children really seemed to enjoy choosing and imagining their own favourite place. There were lots of happy faces all quietly relaxing.
And before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. It was a lovely morning. One little girl warmed my heart when the first thing she said to her mom when she came to fetch her was “Mommy, please, please can I come back tomorrow!”