Today’s Mindful Minis holiday workshop had the theme “Secrets of the Sandman”. We started off with a recap of what mindfulness is. Some of the children enthusiastically shared with me that they had been doing their Mindful Minis Morning Clap. I have been encouraging the children to clap their hands really hard when they wake up in the morning and to notice what they feel. Pins and needles? Itchiness? Ticklish? Numbness? This is a simple way for children to tune into their bodies and be able to pay attention to what their bodies are feeling.
We then did some breathing exercises and learnt a new petal-breathing exercise. This is a great one to fully fill the lungs and get rid of all the old, stale air. We also sang the “Hokey Pokey” and “Dance your happy” which I think are both becoming favourite action songs for the group.
I then introduced the theme to the children and we discussed who the Sandman is. One little boy has a storybook at home all about the Sandman so he was able to share with the class that this imaginary figure is someone who comes out at night to put people to sleep and to bring them good dreams by sprinkling special sand in their eyes. Another little boy then asked the question “But how does he not set off the alarm?”. The reality of living in South Africa. Funny, but sad at the same time.
We then shared “secrets” by playing the popular broken telephone game. I whispered a phrase into the ear of the child sitting on my left. They in turned whispered it to the child on their left and so on. I started with the phrase “Every night at 7 o’ clock, the Sandman calls for me”. This came out as “The sand comes at 7 o clock every day”. Pretty close! The next phrase I whispered was “I always know when he is near, though him I never see”. This one seemed to be a bit trickier since it came out as “He always hides it in the sea”. The kids had a great laugh!
I then read them the full poem about the Sandman (words in attached picture).
We then moved onto some sensory work. We did some mindful walking to the sandpit outside noticing how the ground felt under our bare feet. The children noticed the veranda tiles felt hot, the grass felt soft and the sand felt scratchy. Some every unfortunately stood on a stone or two that felt sore! I then asked all the children to bury their feet in the sand and notice how that felt. Many said cold and scratchy. A few said wet. One said the sand felt delicate when he wiggled his toes as though it was about to break open.
I then explained that I had hidden some pebbles and some treasure in the sandpit that they needed to find. I encouraged them to notice their feelings of excitement around looking for buried treasure and to notice how the sand felt on their skin, hands and under their fingernails. Finally, after much laughter and searching, they each managed to find a pebble and the buried treasure: a box of gold, chocolate coins!
We then did some artwork turning the pebbles into pet rocks. The kids used earbuds to paint the pebbles and once dry, we stuck on some googly eyes. The results were very sweet.
After the tea break, we had some more fun with the “Ram sam sam” action song. Then it was time for more breathing exercises and finally we relaxed into the guided visualisation. I led them in a meditation where they imagined themselves traveling to the Island of Calm. I encouraged them to notice the waves, salty air and dolphins around them as they sailed along. When they got to the island, they noticed some tall trees with juicy fruits. They were allowed to eat the fruits and again I encouraged them to notice all the various tastes. Then I suggested that they found a treasure map hidden in the sand. On following the map, they found a special, magical book hidden in the sand. This book had a photo of them on the cover and inside was pictures of all the things that make them happy. Their very own happiness book! I suggested that if the children are ever feeling a bit down or alone, they can go back in their minds to the Island of Calm and open their happiness book and remember all the things that make them feel happy.
It was then time to join hands in a circle and say the Mindful Minis Mantra. I handed out paper and crayons for the children to draw the Island of Calm that they saw in their minds during the visualisation. There were wonderful pictures of palm trees, boats and happiness books!
Despite the hot weather, it was another fun-filled morning with a wonderful sense of calm during the guided visualisation. That’s it for the holiday workshop. Lessons will resume again next year on Friday 20th Jan 2017.
Happy holidays everyone!