Highlights from a past class

holiday workshop (jul 2017, day 1) – smell

guiding children in mindfulness

There were smiles all round today at the first day of the Mindful Minis Holiday Workshop. There were some new faces who joined us for the first time, and a couple of seasoned Mindful Minis so a good mix! The theme for this workshop is about drawing attention to the present moment using our various senses. Since sight is the most dominant and we use it all the time, the focus of the workshop is on the other 4 senses.

Today we explored the sense of smell. We spoke about how powerful the sense of smell can be. It can cause our bodies to react in different ways. We discussed how horrid smells can leave us feeling nauseous (and then the kids digressed a bit and discussed all the different horrid smells that the kids had smelt, ranging from baby sister’s poo nappy to rotten food in the school dustbin!). We discussed how some pleasant smells, like cookies baking in the oven, can leave us feeling hungry. We also spoke about how our sense of smell can protect us – so if we smell smoke, we know to be careful because there might be a fire.

We then played a game of “Guess the Nose”. Each child got a turn to roll the dice and choose the corresponding card off the board. Behind each card was an animal’s nose and they needed to guess which animal it was. The kids loved this and it ended up being a team effort with much laughter.

We then moved onto a mindful smelling exercise. I passed around 10 jars with different scents – vanilla essence, vinegar, citrus peel, rose water, coconut shampoo, bubble bath, coffee, cat food, peanut butter and mint leaves. Each child got a chance to smell all the scents. We then discussed which scents they favoured and which they disliked. Vanilla essence and the bubble bath came up tops with the cat food and vinegar being very much at the bottom. Some of the facial expressions when sniffing these two were priceless!

In keeping with the theme of “smell”, we then read the story “Who Flung Dung?” by Ben Redlich. We acted out the different yoga poses for the various animals in the story. There was the traditional cobra pose for the python, lion breath for the lion, eagle pose for the vulture and more. My favourite was the pose we did for a hippo peeping out above the water – heel sitting with knees apart, chest on the ground and chin on hands.

After our mindful movement session, we had a quick refreshment break and then moved onto some artwork. The children had a wonderful sensory experience creating scented pictures. I asked them to draw a picture that might involve smell and then use the herbs and spices provided to add real scent to their picture. There were some wonderfully creative pictures. A restaurant scene with someone eating “scented” food, trees filled with exotic fruits that were “scented”, beautiful flowers that had been “scented” with different smells and a scented birthday cake!

So, a lovely start to the Holiday Workshop and I look forward to exploring the wonderful world of sound with the children tomorrow.