Highlights from a past class

holiday workshop (jul 2017, day 4) – taste

Guiding children in mindfulness

Today was the final day of the Mindful Minis Holiday Workshop. We explored the sense that the children deemed the most fun – taste! The kids were super keen to get stuck in straight away so we started off with a taste test. We discussed how there are 5 main tastes that our taste buds can distinguish – bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami (savoury). I passed around a variety of flavours and the children needed to decide whether they were bitter, sweet, salty, sour or umami. There was peanut butter, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, Bovril, hundreds and thousands, honey, lemon juice, cooked macaroni and ground coffee.

It was very interesting to see the wide variety of likes and dislikes. Some kids loved the tomato sauce while others didn’t want to even taste it. Some loved the parmesan cheese while others looked like they had just tasted the worst thing in the world. Most of the children loved the hundreds and thousands (as to be expected), but one little guy said they were far too sweet for him. So, it was great to see each child taking the time to taste and experience, and decide for themselves whether the items were predominately sweet, salty, bitter, sour or umami.

After the taste test, we went on an imaginative yoga trip to each child’s house to have something to “eat”:
• We drove to I’s house by doing a bum shuffle backwards and forward on the mat. We enjoyed some fish and chips there (Fish Pose).
• We then rode our bicycles (Bicycle Pose) to A’s house for some pizza (sitting with legs apart and reaching forward with straight back to cut the pizza).
• We then rowed a boat (Boat Pose) to N’s house for sausage rolls (savasana and rolling side to side).
• We then took a trip in a helicopter (Helicopter Pose) to R’s house for some smarties (Volcano Pose).
• Then it was time to fly an aeroplane (Aeroplane Pose) to N’s house for popcorn. N lives with his twin brother R and they invited us on a train trip (Breathing Train Pose).
• We then flew in a hot air balloon (Balloon Breath) to L’s house for some jelly (wobble and freeze).
• Then another hot air balloon trip to A’s house for some ice-cream (Mountain Pose with hands in V)
• And finally, we arrived at S’s house for a sandwich (Sandwich Pose).

After all that eating and travelling, it was definitely time for savasana so we swiftly moved onto the guided visualisation.

I used another one of Tamar Dakes “Meditations for Kids” – one of my favourites called “The Enchanted Forest”. Not only does it offer lovely imagery, but it has wonderful, calming and peaceful background sounds. The story involves a tree in the middle of a forest and it was lovely to hear afterwards about all the different types of trees that the children had visualised.

After the meditation, it was time for a snack break. We were blessed with perfect weather for enjoying some fresh air and a bit of a run around. After the break, we moved onto the final activity of threading rainbow-coloured macaroni necklaces. I had also managed to find some really cool alphabet pasta so the kids could also put their name or another word on the necklace. One little guy decided to put the name of his favourite food on the necklace – chuckles!

I had a great time teaching this holiday workshop and felt sad that it had to come to an end. The group connected well and it was lovely to see some new friendships blossoming. I felt the kids did well to grasp the concept of using the senses to bring attention to the present moment. I felt a warmth in my heart during the final breathing exercise we did when all these little souls were focused on their own breath and finding the calm within. Truly wonderful.

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