This week was the 3rd week in our 4-week Mindful Micro Minis Workshop. We started off the class with some flower-candle breathing. Each child had a chance to “smell the flower” by breathing in through their nose and then blow out the candle. This image of the flower and the candle is a wonderful way to teach children how to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
We continued with practising our breathing by using the breathing glitter wand. So, each child got a chance to turn the glitter wand and breathe in with the bubble moving up and then breathing out and watching the glitter fall. This exercise is particularly helpful in encouraging children to lengthen the out breath.
The theme for this week was nature. We discussed what nature is, what types of things we find in nature and where we can go to be in nature. So, for the final formal breathing exercise, I gave each child a big leaf and asked them to trace the outline of the leaf to the apex while breathing in and then breathing out while tracing the final outline of the leaf to the stem. A lovely way to encourage deep breathing.
In keeping with the nature theme, I passed around various items that I had found in nature when walking in Newlands forest. I gave each child a magnifying lens and encouraged them to look closely to see in detail the leaves, sticks, seeds, stones and other things I had found. I also had a tiny birds egg that we carefully passed around for a closer look.
We then moved outside for a sound awareness exercise. Each child received a clipboard with paper and coloured pens. I asked them to find a spot in the shade in the garden to sit and listen. I asked them to try identify the sounds they could hear and then choose a colour to represent that sound. Since this class is 2 and 3-year olds, it works well for them to simply draw a squiggle in a particular colour to represent the sound. It is interesting afterwards to see what colours were chosen to represent particular sounds.
While they were busy listening to the variety of sounds in the garden, I was preparing the next exercise. It was all about the feet! I had a number of tubs with a variety of different textures in them – bubble wrap, small stones, tinsel, mud and even jelly just to name a few. Each child had a turn to step from one tub to the next to feel the textures with their feet. Interestingly the jelly was not a favourite and most kids starting avoiding it and stepping over it onto the next one. I was surprised by this, but then when I asked the accompanying adults if they would like a try, as the first mom stepped into the jelly, she exclaimed “This is freezing cold!”. It had been in the fridge and I had not realised how cold it was!
Moving back indoors, we did a focus exercise to bring awareness back into the room. We passed an egg on a spoon around the circle. There were many giggles and nervous moments but the egg made it around the circle intact. We also passed a bell around the circle without it making a noise. A wonderful exercise to find still again after being outdoors.
It was then time to start preparing for our relaxation time. I read the children the story “In the Forest”. An incredible book about the harm of deforestation. It is written in a beautiful way but the message is strong and clear. This book is always a firm favourite with the children.
Finally, it was time for the children to lie down and rest. We listened to Zigmund Zig, a story about a fallen star, from Relax Kids (Meditations for Shining Stars) and then listened to the beautiful rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from the same cd.
Lastly, we said our Mindful Minis Mantra and ended the class with a stamp and a colourful shooting star transfer.
This week, I leave you with the following quote from Rumi:
“We are stars wrapped in skin.
The light you are seeking has always been within.”