Highlights from a past class

grateful for our food

mindfulness for children

It has been a really hot week in Cape Town this week. Not surprisingly, energy levels have been low all round. I planned a low-key lesson because I knew the children would be feeling lethargic. Thank goodness I did because I ended up feeling pretty lethargic too!

The theme for this week is gratitude around food. This pertains to the food we eat, but also looks further afield, such as our thankfulness for the farmers, the fields and soil, the rain and sunshine, and more! In class, we compared some of our favourite foods while we decorated our gratefulness rocks with a food that we like. The class felt proudly South African when I saw one child had written droë wors. 😊

We explored the taste and texture of two very different foods. The one was dry, crunchy and salty while the other was juicy and sweet. The point of the exercise was to chew slowly and notice all the different sensations in the mouth – the amount of saliva, how the teeth felt, the noise of the crunch in the ears, any tingling etc. The contrast of the two foods accentuated the sensations which helped the children to notice. This is something you can try at home with your children to encourage them to eat more mindfully and enjoy their food.

The children also learnt a new mantra this week – “Peace begins with me”. Sitting in lotus or half-lotus, with hands on knees and thumb touching first finger, you start by saying the word “peace”. The move to the next finger so that second finger and thumb touch and say the word “begins”. Then move to next finger saying “with” and finally baby finger touches thumb as you say the word “me”. This is one of my most favourite mantras. I was introduced to it by my son when he was 3 years old. And he learnt it from the wonderful Anja at Blissful Kids. It is such a simple, but profound mantra. And quite catchy!

The highlight of the lesson was creating a mandala using dried beans and playdough. It was great fun! The playdough was a bit sticky because of the heat but I think that added to the fun. I encouraged the children to treat the exercise as a meditation so that they could be fully absorbed in the activity. A few children found it hard not to talk, but that was fine. I simply asked them to notice that it was hard for them not to talk, so thus trying to encourage their self-observation and self-awareness. This activity worked well and something I recommend doing at home every once in a while, maybe as an alternative to a guided visualisation. The kids seemed settled and calm afterwards.

So, despite the heat, we managed to explore, meditate, breath, create and have fun!

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