Welcome Back to school friends!
Our first two mindfulness classes have been such a breath of fresh air! Not only because I get to see so many excited faces, but because we have been learning about our breath! Last week Barry the Breathing Bug showed up and showed us how his body expands when he breathes in and get smaller when he breathes out. We all practiced our slow breaths together to see how our bodies do the same thing!
After talking about our breath, it was time to move! I started by playing hide and seek with the bell. Friends had to hide their eyes and listen for the chime as I hid around the classroom and rang the bell. This helps build listening awareness, and helps the children recognize where the sound is coming from so they can find out who rang the bell in their own classrooms.
Next, we started a game of freeze dance, but with the bell! We got to wiggle, move, and groove the way that felt best to us, but when the bell rang we all froze and took a deep breath. Games that switch from big exciting movement to calm bodies help with impulse control. Sometimes it’s hard to turn the sillies off when you are having so much fun, but the more we practice the easier it gets. This game also helps with practicing the skill of remembering to take a breath when it’s time to calm our bodies.
Today in Mindfulness we continued to expand our talk about breathing with a few more fun toys! We used a Hoberman Sphere (at MCS a.k.a. the breathing ball) to help the kids visualize how are stomachs and chest cavities get bigger when we inhale, and smaller when he exhale. We practiced synchronizing our breath with the breathing ball, breathing in when it was expanding and out when it was contracting.
In the class we also had an oil diffuser with a blend of peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus filling the air. The smell helped us track our breath through our nose, sinuses, and into our lungs. Friends noticed the air felt cool going in through our nose, and warm after coming out.
Then we talked about how our breath can even control how our bodies are feeling. A new friend, Blueberry the Sea Turtle, brought a tiny ocean in a jar to share with the class. When our breathing was fast and heavy the waves of the ocean were crazy! Many friends commented that they felt a little crazy also after breathing with short quick breaths. When we slowed our breathing down the ocean waves became calmer and slower. Many friends recognized that their bodies did the same.
We found a open space in the classroom to lie down on our backs while Blueberry brought everyone an ocean treasure to put on their stomachs. We practiced making waves with our stomachs for the oceans treasures by inhaling to make our treasures rise – exhaling to make our treasure fall. The ocean treasure rode the waves of our breath for a few minutes before returning back to circle.
Mindfulness at Home
The games that we played in Mindfulness can be easily incorporated in you own home! Freeze dance is a great game for big silly movements when going outside might not be an option. It helps kids become aware of their own bodies, and the space around them. You can pause the music, use a bell or instrument, or some other verbal cue to signal when it is time to freeze!
Calming oceans breaths can be done with a favorite stuffed animal or any object. Tell your kids that you are going to give your stuffed animal a boat ride on their stomachs! Breathing in helps move the animal boat up on the waves, breathing out lets them surf back down.