This Friday in Mindfulness we tickled our senses with some fall sensory experiences! I started Mindfulness by reading the story It’s Fall! by Linda Glaser. The story is chock full of words describing the sights, sounds, smells, and feels that are associated with the changing of the seasons.
After the story we had a “smelling circle” where I shared different spices for the kids to smell that all induce feelings of warmth baking season. Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and coffee are just few that we passed around. I encouraged the kids to use describing words of the smells, or challenged them to think of something that the smell reminded them of instead of just saying “good!” The vanilla reminded a few friends of their mom, one kid of marshmallows, and another of the cookies with the cream in the middle. When we smelled the cardamom one kid shared excitedly, “My grandma puts this in pancakes one time!” Taking our time to smell all the different spices was also a sneaky was to slow down, focus on our breath, and notice where the air (and smells) enter our body.
To excite our sense of hearing I pulled our a basket with something inside and started rolling and shaking it around. The basket had a lid on top so we could hear it, but not see what was making the noise. This invited conversation around how we were feeling about hearing a noise and not knowing what was creating it. We noticed that many of us felt curious, excited, and interested in knowing what was inside. A couple of kids felt a little anxious and even a bit annoyed at not knowing. We did our best to describe what the noise sounded like just using the clues that the noise had to offer. What was it? A basket full of nuts! Everyone picked a nut out of the basket and we shared five characteristics of our little nut using our senses.
Another fall game that required our sense of touch… a pumpkin passing game! The pumpkin was heavy, so we had to be careful with our motions and handling the pumpkin. When we had the pumpkin the kids described how it felt. The older kids played a round two of the pumpkin pass by closing their eyes while passing the pumpkin! We had to be extra mindful of where our friends were and how we were handling the pumpkin without our sense of sight to help us.
Mindfulness at Home
Fall walks are a wonderful way to soak in the changing of the season. Make it a game and see how many signs of fall you can find! Maybe you see a squirrel gathering things to munch on, or newly fallen leaves on the ground. Even the change of our wardrobe to warmer clothes is a clue that fall is here!
Mindful Eating: The Story of the Carrot
Last week for mindfulness we read the story The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss, and talked about how carrots start of as a tiny little seed, and then end up in our lunchboxes, dinner plates, and stomachs! The kids all held and “planted” a tiny carrot seed and then recognized the necessary things that it needs to grow! Water, sun, dirt, and pulling weeds around the carrots were all vital for them to grow strong and healthy. There is a lot of waiting involved, the little seeds don’t turn into carrots over night. The sun rises and sets many days before the carrot’s green tops start to pop out of the ground. The story doesn’t stop there though! Once the carrots are full grown, a farmer has to harvest the carrots and send them on a truck to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Families hungry for carrots take a trip to the store and pick out the carrots that they like best! “Now can we eat the carrots?” many kids asked eagerly. Now that we knew the story of the carrot we turned on our senses to appreciate what the carrot has to offer us. The kids described what they noticed about how the carrot looked, smelled and felt. When it was time to eat the carrot slices we chewed them slowly, paying attention to the texture, taste, and any other sensations (where the carrot was traveling in our mouth, how the carrot crumbled in our teeth). After all the talk of carrots a friendly rabbit hopped by to talk to the kids about bunny breaths! Bunnies sit very still and listen intently with their long ears. We practiced sitting still like a rabbit and listening to the sounds in our school. When we were ready we took three energizing sniffs, and then exhaled nice and slow.
Mindfulness at Home Talk about your food! Where did it come from? You can help your child fill in the blanks of the story. If you are eating applesauce you could discuss how the seeds in the apple could be planted to grow into a tree. Once the tree is old enough to produce apples someone has to pick them. The apples are picked and then sent to a factory where they are cooked and squashed into applesauce. Then they are canned, ready to go to the store where they are bought by you! Even better buy apples and make applesauce with your kiddos so they can see the magic happen.
Having a hard time getting your kiddo to eat green bean or any other tricky foods? Invite your child to be a scientist at the dinner table by noticing the attributes of your food (before you eat it!) What color is it? How does it smell? What does it feel like between your fingers? Did you know that your carrot makes a noise?! Show your child that when you chew food and listen intently you hear the noise that it makes! Eating food is an amazing, sensory tickling experience that we can turn into a fun family discussion!