Simon Says, “Belly Breathe like Elmo.”
First time. Teaching 5-8 year olds and their moms, and I am truly inspired by their willingness and fun-loving spirit. Some bringing enthusiasm from the start and others, somewhat timid or anxious, too shy to introduce themselves. By the end of our time together, everyone raised their hand to volunteer a turn as Simon in our mindful listening game of Simon Says.
Seems like ages since my kids were between 5 and 8 years. I teach mindfulness almost on a daily basis during the academic year, and the students are considerably older. So, it was a bit daunting, at first to create a brand-new lesson. Usually, I can adapt parts of one workshop to serve another cohort of students.
For these kids.
I needed to start from scratch.
and think, F-U-N!!
And F-U-N, it was!
FUN. to go down memory lane when my kids were younger.
FUN. to pull together some old resources and find new ones.
and a BLAST to teach mindfulness to this group of engaged and joyous kids so eager to learn and play.
BONUS! having my 11-year-old son by my side as my teaching assistant to help set up and share his insight and wisdom with the group. After the workshop, he and I brainstormed ways to infuse even more FUN into other workshops.
Building my Lesson Plan
I thought back to what was most enjoyable and effective when my kids were ages 5-8.
- Smell the flower. Blow at the candle.
(Planting Seeds, Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh)
- Animal Breathing.
(Mindful Parenting by Kristen Race, Ph.D.)
- Finger Breathing.
(Various sources. including from my certification, Mindfulness in Schools Project)
- Visualizations and Mindful Imaginative Play.
(from trial and error with my own kids)
See Walking Meditation-Kids’ style post
Review resources both old and new.
From this process, I found a favorite video that I used to grab their attention.
I then organized activities in sections:
focusing on the breath, tools for falling asleep, mindful movement and mindful listening.
Resources referenced and adapted for this workshop: