In our previous blog post (click here) we explored the relationship between the Thrive Approach and mindful practice; mindfulness is an intrinsic part of Thrive.
From classic exercises, such as breathing or meditation, to less traditional methods like sensory sand play or colouring, which mindfulness activities could you try in your setting?
If you work with children or young people then you’ll know that different kinds of activities suit some more than others. It is important to bear in mind the manner in which children react differently to certain mindfulness activities. For some, sensory tasks will support healthy development, whereas for others the ability to access some or all of their senses may be difficult or impossible.
Thrive action plans will give you plenty of targeted ways to work with children. However, if you’re looking to try out some mindfulness activities specifically, why not think about how the following would be received by those in your care?
Mindful Breathing Techniques
Click here to find a brilliant free print-out featuring different breathing techniques for children to experiment with.
There are eight to try, including back-to-back breathing, elephant breathing and tummy breathing.
Have you ever tried using calming music in your setting or at home as an attempt to play with atmosphere? It can be really effective. Try playing it as children work on creative activities, enter assembly or come into the classroom, for example.
Discuss the soundtrack with the children. Talk about what they think of the music; do they like it? How does it make their body feel?
We’ve found a few YouTube videos for you to try:
Have you tried adult colouring? It’s been a huge trend for a reason – it helps us to focus our mind on something creative. We can distract ourselves for a little while and achieve something in the process.
Below are a few words from the Moments a Day website which houses plenty of resources for you to explore.
Mindful Colouring asks us to focus on how we choose and apply colour in a design to bring our awareness to the present moment. This process is similar to meditation, we let go of any thoughts about tomorrow or yesterday, or what we are going to do when we finish.
“In this current moment, I am colouring in.”
If we catch ourselves thinking about the past or the future, we can gently bring our awareness back to what we are doing in the present moment by describing what we are doing.
“I am picking up a red pen and will use it on all of the hearts in the picture.”
We need to let go of judging whether the colouring in is good or bad, amazing or terrible and whether we are good at it or not. There is no right or wrong way to colour in, it is a form of self-expression.
“I have coloured in the robots with blues and greys and the background in yellow.”
Mindfulness can improve our overall sense of well-being. We feel more relaxed by paying attention to the present moment. We are also practicing training our minds to focus which can help in our study and work.
There are plenty of free colouring resources on the Moments a Day website for you to print-out for children. Click here to find a great bank of pages for you to use in your setting or home.
If you’ve ever taken part in any mindfulness sessions, or even in certain therapies such as CBT, you will more than likely have come across body scanning. The idea is that you focus on each part of the body, commonly from the feet to the head, thinking mindfully about your bodily sensations and relieving any tensions as you go.
To help children understand body scanning, try the below video, guiding you through a classroom body scan :
You could also try this slightly longer version with slightly older children or those that you think would work well with the technique:
Perhaps one of the most traditional of the mindfulness activities, yoga can be a great way to help children calm down and think more about their bodies. This is obviously not appropriate for all children but plenty of teachers find short yoga sessions really helpful during the school day.
To find out a little more about the benefits of yoga to children, click here. You will also find a good video for beginners at the bottom, entitled Pedro Penguin | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure.
It may be helpful to print out a couple of simple picture guides.
Click here for yoga activities for children to do in pairs,
and here for children’s garden poses – perfect for outdoor yoga!
We’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these mindfulness activities in your setting or home. You can leave a comment on our Facebook page or Tweet us to let us know. You can even post to our Instagram if you’d like! – remember to tag @ThriveApproach before you go to upload.