The idea for this fun game came from another Mindful Schools educator. She tried this game in her classroom and it was a hit, so I thought we should try it at home. Luckily I also had an opportunity to facilitate it in my daughter’s kindergarten classroom as well. Her kindergarten teacher is a fellow Mindful Schools alum and also agreed that this project looked pretty neat.
The setup for the project is super easy. The only materials you need are the following:
- Play-doh or clay
- Different kinds of balls (ping pong balls, cotton, etc)
I set up a small maze and showed the kids what to do first, but then the kiddos take the play-doh or clay and create their own maze. Then each child takes a straw and tries to blow different balls down the maze.
When I led the game in my daughter’s classroom, we had 3 groups of 6-7 kids, and each group made one large maze. This was really cool to watch and the maze creation became more of a science experiment. The kids added bridges, different obstacles and twists and worked collaboratively to build the maze.
The kids took turns blowing the balls down the maze with straws. Afterwards we talked about the experiences of breathing with different balls and how they felt. In the classroom I also read the book “Just Breathe” and topped it off with a pinwheel breathing game, and we talked about how it felt to breathe fast and hard vs. slow and deep. The kids realized that when you have to breathe fast or hard it’s tiring, but it’s calming when you can slow it down.
It’s worth noting that when I tried this fun game at home, my two-year old daughter was also able to participate and really had a great time doing it. So this game is great for littles and for itty-bittys and a creative way to practice some breathing.