One of my favorite pre-parenting stories is from a birthing course that my husband and I took before the birth of our first daughter. Like many first-time parents, we had signed up to be “better prepared” for what was to come. During this particular course we took, there was an exercise to simulate how to focus during labor. Each of us had to hold an ice cube in our hand for a certain amount of time without dropping it. If the feeling got intense, we were to breathe through the sensations and see how we fared. Somehow I had tuned out during the instructions about the purpose of the exercise. Almost immediately after the ice cube was placed in my hand, I reacted by dropping the ice cube on the ground and said “Ow! That hurts!” Clearly, I was not a fan of holding the ice cube. My husband looked astonished. If that was foreshadowing how labor was going to go, we were in trouble. Luckily though we survived labor, and to this day, my husband and I still joke about the Ice Cube Episode as one of the most memorable starts to parenting. Read more
This mindfulness activity is an idea from a local parent, and I tried it recently with the girls and they loved it. The activity is very simple and quick. You sit outside with your kiddos, get very quiet and try to hunt down or notice all the different sounds you can hear. Read more
A few weeks ago Mindful Littles had a wonderful opportunity to host a mindfulness station at a local elementary school’s Wellness Fair. There were 4 other stations including yoga, karate and two different sports. During the fair every child in the school, about 400+ children in total, rotated through each station in 15-minute increments over the span of several hours. For our Mindful Littles station, we created a game called “Breathe through Bingo.” As I’ve noted in past posts, there’s lots of different and creative ways for kids to learn how to relax and breathe. Our bingo game included 16 different ways to breathe. We randomized these breaths on bingo cards using an online bingo card generator. A few examples included snake breath, ocean breath and belly breath. I even made up a few breaths including “Birthday Cake,” where you inhale the smell of a yummy cake and blow out the birthday candle.
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. Read more
One night a few weeks ago when the girls were taking a bath, they got into a tiff over a bath toy. My 2-year old wanted the toy that my older daughter was playing with. My older daughter immediately responded by asking her sister to play “Rock-Paper-Scissors” to see who could have the toy, which was a pleasant surprise. My toddler is a little too young to play the game, which my kindergartner realized and said “You can be scissors and I’ll be paper, so that you can have the toy this time.” Read more
The inspiration for our mindfulness activity came from a fall art project that my younger daughter did in her preschool class, where the class made art with spices and herbs they had first smelled. For our home activity, I also added our own twist and brought back the blindfold, which was a hit during the “Blindfolded Fruit Tasting Game.”
The Simple Game
The first thing we did was pick our spices. We picked some yummy ones- cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. My girls and I smelled the spices first before putting small amounts in containers. And then came the fun part. We each took turns putting our blindfold on to guess what spice was in each container. We paused and took a deep breath in and deep breath out, and sometimes a second smell to make sure we knew what it was. We then had to share our guess after smelling the spice.
My 5-year old nailed all of them and got all 4 spice smells correct; my 2-year old was done playing after one guess. Interestingly, my husband and I both got nutmeg and cinnamon mixed up.
Some Messy Fun
Once we did the guessing game, then we used the spices to do some fun messy art. It did get quite messy, so it may be worth taking this game outdoors. Here’s the results of some of the artwork. All in all, a really easy and fun sensory game to tune into the sense of smell, and relax with some fun art after.