DIY Stress Ball: Mindfulness Craft

Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of ways. Meditation and yoga are great! But sometimes a craft can really get the whole family practicing mindfulness in a new and engaging way. Focusing on our breath is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to practice mindfulness and return our selves to a calm and centered frame of mind. With young children especially, having some sort of tactical tool to focus on while practicing their meditation can help enhance their experience.

Any time your child needs a moment of peace and calm, inviting them to take refuge in a safe space (their room, a reading corner, a favorite chair, or even a quiet spot in a public space) and giving them time to work through tough emotions can bring them back to a calmer and more peaceful frame of mind.

Once in their safe space, offer your child a tactile tool like a DIY stress ball to help refocus their energy.

For this project you will need:

a balloon, water, water beads, and a plastic bin.

Water beads can be purchased here.

 

Moon Salutations for the Harvest Moon!

There is something so majestic and mysterious, so beautiful and captivating about the sight of a Full Moon! The Harvest Moon tonight is sure to be a lovely sight. If you are looking for a way to celebrate the Full Moon with the little ones in your life consider practicing a Moon Salutation together. There are many varieties of moon salute, but the one below is a great place to start with kids.

Before practicing, consider sitting in a comfortable position and asking your child to think of something they are excited to do in the coming fall season. Ask them to think about the changes that occur in nature through the cooler months.  Encourage them to explore any emotions or feelings that come with the impending changes. Call to mind scents, sounds, and sights that they enjoy and expect through the month of October.

Read more about the moon’s meaning here.

Kids moon salute

Looking for more evening meditations? Check out this short evening meditation for families.

 

Namaste!

Let Your Light Shine Cloud and Rainbow Craft

One of the greatest things we can instill in our children is positive self-image and self-love. There is a difference between vanity and self-love and it is imperative for our children to know the importance of loving and valuing themselves for we cannot expect others to know our true value if we don’t know acknowledge it ourselves.

This simple craft is inspired by the way that brilliant rays of sunshine often peak out from behind the clouds. The cloud represents our physical bodies, and the rainbow rays represent the brilliant attributes that each of us have dwelling inside!

It is our responsibility and our privilege to help children not only identify these positive attributes, but also encourage them to express themselves and share their unique gifts and talents with the world.

preview (1)

Materials Needed

  • White paper
  • Various rainbow colored construction paper
  • Markers
  • Glue

Print or draw a cloud shape and cut it out of the white paper.

Have your child write their name in the center of their cloud.

Distribute strips of colored paper and have your child write something they love about themselves on each piece.

Glue the strips of paper to back of the cloud!

Use this project as an opportunity to discuss all of your child’s positive character traits!

 

Happy Crafting!

 

-Jillian

Don’t get Mad … Just ROAR!

Children get angry… but then again so do adults. The difference between children and adults (well most adults anyway) is that most of us have acquired ways of dealing with our anger that are more socially appropriate than yelling, screaming, and directing our anger towards others.

Anger is not bad, no emotions should be seen in a negative manner. All emotions are valid and part of what make us human. Our emotions are how we process the world around us. They help us to express ourselves. Emotions are a vital part of our human existence and all emotions should be valued and respected, especially during childhood.

That being said, it is important for us as adults to help the children in our care to not only identify and process the emotions they are feeling, but also guide them towards appropriate ways of managing theses emotions.

Let children feel what they feel and guide them gently when necessary.

Here is a fun activity for helping children work through feelings of anger.

Design a lion mask. We made ours with a paper plate, strips of paper, markers, and a wooden craft stick.

lion mask

How to Practice Lion’s Breath

Whenever harsh emotions arise, offer lion’s breath to your child. Explain that this type of breath can help push out the overwhelming emotions of anger, fear, anxiety, or frustration.

Have your child sit up on their knees. Sitting back on the heels.

Invite them to think about what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way.

Offer them the opportunity to place their hands on their thighs, close their eyes, and take a big breath in.

As they breath out, invite them to bring their hands up by their face making lion claws and let out a large ROAR!!!!!!! As they roar show them how to stick out their tongue at the same time they breathe out their big fierce lion roar.

Explain that this helps to get rid of those overwhelming emotions and after a few tries, I’m sure they will have a smile on their face. A little bit of silly goes a really long way.

Kids Matter has some exceptional advice for how to guide children through emotional learning. “Parents and caregivers have an important role to play in supporting children’s emotional development. They do this through responding effectively to children’s emotions, through providing examples of how they manage feelings, and through talking with children about feelings and how to manage them.”

 

Happy Roaring!

Make a Match!

I don’t know about you, but when school is out I am on the constant lookout to find ways to encourage summer learning that are just fun enough that my kids don’t even realize they are practicing the same skills they had been working on in school.

My daughter loves to read and just like her Mom, she will read anything she can get her hands on. We have plenty of flash cards and easy reader books that she can blow through in mere minutes but I have been looking for a way to continue her reading practice while having fun.

She loves to show off her yoga moves and she loves to play games. I came up with a simple memory match game that encourages her to think, read, and added bonus…. get active!

I created a set of cards. Each card has either a picture of a yoga pose or the name of the pose on the back. I laid them all out and had her try to make a match. Now we have like three of these games at home already. One is princess themed, one is shopkins, and the third is animals. While all of these encourage working on memory, none of them encourage physical activity or reading!

yoga match

Every time she makes a match she has to hold the pose for 10 seconds. We kept our game small with only five poses. But you can always add others for a more challenging version the whole family will love!

This is a great activity for before dinner or bedtime, or any other time during the day when you just need something fun to do! We used ours during a thunderstorm.

Happy matching!

-Jillian