Additional Mindfulness/Relaxation Activities that can be taught to the Children:

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1 Additional Mindfulness/Relaxation Activities that can be taught to the Children: Stretching: Cloud Push (5-10 minutes) *Need space for students to spread out so they are not touching. Ask students to image that great cloud is floating down on top of them, and that they have to push it back up to the sky. Demonstrate what you want them to do by standing tall, placing one had on your hip, and stretching the other one straight up. Then let your arm fall slowly to your side and bring your other arm up to push the cloud away. After a few minutes of stretching, lift both arms up and as students to follow you as you clasp hands together, turn your palms up, and bounce the cloud. Then slowly let your arms float gently back to your sides and ask students to return to their seat. Note: Many basic yoga poses can be great child-friendly stretches and can be adapted to suit children of all ages. For more information visit: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (10 minutes) *Need space for students to lie down Tell students: Sometimes when our minds are stressed/worried, our bodies get tense. If we can learn to relax our tense bodies, then our minds may relax too. But we need to practice what it feels like to have tense and relaxed muscles. Ask students to lie down and bend their legs at the knees so their feet are flat on the ground. Say, Close your eyes and pretend you are at a beach, lying on the sand. Ask students to pretend they hear the water lapping against the shore. Ask them to image that it s a beautiful, sunny day. The sun feels warm against their skin. The sand is warm underneath them. Have them take a few deep breaths as they watch the waves go in and out. Now ask them to squeeze the sand between their toes-squeeze hard! Inhale, hold (count 5 seconds), exhale, and relax. Now squeeze both feet! Feel how tight that muscle is. Inhale hold (count 5 seconds) exhale, and relax. Now their middle - their bottom, tummy and chest. Inhale, hold (for five seconds) exhale, and relax. Now their hands and arms. Remind them to squeeze sand in between your fingers. Inhale, hold (five seconds), exhale, and relax. Then their shoulder and neck. Inhale, hold (five seconds), exhale, and relax. And then the face. Sometimes children don t know how to tense up their face. You may need to say something like: Squeeze your eyes and mouth tight! Inhale, hold (five seconds), exhale, and relax. 1

2 Finally, have them squeeze their whole body, Inhale, hold (five seconds), exhale, and relax. Ask them to take four more deep breaths. Remind them to feel the warm sun and sand. Hear the water lap against the shore. Ask them to open their eyes. When you are done, you can re-emphasize that when we notice our body is tense, we can squeeze and relax to help our body and mind relax. Calm Mindful Breathing (10 minutes) *Can do at their desks. They need to sit up. Slow deep breaths in to the count of 1,2,3 (Tummy should rise) Hold for 3 Slow breath out to the count of 1,2,3 (Tummy should sink) Repeat 4 times They can have their hand on their tummy over their belly button to make sure their tummy is rising and falling as they breathe. Remind students to breathe out as slowly as they breathe in. Breathing in deeply without relaxed, slow exhalation can lead to dizziness or hyperventilation. Relaxation Meditation (10-20 minutes) Ask Students to sit with you in a circle, legs, crossed and hands on lap. Explain to the students that you are going to show them how meditation can help them relax when they are worried or stressed. While nature teaches us at birth how to relax and rest at a deep level (think about a sleeping baby), over time we develop habits that can interfere with our ability to experience peace of mind and body and we become so busy that we do not hear our minds and bodies tell us to take a break. For example, you could say, Relaxation meditation is a time to rest your body and mind. When your body is fully resting and you are breathing evenly and regularly, it is easier for you to work out solutions to problems you may be having at home, school, or with friends. Ask students to lie back with their toes pointing into the centre of the circle. Then instruct them to close their eyes let their legs rest about a foot apart, and let them arms rest alongside their bodies, but without touching. Next, tell them to pretend they are lying in warm sand at the beach and feeling very comfortable. Instruct students to slowly clench and then relax their muscles, beginning with their toes and moving on to their legs, tummy and arms. Next, tell them to squeeze their face into the expression of something icky and then relax it once again. 2

3 Ask students to roll their head to the right, left and back to centre, and then stay still. Turn on the music player to allow soft music or sounds to soothe students while they are lying still and resting for a few minutes.(lots of mindfulness music on YouTube) Ask students to use this quiet time to think about a kind act they could do for someone after the meditation session is over. Ask the students to open their eyes, stretch, out sit up, stand up and plan a few acts of kindness they can do throughout their day. Remind students that they can do this kind of meditation during other moments when they need to calm down or need some quiet time to work out any problems they may be having at home, school or with others. The Walking Way-A Variation on relaxation meditation (10-20 minutes) Breathing links the mind and body. So, when a person is upset or worried or stressed they can simply combine regular breathing and walking in order to calm the mind. Tell students that breathing evenly while walking can help them improve their concentration. Explain that taking a brisk walk sends more oxygen to all parts of your body and helps you feel fresh and relaxed. Show students how to coordinate breathing with the walking rhythm. Begin by saying, Take 2 walking steps for every breath in, and 2 walking steps for every breath out. When the students are in rhythm, say, Now, let your arms swing at your sides in the patter called opposition. This means as the right foot steps forward, the left arm swings forward. And, as the left foot steps forward, the right arm swings forward. Practice this pattern of regulated breathing with arms swinging in opposition for a few minutes while the group remains silent and concentrates on making the pattern second nature. When ready, instruct the students to maintain their pace but turn their thoughts to how to show more care with family and friends at home and school. Ask students to think about one way they could perform a helpful task after the meditation. Ask students to use the rest of the walk for quiet time while keeping up the pace they have established. Finish the walking meditation by sitting down in a circle and giving each person a turn to share a way they thought of to be helpful or kind. 3

4 Imagination Exercise (10 Minutes) Ask students to sit with you in a circle facing toward the centre with legs crossed and hands on lap. Walk them through 4 calming deep breaths. Turn lights off. Tell students they can close their eyes if they wish. Tell students they are going to do an imagination activity, and explain that imaginative thinking can be used to reduce stress/worrying and increase creativity. Remind them that anywhere they go in their mind they are safe and in control. Say to the students, I want you to go to a very special place. This place is any garden you wish it to be. In this garden the air is fresh and clean. The garden is bathed in warm sunlight. Lie down on the soft, cool grass. Feel the grass sink softly as you lie down. Notice how the grass feels cool and the blades tickle your hands. Pause momentarily before going on to say, Smell the sweetness of the grass and flowers that surround you. Slowly breathe in the fragrance of the flowers. Pause again before continuing with, As you lie comfortably in the grass, I want you to look up. You are lying beneath a large tree. The leaves are emerald green. Look deeply in the layers and layers of leaves. The leaves sway slowly in the breeze. The breeze brushes across your race and feels like cool silk. Pause once more before describing the last scenario: Listen carefully. A bird sings somewhere in the tree. In the distance you hear puppies barking as they play. You hear distant voices of children playing. They are having fun. You can feel their happiness as they play. You feel happy too. Got time to spare? Have a follow-up discussion about the health and stress management benefits of fun safe-physical activities. Here are some guiding questions: What are your favourite physical activities? How do you feel after doing these activities? How does it feel to be tense/frustrated/stress? Where in your body do you feel tension or stress? How does it feel to be relaxed and calm? How does your body feel when you are relaxed and calm? (There is a parent handout for students to practise at home). 4

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6 Different Ways to Teach Calm Breathing Calm Breathing: Introduce to students by explaining and demonstrating concept first. 1. Take a slow deep breath breathing in good, calm feelings in through the nose 1,2,3 (count slow) 2. Hold for two seconds 3. Now out through your mouth 1,2,3, (slow) 3. Wait 2-3 seconds and then repeat the demonstration 2 more times. Explaining their tummies should be getting big like a balloon as they inhale and fill the balloon with air and when they blow out their tummies will sink like a balloon as the air goes out. Have them do it four times. Calm Breathing Smelling a Flower: Pick a flower that you like to smell and ask them to pick a flower. Cup your hands like you are holding the flower. Then say we are going to take a deep breath so we can smell our flower. Then take a slow deep breathe slowly (1, 2, 3) as you are smelling the flower. Breathing in good, calm feelings. Now slowly breathe out through the mouth not hard so the petals do not blow off. Now have them do this with you four times. You will need to count. Calm Breathing using Stuffies: 1. Now lie down and have the students come and watch and put a stuffy on your tummy and ask them to tell you what happens to the stuffy when you slowly breathe in and what happens when you breathe out. They should say the stuffy rises when you breathe in and goes down when you breathe out. 2. Now have them lie down and put stuffy on them and ask them to put it on their belly button. Now tell they are going to practice calm breathing. The stuffy should rise as they breathe in and go down as they breathe out. They are to watch their stuffies as they breathe. Remind them they can do this on their bed to calm themselves when they are worried, upset or angry or to go to sleep. They can do it ten times using their fingers to keep track. Let them know they are going to practice 10 times now and begin. In through the nose 1, 2, 3, and out through the mouth 1, 2, 3 (counting slowly). Walk around and check if their stuffies are rising and falling. Remind them if needed. 3. If time allows when this breathing activity is over then can share what they drew and as they do let them know they can use calm breathing to help them with their worry. Calm Breathing: Blowing Bubbles: 1. This technique is simple, yet soothing. Explain that they need to carefully open the bubbles. Have the children first try blowing bubbles using quick, shallow breaths. Watch how the bubbles pop immediately. 2. Now, have the children practice blowing the bubbles using slow, deep breaths Breathing in good, calm feelings. The slower they breathe out, the more bubbles they will make. Have them focus on watching all the bubbles fall and repeat the process four times. 6

7 Calm Breathing: Blowing a Feather 1. Demonstrate the activity before giving out the feathers 2. Ask students to pick a feather that is most calming to them or that brings them positive feelings. 3. Have the students hold the feather in one hand. 4. Slowly, take a deep breath breathing in good, calm feelings and hold for 3 seconds. 5. While slowly breathing out, blow the feather up one side and down the other. 6. Repeat 4 times in total. Calm Breathing: Blowing a Pinwheel 1. Demonstrate first before handing out the pinwheels 2. Have the children take a deep breath breathing in good, calm feelings (1, 2, 3 remind them slow and deep) in through the nose 3. Instruct them to slowing breath out through their mouth be blowing the pinwheel 4. Repeat 4 times Practice Calm Breathing: Still Quiet Place Script: 1. I would like to share one of my favorite places with you. I call it Still Quiet Place. It s not a place you travel to in a car, or a train, or a plane. It is a place inside you that you can find just by closing your eyes. Let s find it now. 2. Close your eyes and take 3 slow deep breaths. See if you can feel a kind of warm, happy, smile in your body. Do you feel it? This is your Still Quiet Place. Take some more deep breaths and really snuggle in. 3. The best thing about your Still Quiet Place is that it s always inside you. Any you can visit it whenever you like. It is nice to visit your Still Quiet Place and feel the love that is there. It is especially helpful to visit your Still Quiet Place if you are feeling angry, sad, afraid, or worried. The Still Quiet Place is a good place to talk with these feeling and to make friends with them. When you rest in your Still Quiet Place and talk to your feelings, you may find that your feelings are not as big and powerful as they seem. Remember, you can come here whenever you want and stay as long as you like. Calm Breathing: Loving-Kindness Script: You are to take slow deep breathes and close your eyes and remember a time when you felt loved by someone, such as a parent, grandparent, teacher, friend or pet. It might be as simple as a hug or smile. As you feel the love open your hearts to receive the love. Send your love to the person or animal who loves you. Feel the love flow between you and the person or animal who loves you. Now I would like you to send yourself love. Feel it warm you up. 7

8 Calm Breathing: Balloon Breathing 1. Demonstrate first 2. Imagine you have a balloon in your tummy. Place one hand below your belly button 3. Breathe in slowly through the nose for 1,2,3 4. Feel the balloon fill up with air - your tummy should expand 5. When the balloon is full, slowly breathe out through your mouth for about three seconds 6. Your hand will rise and fall as the balloon fills and empties 7. Wait 2 seconds, then repeat four times 8. When calm breathing, make sure the upper body (shoulders and chest area) is relaxed and still Calm Breathing: Puppy Breathing We are going to breathe in and out slowly and evenly like a little puppy does while taking a nap. 1. Slowly breathe in through our nose 1, 2, Hold it for Slowly breathe out through our mouths 1, 2, 3. Repeat 4 times. Calm Breathing: Jewel/Treasure Bring a basket of stones and have each student choose one that represents calmness or happiness for them. Ask students to lie down and put the jewel on their belly button. Now tell they are going to practice calm breathing. The stone should rise as they breathe in and go down as they breathe out. They are to watch their stones and think calm happy thoughts as they breathe. Remind them they can do this on their bed to calm themselves when they are worried, upset or angry or to go to sleep. They can do it ten times using their fingers to keep track. Let them know they are going to practice 10 times now and begin. 1. In through the nose 1, 2, 3, 2. Hold it for 1,2 3. Out through the mouth 1, 2, 3 (counting slowly). Walk around and check if their stones are rising and falling. Remind them if needed. Repeat 4 times 8

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