Did you know that mindful awareness is something that we can help children cultivate practically? Many people think that the only way to teach mindfulness to children is by sitting quietly, tuning in to your breathing. (That’s what I used to think too- boy was I wrong!) Drum circles, group art activities and Drama ‘movement’ based warm ups are some easy ways that teachers can teach mindful awareness in class without ‘wasting’ precious curriculum teaching times. The following activities are fantastic for boys education, ADD/ADHD, and anxious children who do not like to close their eyes in traditional meditation!
This week I have been using drumming circle activities in my classes, children need to practise mindful awareness during a drumming circle, or else the rhythm of the music they jointly create will deteriorate. It was interesting to observe the children who participated easily and those that struggled, it was also a whole lot of FUN!
It’s easy to do too. The teacher is the conductor who silently points to children when they need to start/stop drumming. One child begins with a simple beat and the class listens mindfully. I found it helped to get children to ‘groove’ a bit in their seats with the beat. Teacher can then point to another child to join in, if they add to the music in a tuneful way (e.g. matches the original beat without clashing with it) they continue- if they were not being mindful (music clashes with original music) they get ‘pointed’ out again. Continue until all children have participated. I was surprised when one class managed to get the whole class involved in the music on their first try! Teachers can learn how to facilitate drumming circles in out FACILITATOR TRAINING Level 1.
Here is a really sweet activity that I found on youtube today from yoga in my school.. I think I will try it out with my children’s meditation group next week. The idea is to practise mindfulness by being aware of how the other children are adding to the
This is one of my favourite Drama warm ups. Mindful Movements- this game is just like Chinese Whispers but with body movements. Teams line up and all but the first person turns to face the back wall with their eyes closed. The first child in each line needs to mindfully watch a secret sequence of actions (start with 3 easy actions e.g. hands on head, then knees, then head). They then tap the next person in line on the shoulder who needs to mindfully watch the set of actions, then pass it on. It is fascinating how difficult children to find this at first!
Let us know if you get the time to try any of these activities and how they go!