Practice Calming Down & Mindfulness With Move This World
Big Heart World partner Move This World works with schools and families to help children develop emotional intelligence skills for long-term wellbeing. Practicing these activities helps kids become more self aware, grow stronger relationships and communication skills, and build safe and supportive communities.
Learn some handy calm down and mindfulness skills with Move This World — and practice with their breathing exercises!
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be defined as maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. People affected by chronic anxiety become less associated with the present moment and become more consumed by negative thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can help bring us back to the present moment, allowing us to become better connected to ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, surroundings, and to one another.
Instruct students to close their eyes, take a deep inhale for four counts and then repeat the same process during the exhale. As an alternative, you could instruct students to inhale through their noses while rolling their shoulders upward for four counts, and then exhaling through their mouths while rolling their shoulders downward.
Channel Your Inner Superhero
Your students should go to separate areas in the room. (Parents can do this at home, too, by asking a child or multiple siblings to try!) Allow the children to choose where they feel the most comfortable standing and instruct them to model their favorite superhero poses.
Adults should lead by example and encourage students by modeling their favorite superheroes as well!
Remind children to channel this feeling of strength and courage the next time they are feeling uncertain or stressed.
During stressful times, children may be overly critical of themselves and their abilities. As a class or a family, reflect and identify things to be grateful for daily. This can be done in a gratitude journal or through classroom discussion. Remind students to return to these positive thoughts during moments of frustration, which encourages them to see the “brighter side” of things.
Play a Game of I Spy
Use descriptive adjectives to point out something in your environment.
This encourages children to use their senses to identify the object.
Encourage students to use adjectives that involve the senses when it’s their turn to choose the next object.
Returning to this classic game will help students to become focused on the present.
Create Glitter Jars (here’s one “recipe” but you should experiment and find YOUR favorite ingredients!).
Then, when children are experiencing stress and frustration, encourage them to shake up these jars!
First, encourage students to identify their negative emotion, then as they shake the jar, encourage them to imagine this emotion being left behind. Consider creating glitter jars as a project.
Designate a Calm Down Corner
Designate space in one corner for calming down. Reserve a physical space where students can breathe, journal, and draw when they’re feeling overwhelmed with negative emotions. You can put pillows, calming objects, and visual reminders in the calm down corner. These will comfort children and remind them to breathe and use other calm-down strategies when they’re in the Calm Down Corner.
The Power of Pause
Try Move This World’s relaxation and mindfulness-focused videos. These 3-5 minute videos are great for the end of the day or during transition periods.
- Let's watch the Move This World video and practice Ballooning. Let's sit up or stand up straight. Let's pretend we're holding a balloon in both hands with our fingers touching and our elbows relaxed.
- As we breathe IN, let's pull our hands apart as if our balloon is expanding.
- As we breathe OUT, let's empty our lungs and then our stomach and bring our hands back together.
- Let's blow up our balloons together three times. How do we feel?
- Let's watch the Move This World video and practice Breath Squares.
- Let's close our eyes and concentrate on our breathing.
- As we breathe in, let's trace a square with our finger on our other hand. As we breathe out, let's trace another square. Breathe in and trace for 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. Breathe out and trace for 1 - 2 - 3 - 4.
- Next time we're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, let's try this! It will help us take a pause and calm down.
- Let's watch the Move This World video and practice Collect Our Grapefruits. Let's think about what we're feeling grateful about today. People can be grateful for other people, for experiences they get to have, or for something in the environment like the weather!
- I'll share and you can share, too!
- Let's take a breath for everything we're grateful for today. Let's breathe in 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, and out 4 - 3 - 2 - 1.