Happy Monday Peekapak friends! Urg another week, am I right? Another week of virtual or wait- in person school? I can’t keep track at this point. These Winter months are tough for students, not to mention the ever-changing learning environment. So now is a perfect time to implement new mindfulness activities in the classroom!
So what is mindfulness? In the chaotic rush of a typical day for children on the bus, the classroom (virtual or in-person), or at home, children can easily become overwhelmed, distracted, and unfocused. Mindfulness is the act of becoming fully aware of your body, what is around you and how you feel. It is essentially a way to practice self-regulation and reset the mind to resolve underlying emotions.
Why is Mindfulness Important?
By taking a few minutes to practice age-appropriate mindfulness activities, children can show increased mental health through decreasing anxiety and promoting happiness. By just simply taking a moment to recognize their breathing, students strengthen their emotional regulation, show higher cognitive function, and can demonstrate improved behaviour in classrooms. Like any habitat, students who learn mindfulness activities at a young age will continue throughout adolescents, helping with the changes that come with growing up. It can help children go from a fixed mindset, to a growth mindset and feel comfortable taking risks, and improve performance.
How to Implement Mindfulness Activities in the Classroom
There are a variety of breathing exercises available for all ages. You really cannot go wrong with breathing exercises as they are effective for both simple and complex activities. From the most basic standpoint, just focusing on inhaling and exhaling in a comfortable position will release overwhelming emotions. The article linked here does a great job in explaining different mindful breathing exercises for all different ages.
For primary grades, using belly buddies is a great way to integrate mindfulness into classrooms with a spark of creativity. For this mindfulness activity, each student is given a rock and appropriate time to paint and customize their rock. The rock allows students to have a tangible item to visualize their breathing with the activity. Students will lie on their backs with their ‘belly buddy’ directly on their stomach and be instructed to watch it rise and fall with their breathing. Students will focus on allowing air to fill their stomach and re-centre themselves.
Another creative exercise is focused on having students become aware of their heartbeat and breathing. Ask students to do one minute of jumping jacks, skip rope, or simply jumping up and down. Have students place their hand on their heartbeat and become aware of how it feels, how fast it is, and how it makes them feel. By focusing on their body movements, they will unintentionally become refocused and refreshed!
We hope you find these activities useful in the classroom, whether it be in-person or remote! We are always open to suggestions for new mindfulness activities. Remember mindfulness extends beyond just students and to take a mindful minute for yourself 🙂 Be sure to follow our socials to keep up to date with the most recent Peekapak news and feel free to tag us in any mindfulness activities you try out!