16Growing up! – Smell the flower

Over the next six weeks we are going to feature a selection of activities from the Happy Toolbox for Kids in the mini-series 16Growing up! on our blog.

Whether you are a parent on holiday with your children, a summer camp counsellor or a teacher looking for new ideas, these activities inspired by the 16 Guidelines for Life can be used to explore mindfulness and human values playfully with children.

What is mindfulness?

To be mindful is to be fully present in the moment without judgement. In essence it’s the practice of putting our mind where our body is. One of the most common practices is mindfulness of the breath, but for children (and adults!) this can be very challenging or simply boring. In the first part of our mini-series “16Growing up!”, we share an activity which involves the senses as well as the breath.

Smell the flower

You can do this activity anywhere you can find a flower – your home, your garden or even in the park.

Children are naturally curious. Draw their attention to a flower. Get a little closer. Maybe you can sit down together and take an even closer look.

Get really curious about the flower and get even more curious about the child’s experience of the flower. What is the colour of the flower? What is the texture of the flower, of the flower petals, the leaves and the stem? What is the shape of the flower? How big is it and are there any smaller parts that make up the flower?

What does the flower smell like? Invite the child to take a deep breath in as they smell the flower. What’s their first response to the smell? Do they like the smell, or not, or maybe they’re not sure? Encourage them to take another deep breath and really get to know and enjoy the scent of the flower. What does it feel like smelling the flower? Are there any physical sensations arising? How gently can they blow the flower petals as they are breathing out? Repeat this way of breathing in and gently breathing out with appreciation several times and encourage the child to stay present with the breath, the scent of the flower and their experience of smelling the flower.

As you’re coming to an end, take a final breath in and on the outbreath look at the whole flower. Together, thank the earth, the sun and the clouds for having provided the food and right conditions to allow the flower to grow.

A note for the grown-ups

Children’s lungs are much smaller than those of adults and their respitory rate is much higher and faster. Be mindful of this as an adult breath is too slow for children to follow.

The Happy Toolbox for Kids is available for free.

Click here download the Happy Toolbox and find out more about our other free resources here.

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