I’m excited to bring you my first weekly Mindfulness post for the summer! I plan on sharing 12 of my favorite mindfulness exercises and activities with you over the next few months. I will post them on Friday mornings bright and early. This way, you can try them for yourself and be ready with some activities for your students once school resumes in the fall.
I first learned about mindfulness in grad school. I took a wonderful course focused on incorporating families in our classroom community and the professor led the class more like a self-care therapy session than a rigorous grad class. I ended up learning so much about myself as a person and an educator and still remember a lot of the activities we did even seven years later.
Basically, I’d describe mindfulness as using meditation and other exercises for being aware of what is happening in the present moment. It’s about focusing on and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they’re taking place. I’ve found it helps me a lot to be aware of these aspects of myself, especially when I’m stressed or anxious about something. There are some great exercises that you can use in the classroom to teach your students how to practice mindfulness as well.
The first one I would like to share is the Mindfulness Glitter Jar Exercise.
It may not be the most original activity for mindfulness, but it’s a great one to get started with if you’re new to practicing mindfulness.
Materials You’ll Need…
- A clear jar (mason jars work great and can be found at a variety of stores!)
- Glitter (I prefer to pick bright colors because I really believe colors make a difference in mood!)
Fill a jar with water and pour some glitter in. Shake it up, swirl it around, and then set it down on the table in front of you. As you watch as the glitter settle, silently focus on how your thoughts get jumbled and chaotic when you’re upset, angry, or worried about something. Imagine your thoughts are the glitter and notice how when the glitter settles, the water clears up and it’s easier to see… Much like when your mind calms down, it’s easier to think clearly and rationally.
If you’re doing this activity with students, have them reflect on how they felt when the glitter was swirling around versus when it had settled. Discuss how the activity helped them imagine their own thoughts in their minds.