Kids can make the connection
A basic teaching of mindful awareness is that we are all connected and dependent on one another. Even young children can appreciate this, says Susan Kaiser Greenland.
There's a game I play with little kids using a felt board and felt figures that helps them understand interconnection in a fun and playful way. I take cut-outs of felt figures of corn growing, clouds, the sun, rain, farmers, tractors, trucks, mums, dads, children, grandparents, plates, bowls and other everyday items and arrange them on a table.
Using a felt board I then ask the kids to come up and choose one felt figure from the table and place it on the felt board. I start by showing them how to put the figures on the board and I start off by perhaps putting up the corn figures first. Next, one by one, the kids come up to the board and choose a figure and tell us how it is connected to the picture as they press it onto the felt board.
For example, the sun is connected because it helps the corn to grow. The same with the rain, while the farm tends the corn, the tractor helps the corn to grow by keeping the fields clear, the man and woman harvest the corn, the truck takes it to the store, grandma cooks the corn, and the kids eat the corn. And that's how they're all connected. Then we talk about how we couldn't have corn to eat without everyone helping, including Mother Nature herself.
If you want to, you can pass out corn chips, or other healthy snacks made of corn, so that as the children snack, you can talk more about all the people, places and things that came together to bring this corn to them.
This article first appeared in Awaken, as a Mindfulness Parenting Tip of the Day. Reprinted with permission.
Susan Kaiser Greenland is the author of The Mindful Child and founder of the Inner Kids Foundation. For more of her on Mindful.org, read The "About to" Moment and Teach your kids awareness with an apple!