We live in a time when it is all too easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and even children are more frequently experiencing these uncomfortable states. When we teach mindfulness to children, we are sharing with them skillful ways of relating to life’s uncomfortable and challenging moments. The earlier we do so in their young lives, the greater the opportunity to help them cultivate resilience and develop and refine their mindfulness practice as they mature.
When we teach mindfulness to children, we are sharing with them skillful ways of relating to life’s uncomfortable and challenging moments. The earlier we do so in their young lives, the greater the opportunity to help them cultivate resilience and develop and refine their mindfulness practice as they mature.
This approach to sharing mindfulness draws on the elements of nature. Often, we reflect on the beauty and serenity of the natural world out there, and overlook our own beautiful nature. This exercise introduces children to ways of seeing the strength and beauty of nature within themselves, offering a short practice to help relax and observe their experience.
Mindfulness Practice for Preschoolers: Be Like Nature
When we go outside we can see and feel so many wonderful things. Things like trees, and the wind, and the clouds, and the sun.
In many ways we are like these beautiful parts of nature, and for this exercise we’ll be like the tree and the wind and the sun.
Our body is like a tree. It grows and it is strong.
Our breath is like the wind. It flows in and out.
And the sun is like the part of us that is warm and kind.
So let’s lower or close our eyes and sit tall like a tree. We extend our hands way out and stretch our fingers, like branches and leaves. Let’s squeeze our fingers together and then let go and feel them wiggle, like they are blowing in the wind.
And now, with the wind blowing, let’s be like the wind and take a two big, slow breaths. Breathing in . . . and breathing out, blowing out the wind. Breathing in . . . and breathing out, blowing out the wind.
And now the sun comes out and warms the tree and the wind. As it shines on the tree, we feel our body. Can you feel fingers and feel your toes? What else can you feel—just by noticing?
And as the sun shines on the wind, we feel our body breathing. Can you feel your belly moving up and down? Can you feel the air flowing in and out of your beautiful body?
And with the sun up high in the sky, brightening and warming the whole world, you too can warm the world—with your kindness!
Think of someone who can use a little kindness—like your sister or brother, or a friend, or your teacher. And as you think of them, wish for them, “May you be happy,” imagining them smiling like the sun.
You deserve happiness too. So now wish for yourself, “May I be happy,” and smile like the sun.
And as you smile like the sun, feel your body sitting tall like a tree and feel your breath blowing like the wind.
And then gently open your eyes and look around. You are amazing!