MINDFUL ACTIVITIES IN THE CLASSROOM
Using Mindfulness to Improve Physical Literacy
What is Physical Literacy and how can we use mindfulness to improve it?
Physical literacy is sense awareness; being aware of the body and its sensations. Mindful practices help students become more aware of how their physical body is feeling and what their senses are detecting. These practices can help settle the nervous system, regulate energy and cultivate health and well-being. Students can also gain the ability to express what is happening in their bodies and surrounding and use this awareness for impulse control and emotional regulation.
The following are a few activities to help your students practice mindfulness focused on physical literacy.
Language of Sensations
Have students sit on the floor or comfortably in a chair. Ask them to raise one of their hands in front of them. Have them study their hand intently, looking at the color, veins, imperfections, nail beds, etc. Ask them if they feel any sensations in their hands. Now have them close their eyes. Ask, “How do you know your hand is there?” Do not prompt the students into what to say. Have them discover their own language for describing the sensations in their bodies. Ask them what they feel in their bodies.
To enhance this exercise, have students wiggle their fingers, make a closed fist, rub their hands on their leg, or anything that could cause a sensory description. Again, ask how their body feels when they do this activity.
Similar to the exercise above, but choosing different body parts. You can start with hands and feet, or move from the head to the feet. Have students close their eyes. Then, have them focus on different body parts. Ask, “How do you know that body part exists? What sensation do you feel in the body related to that body part?”
This is a fun and boisterous activity, but make sure you have space so students don’t bump into each other. Have your students line up on one side of the room and walk as slowly as possible to the other side of the room. Tell them to walk so slowly they are aware of each muscle movement needed to take each step. Have them also focus on how body parts, other than feet and legs, move when they are walking, such as their arms and head. When finished ask students what sensations they noticed while moving slowly. Also, ask what emotions they may have felt while doing the exercise?
When I went to Omega Institute for the Mindful Educator Workshop we did QiGong every morning. I decided to bring this practice back to my school. My students and I meditate at the beginning of every class Monday through Thursday, but Friday is”QiGong Friday.” This is a great way for students to incorporate movement and mindfulness into their daily lives. Here’s a great video to get you started.
Also great to use for scouts, after-school activities, drama clubs, performing arts studios, 4-H, before or after class…. basically anywhere you want to practice mindfulness.
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