Mindfulness Activities for the Whole Family

This November, let’s take a breath together. Let’s take a moment to unclench our jaws, drop our shoulders, and practice mindfulness.  Check out this month's activities for pre-k/early elementary students and middle/high school students!

For Pre-K/Young Elementary Students:

The Mindful Mouse Meditations

Suggested Book/Read Aloud: Frederick by Leo Lionni 

 

Materials: open space, a blanket/towel or yoga mat to lay on. 

Illustrations by Leo Lionni

 

A note on facilitation:  To facilitate this activity, we suggest an adult  reads through the following steps 1 - 10 out loud for young children to follow.  The goal is to have them practice the movement before then listening to the full read-aloud of the book and moving along to the narration.

 

  1. Find an open, quiet space and something soft to sit or lay on. We suggest a blanket, towel, or yoga mat.  

  2. Sitting up criss cross applesauce, go ahead and take three big belly breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

  3. Move your body so you are standing with both feet on the floor. 

  4. At the beginning of the story, the little mice work to gather food for winter. With your feet still on the floor, reach your arms up high above your head as if you are grabbing bits of corn and grain. Next, squeeze your hands shut and pretend to pull the food toward your mat. Do this five times. 

  5. Frederick, however, does not help gather food. Instead, he gathers the warmth of the sun and the bright colors of the spring and summer. If you feel comfortable, move to lying down on your back and close your eyes. Take three big belly breaths. Think of the sun and pretend it is warm on your whole body. Wiggle your toes and fingers as if the sun is kissing them. 

  6. Next, the little mouse family gathers together in the old stone wall. In your space, curl yourself into a tight cozy ball. You can rock back and forth if it feels good. Stay there for five big belly breaths. 

  7. The winter is long for the little mouse family, and the cold begins to make them feel shivery. Standing up in your space, can you pretend to shiver? Shake out your arms, legs one at a time, and then give your body a big shake.

  8. Frederick sees his family is cold and sad. He helps his family by reminding them of all the beautiful colors and flowers. In your space, can you turn your body into a beautiful red flower? What about a blue one? Can you stretch your arms up and round them, as if you had a big blossom on your head? Next, can you be tall slender wheat, using your arms to wave side to side? 

  9. Come back to sitting on your spot and take three big breaths to end our movement story. 

  10. Listen to the audiobook of Frederick the mouse. As you listen, try and do the movements that we just practiced when you hear them in the story. 

Bonus: We love the Chicago Children’s Theatre Puppet Show of this book found here.  

Can you paint a picture with all of your favorite colors that make you feel warm and happy inside? Send it to Emit Theatre at info@emittheatre.org!

For Middle/High School Students:

Sensory Mime Exercise - Our Town

 

Suggested Play: Our Town by Thornton Wilder

                                    (PDF available here)

 

Materials: a quiet space

“Let's really look at one another!...It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed... Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?”

― Emily Webb, from Thornton Wilder's Our Town

 

For this activity, we’ve chosen Our Town by Thorton Wilder, a play that finds the beauty in everyday things. The above monologue is spoken posthumously by the character Emily Webb as she reflects on all the things she misses about being alive. It is specified in the stage direction of the play that there be very few actual props used in the production. Productions of this play often use a technique called mime. Mime is short for a theater technique called Mimesis, which means "to imitate reality."  Actors often find that accessing their senses helps them to create even more realistic miming. Inspired by Emily's monologue, the activity below will guide you through the basics of miming a cup of coffee by using your senses.

 

  1. Start off sitting in a chair, with your feet on the floor and your back straight. Close your eyes and start to imagine a cup of coffee. 

  2. Think about the shape and  of the cup. Is it a round cup or more of a cylindrical mug? Is it big or small? What material is it made out of? Is it ceramic or metal? Does it have color or design? Looking inside of the cup, how full is it? In your mind, did you add milk to it, making the color of the liquid inside lighter?  Spend as much time as you need really visualizing all of the components of what is holding your coffee. 

  3. Move your hands to try and fit the shape of the cup in your mind. How do your hands curve around it? Does it support the bottom of the cup? Is there a handle on the cup? Is it a piping hot cup of coffee or a more temperate one? Do you hold close to your body or far away? 

  4. Can you imagine the scent of the coffee? Is it more sharp smelling? Do you associate the smell of coffee with anyone or any place? Take a few moments to really imagine the smell of the coffee filling your whole nose. 

  5. Does the coffee or the cup emit any sounds or is it mostly silent? 

  6. Finally, think of the taste. Do you find it bitter, earthy, robust, or watery? As you pretend to bring the cup of coffee to your lips, try to think about the sequence of your body movements.  What happens as you pretend to take a sip? 

  7. When you’ve gone through the exercise, take a moment to release your coffee cup, take a few deep breaths, and come back to center.

Bonus: Look through the monologue. Are there any strong images that stand out to you? Pick an image (such as a hot bath or sunflowers) and see if you can use your five senses to create a more realistic moment. 

Show us your creations by tagging @EmitTheatre on Instagram!

Emit Theatre

New York, NY

info@emittheatre.org

917-719-6766

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