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Well, I can’t believe its nearly Halloween and I have a nearly 4 year old. The excitement for Halloween and Birthday celebrations are ramping up, so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce a new mindful breathing activity. We took ourselves out to the woods for some family time and to practice our Broom breaths, which combined with spells, storytelling, witchy crafts and a morning in nature, helped us to all feel more calm, connected and relaxed.
When I first mentioned to my son that we were going to have an adventure in the forest, he was thrilled. I told him Daddy was coming too and he excitedly reminded me about the hut that we had been shown by his playcentre friend on our last visit into the forest. He really wanted to take his Dad there so we hoped that we could remember the way.
Luckily his dad had actually ran past the hut a few weeks ago, so we found the hut no problem and got to enjoy our story time, stretches and even a few spells inside.
I made an illustrated free printable story, ‘The Broom that had no Zoom’ and a stretchy Cat Claw relaxation, its available for you to download for free on my teachers pay teachers store, so be sure not to miss it.
The story of ‘The Broom that had no Zoom’ is a short tale of the magic in the ordinary. One day a witch finds that her magical breath can help to solve a problem. This is a great prompt to discuss how the breath can help us to relax our bodies and calm our minds, so we can take a moment to think and solve a problem or see things in a new way.
In the story the witches cat ‘Black Berry’ demonstrates her cat claw relaxation stretch, this helps us to learn how to relax the muscles in our arms, hands and fingers and treat our bodies kindly. Lowen above shows me how its done! This could also be a lovely activity to combine with a Cat Pose yoga stretch. You can visit my TPT store and download the free Cat Claw stretch below.
Imagine you are a sleepy cat waking up
From his nap.
Inhale and reach both your arms up above your head…. stretch and relax as you exhale.
Shake your arms out.
Breathe in…. squeeze both your hands tightly…. breathe out…. relax both your hands.
Shake your hands out.
Inhale and stretch all your fingers out….. exhale and relax your hands.
Shake your fingers out.
You are as relaxed as a cat.
Next we made a fire for our cauldron and went about creating our Broom Breaths Spell. This was really fun and Lowen even found a stick wand to help with his spell.
First we hold on very tight.
for we’ll be zooming into the night.
Now feeling steady and feeling strong.
Get ready to take a breath that’s long.
Now with a big whiff through our witches nose.
Imagine it reaching our curly witch toes.
With air and magic going inside.
Now, watch our bellies inflate and rise.
Time to breathe out, with a magical zoom!.
And whoosh, you fly on your magical broom!.
You can buy the Broom breaths poster and spell at my TPT store here.
Broom Breaths teaches children that we all have a magical breath that can help us in our day to day lives. Just like when the witch had a problem (her broom having no zoom), we all can use our magical breaths to help us feel calm when we have a problem to deal with. This breath activity helps children to develop an awareness of their magical breath.
Why Teach and Practice Mindful Breathing?
When you practice mindful breathing you are using your breath and senses to develop your attention and focus skills, which can have lots of benefits at home and in the classroom. It is also a great coping skill for learning to manage our emotions and helps to elicit the relaxation response and a feeling of calm.
Small children are not meant to be sat for long periods of time, that’s why I love to teach these skills and include engaging stories, playfulness, creativity and fun props. I’d recommend the book, “Room on the Broom’ by Julia Donaldson to go along with this activity, this is a beautiful story which we have read a lot. At one point we were recreating the scenes of the book in the forest which was great fun. Another prop I use a lot is our Meddy Teddy, he’s so super soft (I’m not kidding, so soft) and he’s great for including in our activities as his legs and arms move and bend too (see him on the broom!) especially if you have a reluctant little one a puppet or soft toy can encourage them to be brave and try something new.
One of our favourite parts of the days was making the witches broom. Lowen has a lot of sticks at home and he comes up with lots of creative ways to use them, when I suggested we make a broom, he instantly started looking for a worthy stick and started to collect the green pine needle branches that had fallen to the floor. He got really excited when he spotted them, THis is one of the joys of getting out in nature and looking for natural resources to craft with. We then just simply gathered the branches at the end of the stick and bound with twine, it was surprisingly sturdy.
The “witches broom” items you’ll need are:
– A broom handle (a sturdy stick)
– The sweepy broom bit (we used pine needles, but you could use grass, straw, sticks or whatever is around.)
– Some twine and scissors
Just being outside and roaming around through the forest can give lots of opportunities for learning and teaching. From just using our senses and noticing what surrounds us in the present moment, to talking about practical things like safety and taking care of ourselves and others when we are in nature, to more thoughtful remarks of gratitude, about how beautiful it is to be amongst the trees. Kids are sponges, and I love how their eyes widen with amazement when they experience or learn something new.
The whole afternoon was a ton of fun, and my little boy had a blast on his broom. I love that we all got out into nature and spent time together doing something creative, relaxing and fun.
Some of the extras resources we used:
- Cauldron Bucket for spells (bought at local Warehouse)
- Room on the Broom – Storybook by Julia Donaldson
- Meddy Teddy
- Broom Breaths and Spell Poster
Leave you thoughts in the comments below, I really love to hear from you!
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26 affirmations and 21 activities and ideas right here. Great for younger and older kids.