Mental health matters!
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With all of the challenges facing the whole community over the last few months, our mental health, and our children’s mental health, is extremely important at the moment. We’ve gathered all of our favourite mindful activities in one place, for you to enjoy in the classroom or at home, to help you feel calm and relaxed.
We were lucky enough to get feedback from the wonderful Shelley Smith, psychotherapist and founder of Sunrise Wellbeing in Leicester. Check out what she had to say about each activity below.
‘All of these activities can help you to feel present in the moment, together with being mindful and creative to support your mental health and well-being.’ – Shelley Smith, founder of Sunrise Wellbeing
Tiny Owl’s mindful activities
1. Make your own calming bottle
In three easy steps, you can create your own calming bottle!
Shelley Smith says ‘Making a calming bottle is a great activity for all ages. It is fun and creative, but also shows us when our thoughts are whizzing around in our mind, we can struggle to see things clearly. This can sometimes bring about negative emotions, leaving us feeling overwhelmed. A calming bottle shows us that when you pause and stop, your thoughts and feelings can settle and you can feel more relaxed. Using the breath as a relaxation technique alongside this can help to bring the sensation of calm, as things settle.’
2. Flower pressing
Shelley Smith says ‘What can you not love about seeing beautiful flowers? When you are really present, and in the moment, your attention is drawn to all of the amazing colours and textures around us. Once you’ve chosen your flowers to press, take note of how they look and smell. What do you notice? A couple of weeks later when you have pressed your flower – what has changed? You could display your flower in a frame to remind you of its beauty, or send it to someone has a gift of kindness. Remember when we are kind to others, this also makes us feel happy.’
3. Thinking about feelings
This activity inspired by A Bottle of Happiness, encourages us to think about our feelings.
Shelley Smith says, ‘Sometimes when we are feeling low or having a ‘sad’ day it can be difficult to think of the things that make us happy. Focusing on what is in your bottle of happiness can help you to feel re-connected to people around you and to bring your attention back to the positives through a growth mindset. You could frame your bottle picture to remind you of all the good things or make your own bottle using things that remind you of happy times and places.’
4. Printing with Dunja Jogan
Stop, look, breathe and print! This fantastic how-to video put together by author and illustrator of Felix After the Rain is great for little ones!
Shelley Smith says ‘Felix After the Rain is an amazing book to support emotional literacy with beautiful illustrations. With art, there is no right or wrong way. Focusing on a creative task, such as trying out this printing technique, can be therapeutic and calming. You can do it on your own or create a piece of art alongside someone else. Why not try this wonderful printing technique and create cards for your loved ones or neighbours?’
5. Dare to dream
Dare is an inspirational poem full of messages of empowerment, encouragement and the joy of daring to be the best person you can be. With our activities, encourage little ones to put their dreams into action!
Shelley Smith says ‘Daring to do something can take courage and bravery. Sometimes we might want to speak out or say no, but we are left feeling like we shouldn’t. This activity shows that being kind to ourselves, daring to make a difference and to embrace our own happiness can be so powerful. It boosts our self-esteem, gives us confidence and brings happiness and hope to our lives. Always follow your dreams and have faith in your own, amazing strength.’
6. Grobblechops daily journal
The Reading Agency selected Grobblechops as a brilliant book for mental health!
Shelley Smith says ‘Journaling is a great way to support our overall mental health and wel-lbeing. It can help us take note of how we are feeling, and process things that have happened during a particular day, as well as help us to let go of any worries. Sometimes it can be difficult to put how we are feeling into words, so drawing it as a picture or doodle is another good way of letting out any thoughts or emotions that you are feeling.’
7. Caged bird mobile
Set the birds FREE with your own mobile! Colour in the beautiful line drawings put together by Duncan Annand, illustrator of Caged.
Shelley Smith says ‘Birds can symbolise a sense of freedom to many. Creating this wonderful bird mobile is a lovely activity for all ages, you can be as imaginative and creative as you like. When you hang your mobile you can use it as a grounding, calming object to focus on. If you are feeling anxious, or scared, or worried, bring your attention to this bird, watch how it moves, notice any shadows – this will help you to separate from the difficult feelings and bring yourself back to the present moment.’
You will need:
- Paint, pencils or pens
- Cardboard and glue (optional but recommended)
- Stick from a tree
Download mobile template here
8. Read along and fly with Tiny Owl
Books such as Felix After the Rain, Dare, Grobblechops, and When I Coloured in the World, which encourage you to open up about your feelings, are especially important at the moment! Watch our reading of When I Coloured in the World below.
Watch more videos from #FlyWithTinyOwl here
- Read more: Psychotherapist offers support for teachers and parents during the pandemic
- Read more: Grobblechops is selected by The Reading Agency as a top book for mental health
- Watch more: Books are crucial for exploring emotions – Dr Sara Williams
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