My ten year old is always on the move. She has a million words on her heart and ten thoughts clicking through her mind at any given time. I thought of her often while taking an NGY training about yoga + mindfulness for kids.
The suggestion was made to consider a “walking meditation” focused on the five senses as a way to engage kids in mindfulness. One morning when my daughter was spinning around like a top, I thought, “now is the time to take that mindful five senses walk.”
We tied on shoes and walked down our block to the path that leads into our neighborhood nature preserve. As we walked, I invited her to tell me about what she saw, heard, felt, smelled, and maybe tasted.
Stepping into the preserve, she exclaimed “Look-the heron!” as an enormous bird arced across the horizon. We also noticed the clouds in the sky, the sun overhead, a couple dogs running happily down the path, and one particularly tall tree.
Then she said “Do you hear all those frogs?!?” pointing to the small pond in front of us. We took a few steps toward the pond and listened to all those frogs. We also heard cars passing on nearby streets, a couple of people chatting, and a duck quacking.
Keeping to the edge of the water, she bent down and picked up a small rock. She rubbed her fingers across the rock exploring it’s surface before tossing it into the pond. Then she ran her hand over a nearby patch of clover.
As we circled the pond, a breeze blew the scent of honeysuckle our way. My daughter decided that would be both what she smelled AND what she tasted. We found the honeysuckle bush at the edge of the path that led back to our block and stood there for a while savoring the delight the flowers brought our noses and tastebuds.
Strolling back towards our house, I asked my daughter how she felt. She smiled and said, “settled.” For a child who is always busy, that sounded like mindfulness to me. We chatted all the way home about what we had noticed and appreciated on our walk.
What could you notice with your five senses while out on a walk? What could you invite your child to notice along with you? Are there any other walking meditations you and your family could explore when you need a few moments of mindful connection? Leave a comment below or email Jocelyn to share ideas!