The Mindfulness Summer Challenge

The Mindfulness Summer Challenge

Welcome to the Mindfulness Summer Challenge! I invite you to set an intention to introduce more mindfulness practice and mindful moments into your day during these summer holidays. To help you out, each week I will be posting seven activities based around a theme for you to try. Why not keep a journal throughout the summer to record your thoughts, feelings, and reflections about the activities you complete.

As we’re having such wonderful weather, this week’s activities all focus around the great outdoors. In a world where there is so much disconnect from nature and the outdoors, there is a risk that children may miss out on wonderful opportunities to naturally enhance their emotional well-being. There are many studies that highlight the value of access to nature including increasing self-esteem, resilience, improving concentration, and developing self-awareness. It also helps to promote a positive relationship with the world around us.

You can download a worksheet of all these activities here. Don’t forget to record your reflections in your journal!

What can you hear?

Standing or sitting outdoors, take three deep breaths before gently closing your eyes.  Spend time (a minute per year of age) noticing all the sounds around you. How many did you hear? Were they natural or man-made sounds? Were there any sounds that surprised you?

What does it feel like?

When out for a walk, I invite you to touch objects around you. Notice the different textures and feelings . Perhaps it’s tree bark, a post, a leaf, a flower, the seat of a swing. What do you notice? Is it hot or cold, smooth or hard, bumpy or scratchy? Is there anything that surprises you?

Tree Pose

Without a doubt, tree pose is my most favourite pose for mind-body awareness. I simply cannot hold the pose if I let my mind be swept away by a thought! Find a point to focus on. Slowly lift up your foot, bend your knee, turn it to the side and let your foot connect at the foot, calf or thigh. Imagine your standing leg pressing into the ground like tree roots, press your foot into your leg and leg into your foot. Bring your hands together then slowly raise them above your head like branches reaching up to the sky. Then try on the other side!

Nature and Craft

There are so many amazing craft activities you can do with objects  that you can collect from outdoors. Perhaps make a nature mandala, leaf impressions, a nature mural, or even a wind-chime using shells. I’ve saved lots of ideas on my Pinterest page!

Mindful Walking

Taking a mindful walk is one of the best ways to relax and de-stress. There are so many different mindful activities that you can do during a walk. Try a simple mindful walking exercise by slowly and carefully walking and paying close attention to how your foot feels as it connects with the ground. Or set an intention for the walk such as to notice five different types of tree or to notice as many colours as you can.

Watching the clouds

This timeless activity is fun for everyone from 2—100! Laying on your back, simply watch the clouds drift overhead. For younger children invite them to notice shapes, animals, faces in the clouds. For older children, invite them to attach a thought to each cloud and watch it float past.

Gratitude

I invite you to imagine being in your favourite place outside, or imagine your favourite thing from the natural world. Perhaps it’s a park, woodland, beach, an animal or tree. Send thoughts of thanks and gratitude to this place or part of the natural world. Think about how special it is to have this in your life and send thanks and gratitude to the world for having these amazing things in it.

 

Good luck with your mindfulness practices this week. Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment or posting a picture on social media using #calmstrongminds. See you next week!

Chartered Clinical Psychologist at | [email protected] | Website

Louise is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist specialising in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mindfulness. She set up Calm Strong Minds in 2017 to help families to access information and ideas on using mindfulness to develop resilience, confidence, and inner strength. Louise also works in a specialist London NHS hospital with children, young people, and their families.

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