Thursday, May 22, 2014

Learning to Relax with GoNoodle

I've been using GoNoodle each week with our kindergarteners to give them brain breaks (see post here).  They have become obsessed with helping their creatures grow by all of their minutes of dancing...and I'll admit...I have too!  This week I wanted to try some of the calmer videos that focus on breathing and relaxing.  I've been reading a lot about mindfulness, preparing ourselves to attend to what's going on in the moment, and figured I'd give it a try with my little friends.

I used Safe and Calm (3:43) on GoNoodle to get our bodies in a relaxed state ready to learn.  It has clouds that slowly drift across the screen as a calming voice directs you to lay down, close your eyes, belly breathe, and relax different parts of your body.  It was a neat experience to see a room of kindergarteners so relaxed and thanking their hands for all they do (which made myself and their teacher chuckle when some students actually told their hands "thank you").

Afterwards we moved to sit in a circle all facing the same direction.  I guided them through a free awareness activity I found online at Yoga Calm where we drew on each others backs:
  • Place your hands on the back of the person in front of you
  • Begin by making rain on the person's back - gently tapping with your fingertips
  • Now, make it rain all the way down their back - fingers sliding gently up and down their back
  • Then, there is very light thunder - gently tap on their back
  • Then, lightning - draw some long lightning strikes
  • Now, draw big puffy rain clouds
  • Brush those clouds away - gently sweeping your hands across their back
  • Now, the sun comes out - draw a big sun with a happy face and sunglasses
  • Then, place your palms on their back, close your eyes, and feel the warm hands.  Imagine yourself on the beach with the sun warming you
  • When the sun comes out the flowers begin to grow and a rainbow forms - draw these for your friend
  • Now, draw either a gift or a secret message on their back.  See if they can guess what you wrote 
I thanked them all for being so respectful to each other during each of the activities and rewarded them with some free GoNoodle stickers I received in the mail.

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