Have you ever asked a little child what they are thankful for? Once they understand the idea, thoughts come easily for most kiddos. Mostly they are thankful for their mommy and daddy, those essential beings who fill a little one’s world.Read More
Let's get squeaky clean
with herbs and aromatherapy!
Our fourth week of summer camp is all about using herbs, essential oils and other natural materials to care for our bodies all while having a blast! First is a fully description about how to host a spa day for kids. Then there are some great bath recipes that kids can make. Finally, please find a little section for parents!
Finding meaningful ways to engage children in becoming aware of and exploring their emotions is an important step towards raising confident, happy kids. And the last few weeks the kids and I filled our time together breathing deep, talking about our emotions and playing! I would like to share some of the wonderful projects we did that helped us engage our whole-selves, become aware of our emotions and find ways to center ourselves. These projects are perfect to do with young children and even have complete lesson plans for those of you working with a group of kids. Most of the projects have a bit of science thrown in while all of them offer kid-approved fun and creativity!
Conduct a science experiment with essential oils to see what oils insight certain feelings. Then create a unique piece of art work inspired by an aroma of your choice!
Create a beautiful fragrant meditative mandala from lovely botanicals.
Create a special mind jar with a friendly face. This project helps kids learn to breathe and slow down with they feel out of sorts.
A special twist on Meditation Friends that allows for even more personalization of your child's special new friend!
Simple yoga play with a favorite elephant! We used this super fun book to guide us through a morning of giggly yoga.
Do you have any special ways to help kids learn about emotions or mindful ways of how to engage themselves? I would love to hear about them and give them a try!
Wishing you lots of peaceful fun!
Who doesn't like a good foot massage? A nice rub is especially relaxing before bed. Massage oils and balms made with essential oils massaged into the bottom of feet at bedtime helps to induce sleep as well as fight infection.
Did You Know ~ Our bodies are able to absorb a phenomenal amount through the skin on the bottom of our feet. In fact an old remedy for coughs is to rub the bottom of the feet with olive oil, put minced garlic on top of the oil and then put socks over the whole thing. Within a very short amount of time the person's breath will smell of garlic! The garlic then helps to fight infection from the inside of the lungs out as the person breathes.
Creating Foot Balms With Kids ~
What is better than squishing and squeezing a bag of gooey goodness? This is just what we did recently at preschool. The kids each created their own sleepy time foot balm in a little baggie for mixing. Originally we were going to use tins to put the balms in but what fun is that?
- Shea Butter
- Coconut Oil (optional)
- Relaxing Essential Oils, Some Examples Are ~
Important Note: These essential oils are generally considered safe for kids from age 2 and up. If your child is very small and may get into the foot balm or otherwise misuse it, please store it up out of their reach when you are not in the room with them. Essential oils are not safe to use internally.
- Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon) or two of the shea butter and coconut oil in a baggie.
- Let the children smell the essential oils and pick out a couple of their favorites that make them feel relaxed and sleepy.
- Add these essential oils to the shea butter/coconut oil blend. Because this is a really loose project with no exact measurement for the shea butter/coconut oil blend, I errored on the side of too little essential oil, to be safe, rather than risk using to much. So I used up to 6 drops of essential per baggie. This means that if the child choose lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang for the essential oils, I put 2 drops of each oil in their baggie for a total of 6 drops. See Essential Oils for more information on using them herbal preparation safely.
- Seal the bag shut tight!
- Now for the fun part... Mixing it all up! It is the child's job to mix up all that goodness by squishing it around to their heart's content!
To Use ~
At bedtime rub a little bit of the balm on the bottoms of your child's feet. This is a great time to connect with a little massage and conversation or lullaby. Then cover your child's feet with socks. Off to slumber land they go!
A meditation, or mind jar, is a jar filled with liquid, like water and glitter. The child shakes the jar which sends the glitter spinning and spiraling. The glitter is like a busy mind, and mind full of thoughts maybe even negative thoughts that swirls and feels crazy. Has the glitter settles down and the child watches it breathing deep into their belly, they can focus on the glitter and let their mind settle down.
These new kids on the block have a special something added to them~ we created layers in the bottle by adding oil colored with a bit of food coloring to the water. This makes it take longer for the contents to settle down giving the child more time to breathe and calm down. It also makes the liquid a bit more sparkly.Read More
An Original Laurent De Brunhoff Book
A couple of years ago, I spied this awesome book peaking its binding out of a shelf at one of my favorite used book stores. I loved Babar as a child and my child loves yoga, so this was a win-win. I brought Babar's Yoga home with me and wrapped it up for my little one's Valentine's surprise, a total gift of love. Immediately upon opening the book she wanted me to read it and with in moments we were both giggling, breathing and doing yoga together. As I said this was a couple of years ago; she loved the book then and still loves it, keeping it bedside along with a few other precious books.
Babar's Yoga for Elephants also made a trip to the preschool with me as part of our unit on Mindful Self Care. The kids and I read though it, having a blast stretching and rolling around on the floor together. We took a few moments here and there with hands on our bellies to take big deep breaths and center ourselves. When we were all done I checked in with the kids to see how they were feeling. I found them calm and centered. We even had a few moments of silence before they went off on their way which is saying something!
The book starts off with a bit about the elephant's history of yoga and then quickly catches up to modern-day Babar who describes how he uses yoga in his life. He offers multiple yoga routines with fun to see illustrations of an elephant doing yoga. My daughter enjoys setting up the book so she can follow the pictures and do yoga all by herself!
Flowers 'n' spice and everything nice went into these lovely little mandalas!
"What's a mandala Ms. Angela?" was the immediate question I received after telling the kids what would be making together. While showing the kids a mandala coloring sheet I brought in for them, I explained that a mandala is a circle with a center. It has patterns. "As you work on a mandala," I explained, "you become calm and reflect on the beautiful parts inside yourself."
Inspiration for this project came directly from Nuture Store's wonderful post about Play Dough Rangoli Mandalas. The instant I saw these mandalas I knew I would have to make them (with an herbal flare) at the preschool as part of our unit on Mindful Self Care.
- Play Dough (To enhance relaxation during this project I made play dough scented with lavender essential oil and colored lightly with beet powder.)
- Lids of some sort ~ like the lids from yogurt containers or jars
- Pretty botanicals to design with ~ we used baby rose buds, hawthorn berries, star anise and tiny fragrant cardamom seeds.
- Set up your materials on a table. I laid out the botanicals on a paint palate and put lids in the center of the table.
- Give the children a brief age-appropriate description of a mandala.
- Have each child choose a lid and write their name on the bottom.
- Give them some play dough to press into their lid. Remind them that a mandala is a circle and to press their play dough up to the edges of the lid. You might need to help really little kids.
- Then let them design! You might want to tell the children to press the herbs into the play dough so the herbs will stick.
- On a separate table, if you wish set up coloring materials and mandala coloring sheets for the children to enjoy as well. A quick search online will give you lots of mandala coloring sheet to choose from.
Our finished mandalas smelled amazing! Some of the children really got into this project. I could see and feel their minds and bodies relaxing as they carefully pressed each plant into their play dough. They would pick up a plant, smell it taking a deep breath and then place it in the perfect spot on their play dough canvas.
More Mindful Self Care For Children ~
More Play Dough Fun ~
Not long before holiday break we had a lovely day playing with ginger and doing one of the kids' favorite activities, foot soaks! This is a great way to spend a cold winter day especially if little ones are passing any sort of cold around as it stimulates the immune system and helps kids relax.Read More
Yesterday we made this gorgeous rainbow of food for lunch, a yearly Thanksgiving tradition at our preschool. In preparation for making our delicious rainbow I asked each child to bring in a fruit or veggie of a specific color to share.Read More