In my November classes we used bubbles to teach mindfulness and self-control and we used a feelings bottle to talk about strong emotions.
This is good for kids who are at least four years old. Let children know that you will be blowing bubbles and they can run around and catch the bubbles. It helps to have one of those bubble blowers or to have two or more adults blowing bubbles because then there are plenty of bubbles to go around. Let it be chaos and fun, maybe put on some lively music. You can do this for a few minutes.
Then, have them sit on the floor and quiet themselves. Take a few breaths together, put our hands on our knees, give out fidgets to those who may need to hold something, give chairs to those who have trouble being still on the floor. Explain that now, we are going to blow bubbles for two minutes (you can do more or less, and you can build up over time) and we are not going to catch them, but rather sit quietly and allow the bubbles to pop wherever they land. Explain that it will be very hard not to wiggle around to make the bubbles pop on you, but the goal is to sit perfectly still and just watch the bubbles. If you cannot watch the bubbles without moving, you may want to close your eyes. You can play some soft music to help set the mood.
This practice helps build self-control, it helps to give a meditative focus as the kids sit. You may want to talk about which practice was easier/more difficult after. I was surprised that some children find it more difficult to jump around and pop bubbles.
In drama for November, I told a story about a man who’s feelings were “all swirled up inside”. We used a feelings bottle, which is just a water bottle with some glitter glue inside. You can find instructions for making your own feelings bottle here.
In our story, our main character used breathing and yoga poses to help calm all those strong feelings. You can discuss different things that help your kids calm strong emotions – tasting something, feeling something soft, a hug or touch, listening to music, taking a time away, talking about it, etc.
A feelings bottle can easily be made and helps illustrate to children what it is like when their feelings are really strong. We can also use it as a way to talk about what helps calm those feelings, and observe that over time, the glitter settles to the bottom and the water is still.