“What is mindfulness? I think of it as being present and aware of the moment. Here’s what Google says:
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while
calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
As a mother and person in this fast-paced day & age, I struggle to be mindful when I’m with my kids and to teach them how to be mindful (or is it them teaching me?). As I embark on my own spiritual journey to increase my ability to find calm in any moment, mindfulness is a theme that continually pops up.
When I want to incorporate a spiritual practice in my life, I have to keep it simple. So I’ve begun to look at how I can be more mindful in play activities with my kids. Exploring nature with my kids is a great way for me to practice being more mindful when I’m with them. Here’s how my kids and I like to explore nature mindfully:
- Make it fun: Let your child be a little explorer and take them outside to gather nature items in a bag or box. You could even have them wear a fun explorer hat or give them props like toy binoculars or a toy magnifying glass for fun pretend play.
- Let the explorer explore: Let your child experience his or her surroundings and follow their lead.
- Observe the environment: When you are outside talk about what you see (blue sky, green grass), hear (dogs barking, birds chirping), smell (rain), and feel (the grass feels soft, a rock feels bumpy). When you are describing your surroundings you are truly in the moment and it’s great for supporting language development.
- Examine nature items: After collecting items, take each item out one at a time and let your little one examine the item in whatever way they would like to. Then talk with your child about what the items are, where they came from, what they look like, and how they feel. When we tap into our senses this helps us experience a moment fully.
- Connect with your child: Ask your child questions about what they see and feel, and which ones they like the best. Let them lead the interaction.
- Have fun together!
Here’s a fun nature exploration activity for kids of many ages!
What types of outdoor activities help you and your kids feel more mindful?