I teach mindfulness in several early childhood classrooms to special education students with social-emotional concerns. Practicing mindful breathing with these groups is so rewarding. As a culminating activity we make “Breathing Buddies” as a group, then practice breathing with them at Group Time. The students take them home to share with their parents. We love the project, and parents report that students use their Breathing Buddies at home to self-calm.
- Fun socks (one for each student)
- Pillow stuffing
- Rubber bands (5 for each Buddy)
- Soft Chenille Bendable Sticks (2 for each Buddy)
- Sharpie Markers
- Step 1: Each student gets 1 sock
- Step 2: Each student gets stuffing to put inside the sock; after the head of the Buddy is full, add a rubber band.
- Step 3: Repeat step 2 four times so the Buddy has 5 bumps. Tie off the top of the sock.
- Step 4: Using a Sharpie, have the child draw a face on the toe-end of the sock.
- Step 5: Add Chenille sticks for antennae or bows
- Step 6: Practice breathing: using one finger, slide slowly over each bump. Breathe deeply for each bump on the Buddy.
Contributed by Mel Fitzgerald, an Effective Practice Specialist for Student Support Services, Special School District of St. Louis County. Mel graduated from our Year-Long Certification Program in 2016.
Mindful Schools transforms school communities from the inside out. Founded in 2007, Mindful Schools’ graduates have impacted over 750,000 children worldwide. You can learn more about our online course offerings, Mindfulness Fundamentals and Mindful Educator Essentials, and our Year-Long Certification at mindfulschools.org.