Last year I had the opportunity to hear Michele Kane, Ed.D. give a presentation about Contemplative Education, which means helping kids become mindful of their own emotions and experiences through a combination of Eastern and Western practices. One of the ideas Dr. Kane suggested was making a labyrinth with your children using an ordinary roll of masking tape.
At home you could make a labyrinth in the back yard, but at schools teachers could create a giant labyrinth in the common area. Then, when children (or adults) felt like they needed to calm down, they could excuse themselves, slowly walk the labyrinth, and take deep breaths. Dr. Kane had seen this done at a school before where they also kept a tally of how many times the labyrinth was utilized. At the end of the year it was the most popular with teachers!
I have tried out this idea with my own children and found that it worked for a few days. The problems with creating a backyard labyrinth out of masking tape in a Pacific Northwest backyard will be immediately obvious to anyone who lives here. Rain was not our friend! But since a roll of tape only costs a few dollars, this was still a fun summer activity to give a try.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.