There are many activities to expand on Visiting Feelings. The Parents’ Note at the back of the book describes several. Here are some other ideas that can be combined into a class. Feel free to pick and choose depending on time, space and audience.
Read Visiting Feelings
Yes/No Game: “Sometimes I feel…..” This can be used as a warm-up, or to get the kids moving after having sat for the book reading.
Divide the room into two sides, one for Yes and one for No. Call out, “Sometimes I feel happy.” The kids who agree run to the Yes side; others go to the No side. Keep it fun, and adapt to the age of the group. E.g., with little ones you might use wiggly, giggly, huggy or snuggly, grumpy, etc. Make sure to sprinkle in some outrageous statements that are likely to evoke No’s. E.g., Sometimes I feel like a grandma, an octopus, a tyrannosaurus.
Brain Lesson: Wizard vs. Lizard brain. This will be the subject of an upcoming blog.
Guess the Feeling Game: Whisper a feeling into a volunteer’s ear, and ask her to act it out without words. The other children guess what the feeling is, then describe how they knew. Progress from easy (happy, sad, angry) to moderate (excited) to more difficult feelings (confused, frustrated), depending on ability and interest. If the children are engaged and there are too many for each to get a turn, assign partners and give them a feeling to demo together. Encourage the children to get very specific about how they identified feelings – you will be surprised at their skill.
Integrating Yoga: So many yoga poses are suggestive of feelings. Let your imagination be your guide. I like to group poses together based on basic shapes. Depending on activity level, you can begin with standing poses and work down to the ground, or begin on the ground and transition to standing. Introduce a pose, e.g. Star, and ask, “If the star had feelings, what might they be?” Or, “What are three words to describe a Star?” The feelings listed are just ideas – the children will be delightfully creative. As an add-on, you might ask, “Show me how you breathe when you’re [feeling].”
- Star – proud
- Mountain — strong
- Tree—steady, focused
- Warrior—brave, powerful
- Volcano—explosive, angry
- Mouse — shy
- Child’s — relaxed
- Puppy – excited, playful
- Puppy peeing on the carpet [table with lifted leg] – naughty? Ashamed?
- Cat—angry vs content
- Dragon, fire-breathing
- Butterfly, flower
- Boat—graceful, ease, go-with-the-flow
- Laughing Circle (or pedal laughing on back) – silly
- Tarzan’s Thymus Tap
- Snake – sneaky
- Lizard – lazy
- Pedal Laughing = silly
- (Happy) Baby
- Birthday Candle (shoulderstand)
Optional Partner Work
Divide into pairs and have them breathe seated back-to-back, feeling their partner’s breath.
In Savasana, use an iRest guided meditation, asking the children to locate opposite sensations in their bodies: e.g., warmth then coolness, tight then relaxed. Or read Bubble Riding by Lori Lite.
A nice way of ending is with Electric Circle from YogaKids, where the children pass a hand squeeze around the circle.
Or, cultivate peaceful feelings by having the class repeat after you, “May there be peace in my mind [touch head], peace with my words [touch mouth], peace in my heart [hands on heart], and let’s send peace out into the world [place palms together at heart center, then extend arms out].
Hand out stickers with a visual from the book and the line, “I visited my feelings today!” Email me at DrLaurenRubenstein@gmail.com for a PDF sheet you can use; just buy sticker paper, print and cut!
What activities have you done based on Visiting Feelings? Can you add to any of these activities, e.g. another yoga pose? We would love to hear some of your ideas!