Wellbeing Resources For Children

Welcome to these wellbeing activities and videos from Barnsley Museums, developed to support the social, emotional and mental health of children and young people. This has been created following consultation with teachers, many of whom indicated that the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is a key priority during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We believe that arts and culture play a key role in mental health and wellbeing, allowing people to be creative and express themselves in fun and imaginative ways. Museums are spaces for exploration and creating a sense of place – many of these activities use Barnsley Museums’ objects, buildings and outdoor spaces as inspiration. The resources have been designed with a focus on children ages 7-11, however many of the activities can be adapted or used with younger or older children as you wish. The activities can be carried out at home – either as part of a blended learning approach, or as a way for young people and their families to focus on their mental health and wellbeing together.

There are four sections to this blog: Mindfulness videos, Yoga, Dance and Music.

Mindfulness

All the techniques used in the videos can be used over and over again in multiple settings, indoors or out, in groups or by yourself.

The videos provide a toolkit for self and environment exploration. The first 3 videos use traditional mindfulness meditations to promote wellbeing and body connection. The last 3 videos use mindful ‘close looking’ as a way to be in the world differently and promote connection to the world around us. 

Mountain Meditation

This mindful meditation practice is easy to learn and can be used by anyone at any time. It is used to promote self-confidence, stability, mental wellbeing and feelings of being grounded. Many of us have felt adrift and uncertain at some point in our lives, and this meditation helps us to take strength from nature. The stronger the image of the mountain, the quicker the child will be able to access the qualities of strength and stability of body and mind. 

5 Senses Countdown

This mindful meditation is ideal for dealing with anxiety and over-thinking. If a child can learn to bring their attention back to the present moment, in particular their senses, and begin to really inhabit the place they are in, this process counteracts anxiety and worrying projections into the future  helping to calm down the nervous system.

Moving Meditation

This mindful movement practice draws on the previous two videos – ‘Mountain Meditation’ and ‘Five senses countdown’ and then takes the children through some very simple Qi Gung movements. This promotes mental and physical health by strengthening a connection to the body and the present moment and by encouraging deeper breathing. This is invaluable for calming down the nervous system and connecting to the body in space

Close Looking and Effortless Drawing

This video uses mindful looking to encourage being in the world in a different way. It uses the mindful concept of ‘beginner’s mind’ to engage with our environment and the objects in it in a different and interesting way. It introduces the idea of Close Looking and then uses this technique to explore effortless mark making, where there is no trying, but simply noticing what happens. 

Close Looking at Art

This video uses the ‘close looking’ technique with 3d objects. Promoting present moment awareness and sensory exploration this technique can be used with any object. It is particularly useful for developing a relationship with 3d artworks, installations, crafts and sculptures, but can just as easily be adapted to be use in nature and with everyday objects. 

Close Looking at Objects

This video uses the ‘close looking’ technique with 3d objects. Promoting present moment awareness and sensory exploration this technique can be used with any object. It is particularly useful for developing a relationship with 3d artworks, installations, crafts and sculptures, but can just as easily be adapted to be use in nature and with everyday objects. 

Children’s Yoga

This short children’s yoga video is designed to relax your pupils, and encourage them to move gently, notice how they feel, and deepen their breath. 

Dancing For Wellbeing

Dancing is a fantastic way to improve happiness and wellbeing. Moving our bodies helps make us feel happy, alert, connected with ourselves, other people and our surroundings. The following plans provide details on the content of the three dance videos provided. All the instructions for your pupils will be on the videos. 

Please see the safety notes for moving safely at the bottom of these instructions or on the videos themselves. Please note that Video 3 involved children dancing with a natural object they have found outdoors – this activity will need to be done in advance of using this video. 

Once your pupils have completed each video, they can record how they felt and what they thought about the activity in their journals. You can re-visit any part of any video you like or develop certain areas in more detail, responding to the needs of your pupils. 

Dance With Your Senses

This session is about waking up the senses, noticing things about our bodies, having a go at something new and most of all – having fun!  

You can pause the video at any time to give your pupils the opportunity to explore elements in more detail, or discuss what they are doing. 

Dance With A Painting

This session is about finding new ways of moving. It will be looking at pattern, texture and shape in paintings from Cooper Gallery and how they can inspire pupils’ movement. There is no right or wrong way of dancing with paintings, it’s about having a go, being curious, using your imagination, expressing yourself. And having some fun on the way. 

Dance With Nature

This session is about finding a connection with nature and using this connection to inspire new movement ideas. Please bring a natural object you have collected from outside: a stick, a leaf, a seed. 

Dance With Emotions

The ‘Dance with emotions’ video is 40 minutes long and may fit nicely into a PE lesson. It begins with a fun warm up activity before teaching children a series of dance moves, getting them to think about and express their emotions. Children will explore movement and come up with their own ideas in response to different music. The session ends with pupils learning a set routine which they can come back to and re-visit in future lessons.

*Safety 

As these sessions will be online and I am not physically in the space with you and your child/children. Please take into consideration the following. 

  • Please make sure that you have a clear space as much as possible so you can move around easily, removing any hazards within the room. 
  • Wear appropriate clothing for movement, including bare feet or secure shoes. Socks are ok on carpet but not slippery floors. 
  • Take part in a way that is right for you. Try and complete the session so you have a calm down at the end but stop sooner if needed. 
  • Have water accessible throughout the session. 
  • Feel free to use any ideas from the sessions at another time but adhere to safety precautions. 

Music

1. Rhythm, Voice and Body percussion warm-ups and games

Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression. Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music. Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory

2. Music from around the world

Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians. Develop an understanding of the history of music. Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory

3. Pitching, scales and songs

Visit our website http://www.barnsley-museums.com/resources-for-schools for more resources from Barnsley Museums Learning

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