Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Optional: Cushions, sheets or blankets for participants to sit on outside
- Optional: A timer
Preparation for Activity
- Decide if you will have the children do a walking meditation or a sitting meditation while outdoors.
- Find an accessible, quiet outdoor location for the meditation. Scout for poison ivy, fragile plantings, or other features of concern and make sure to warn co-leaders as well as participants about these before you go outdoors.
- Make sure you have enough adult volunteers and appropriate permission to bring the group outdoors.
Description of Activity
Tell the children they will do a meditation. You may say:
We will meditate outside so we can pay attention to the outdoors and how being outdoors makes us feel. Please remember that although it is nice to do a meditation together, meditation needs some silence. When we meditate, we keep our bodies, our hands, our words and even our thoughts to ourselves.
Make sure everyone has appropriate outerwear and, if needed, something to sit on. Take the group to the location and lead the meditation you have chosen.
Even two minutes of silence can be meaningful (and challenging) for this age group. Before you begin the meditation, tell the children how many minutes of silence they must keep. Use your voice or a chime or bell to signal the beginning and end of the meditation. You may like to ask the children what they thought about or observed, and then try another meditation period - perhaps a minute longer.
Invite participants to walk around on their own and quietly observe with their five senses. Ask them to be mindful of what they smell, hear, see and touch. Remind them not to touch one another and to keep silent for the designated time.
Help the participants arrange themselves sitting comfortably so none is touching another or too close to another's "personal space" - so that each child is surrounded by nature. Invite them to close their eyes to meditate if they are comfortable doing so, or to look around them quietly as part of the meditation. Ask them to be mindful of what they smell, hear, see and touch.
Afterward, see if the group can walk back to the meeting room in silence, continuing the meditation.
Including All Participants
Make sure the outdoor meditation space and the meditation activity itself are fully accessible to all participants.