Remember those good old days folding paper into neat little paper boats. The fact that I recall using old newspaper to make mine, most likely ages me. I am also far enough removed from my childhood that I found myself completely stumped when I went to make paper boats during a kids’ mindful movement class I was teaching several years ago. Unable to wrap my head – or my crisp piece of fancy origami paper -- around something that was effortless as a child, I ended up extremely frustrated. Cue mindful breathing and YouTube to the rescue!
Why was I folding paper boats for a mindfulness class? Well, believe it or not, the humble art of origami is meditation in itself; and incorporating arts & crafts in your sessions encourages creative and self-expression for kids as well as a sense of pride and investment in their session. I love sending kids home with something they have made and that they can continue to use to access mindfulness techniques long after our sessions.
Today’s post features an instructional video to make a paper boat, it’s actually quite simple and a little like riding a bike, once you fold a few it will all come rushing back to you! It also features a fun breathing technique, Belly Boat Float, a mindful breathing activity to play with your kids (your own or the children you work with), once you’ve made and decorated your fabulous paper vessels.
Aye-aye matey, off ye go!
Lisa Roberts xoxox
Belly Boat Float
Belly Boats are fun to make and encourage children to feel invested in their mindfulness sessions. Folding the boat itself is a mindfulness practice, and once complete, you can use your Belly Boat as a prop for some good old-fashioned belly breathing.
You will need:
Plain rectangular piece of paper
Craft items to decorate (optional) – paints, markers, stickers, glitter, tinsel, buttons, pom-poms
Fold your paper boat (see instructional video above)
Decorate and personalize boats; allow to dry prior to use
Once dry, relax in a comfortable reclined position and place your Belly Boat on your belly
Breathe naturally and observe any movements, if at all, your boat makes as it floats on your belly ocean
Now begin to breathe slow and full breaths, breathing in until your belly pushes up and the boat rises
Slowly breathe out and watch your boat (and belly!) gently lower back down
Keep breathing this way, not forcing the breath, make it as smooth, slow and even as is comfortable, and enjoy observing your boat bob up and down on your belly ocean
Switch between natural and slow, deep breathing; notice the difference in the movement of your boat, belly ocean and how you feel.
Which breath makes it easier to see your belly boat?
Which breath makes your boat’s journey smooth and safe?
Which breath makes you, the captain, feel in control of your ship?
Tip: Kids may be tempted to test rapid breathing; if they do, remind them that the more skillful way to breathe is slowly and with control. And that all of the people on the boat might get seasick if they do not quickly navigate to smoother seas!
Belly Boat Float