Mindful Movement does not always need to be calm, slow and serious.

We often talk about, “meeting the body where it is at”. This time of year can present challenges for adults trying to wrangle in the excess energy. Instead of trying to resist the silliness, we recommend offering opportunities for play within the mindful framework.

Trickster and Archetype Game from the Yoga Calm® curriculum helps students identify the trickster in themselves and develop this aspect of the personality in ways that are useful or otherwise positive. This activity allows for playful exploration, perfect for high energy days!

Here are some tips for adding some interest to your weekly literacy lesson and integrating the text connection ELA standard.

Start With Stories

Start by building background with a variety of trickster tales. From Kipling’s Just So Stories to Robin Hood and his Merry Men, skip across time and space to analyze the similarities between all of these tricksters.

Play the Game

Start by spreading the students out around the room. Use the Move Mindfully® Card Deck to get bodies grounded before you begin. We have mapped out sequences for releasing, grounding and calming. Then, call out the name of a trickster, like “Anansi” and watch everyone transform into cunning spiders, scurrying along the floor. I like to use a drum as a cue to start and stop movement. When the drum starts playing, movement starts. The slow, steady beat helps bodies stay regulated and in control.

trickster game

When the drum stops, students show a freeze of the trickster. It is important that after an exciting game like this one, that students are brought back with regulating breathing and movement. Try this follow along video to reset the room.

theater games in school

Extend to Writing

To extend into Writer’s Workshop, you can use photos from the Trickster Game as inspiration for a Trickster Tale. You’ll be amazed how weaving a photograph into the illustration can encourage reluctant writers!

student art work        student art work

Build Self Awareness and Self Esteem

I love that this activity allows students to tap into a side of their personality that is normally seen as taboo. I even had a student come back the next day and say, “Now, Mrs. Kennelly… I normally wouldn’t do this, but I figured you would be okay with it… studying tricksters and all…” After much beating around the bush he presented his prized collection of practical joke items. He was so proud showing off his fake cockroach.

practical joke items

In this world we need architects, advocates and executives… but we also need jokesters. We need the class clown. We need to laugh. And what is funnier than a fake cockroach on your breakfast?

Have you tried the trickster activity? Leave a comment!

Be Well,
Stephanie Kennelly

Mindful Moment Cards

“How was your weekend?”

A phrase that most of us mindlessly utter on Monday morning can be a fairly loaded question. Teachers, mostly white middle class women, come into the classroom with a cultural identity and, knowingly or unknowingly, expect conformity from our students. How does this play out in simple social exchanges?

How about a sharing time, such as morning meeting? Share your favorite TV show (assumes you own a television), share your favorite ice cream (assumes there is money to buy treats)… you get the idea. So, what’s a teacher to ask?

Mindful Moment Cards

Mindful Moment Cards by Lynea Gillen offer an opportunity for personal sharing (either verbally or written response) that are free from cultural bias.

mindful moment cards









Each morning I choose one card to read aloud during our morning meeting.

morning meeting schedule

Then, we go around the circle, pass the sharing rope and respond to the Mindful Moment Card. Try a few out with these Mindful Moment Card Samples.

Sharing in circle time

Examples of Use

One morning the prompt was, “Share your color of calm”.  A boy said, “Orange is calm because I like to cuddle in my bed and read Garfield.” Later in the week, when he was struggling, I asked him, “What strategies do you have to find calm?” He responded, “Breathe in orange.” It was a question that anyone from any cultural background could answer. It allowed us to get to know him on a deeper level AND it provided him with a tool for self regulation. Seems a whole lot better than “How was your weekend?”

teacher modeling sharing

Another morning the prompt was, “Say the name of someone who really listens to you.” The rope made its way around the circle to a boy… who froze. Saying nothing. Blank face. One minute passed. I stood up, sat behind him and placed my hand on his back. The girls on both sides of him placed their hands on his shoulders. Five minutes passed. Total silence. It was excruciating. However, it was also beautiful. Finally, I “pulled the plug” since we were already late for music. The class left the room and the boy remained. After another thirty minutes, he walked over to me and  said the name of a girl in our class. One of the girls who had touched his shoulder during his freeze. I walked him back to the group, where he shared out her name. The class applauded.

I still am not quite sure what exactly happened. Or why it happened. All I know is that we had a moment. Those five minutes in time, looking back, will come to define us as a group. These questions run deep…

Please leave comment! What questions, either from the Mindful Moments Cards, or from your own creation, have had a impact?

Be Well,
Stephanie Kennelly

Early Childhood After Lunch Routine

The transition from lunch to learning can be difficult.

For both children and adults, the transition from lunch back to learning can be difficult. Especially on days when weather does not allow for outdoor time to burn off higher energy! Our after lunch routine is the perfect movement sequence to meet high energy and get bodies ready for a quiet rest time. This routine features cards from our Move Mindfully® Early Childhood Card Deck. Try a sample on our Teachers Pay Teachers site featuring this routine!


First, stand tall in Mountain. Make sure that feet are planted firmly on the ground. It can be helpful to remind children to  “Stand tall and strong like a Mountain!”

Hi Sun

Have children stretch arms up high to the sky. Make this move more playful by waving arms to the sky and saying “Hi Sun!”

Down Dog

We can say “Woof! Woof!” in Down Dog as children wag their tails. This movement gives deep input into the body that helps burn off higher energy. Note, if you want a longer routine, you can have children go back to mountain and cycle through these three movements a few times.


When children are ready for final rest, have them come into Child’s. This can be held for several breaths and you can even place your hands on their backs to encourage slower breathing and offer some more grounding input.

Rest Time

Finally, offer time for quiet rest. We love putting a stuffed animal on children’s bellies so they can use their slow breathing to rock their animal to sleep.

Want to learn more about using Move Mindfully with Early Childhood? Check out some of our other blog posts!

Early Education Tips

Early Childhood Move Mindfully® Card Deck

What have you tried as a routine for after lunch? Leave a comment!