Breathing for Kids – Belly Boat Float
Belly Boat Float is a fun way to teach breath awareness, breath control, and deep belly breathing to children.
How does it help me? This technique encourages slow, deep breaths – deep breathing is known to calm the mind and relax the body and is a wonderful self-regulation tool that can be accessed any time.
Placing a paper boat (or any prop) on the belly brings awareness to this point of the body, encouraging one to breathe nice and deep until the belly begins to move. You can actually see the boat move up and down as you breathe and, as the captain of this ship, you discover that you have complete control of its movement via your breath.
The added bonus of Belly Boat Float is making the boats themselves. The Japanese art of origami is known to be meditative, calming and relaxing. It also strengthens hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and encourages patience.
What do I need?
1 x *Paper boat per child (*Search craft sites for a good tutorial on how to fold a paper boat)
Craft Tip: Use plain white paper so that you can paint, decorate and personalize your boat — or use colorful paper, fancy stickers, glitter, tinsel, buttons, or pom-poms to really glitz up your boat. You know, whatever floats your belly boat!
How do I do it?
Once your fabulous paper sea vessels are complete (and dry):
• Rest comfortably on your back on a yoga mat
• Gently place your Belly Boat on your low-belly
• Observe your Belly Boat moving with your natural breath
• Begin to deepen your breath and watch how the movement of the boat changes
• Notice the difference in movement between the natural breath and deep breaths
• How about the difference in how you –the captain of the ship—feel?
• Remember: We want a smooth, safe ride for everybody on board! Breathe, nice and slow and evenly.
Teacher’s Tip: You will always have a kiddo who wants to test out rapid breathing and my best advice to counter this is to remind them that the more skillful way is to breathe slowly and with control. Usually this is enough to challenge them to try the correct way. If this does not work, perhaps remind them that all of the people on the boat will get seasick if they do not find smooth seas quickly!