Today, it was Exhale.
I took a couple of empty 2 liter plastic bottles and cut the bottoms off. Then, I taped a washcloth around the bottom. We just happened to have waterproof tape on hand, but I'm sure a rubberband would have worked as well. Basically, you want the washcloth to stay on. On a plate I had some bubble solution (dish soap and water concoction) mixed with a little food coloring.
Dip the washcloth into the bubble solution, put the bottle to your mouth...
We discussed what exhale means, and how the bigger the exhale, the longer your trail of bubbles. Want a big bubble trail? Breath in real big before you exhale. That's the inhale.
Breathing, something that comes so naturally we may never think about using activities to teach/practice/explore/discuss it. Yet, as naturally as it comes to us all to do it, there is a gift in actually learning how to control it.
Maybe it's because I have asthma. I have had to try to breathe my way through some pretty scary experiences. Maybe it's because I remember the first time I took a yoga class I couldn't hold a pose to save my life, until I started to control my breathing. Amazing how much easier I could hold a pose after I knew exactly when to inhale, and when to exhale. To me, breathing is something that should be discussed.
That being said, we do a variety of breathing exercises around here. We discuss how we are breathing while practicing Yoga, watching the duckies on our tummies go up and down while laying on our mats. We control our breathing while playing our wind instruments, knowing that the harder we blow the louder it is. We have a harmonica in our 'Calm Down Basket' on which we have practiced specific breathing exercises for calming down.
I'm always up for a way to talk about our breathing, and this was perfect.
Take a deep breath before you put the bottle to your mouth.
Now exhale into the bottle and see what happens.
Sure, we had an occasional immediate inhale after the exhale which resulted in a couple of swallowed bubbles. So we started controlling the inhale.
Inhale, nice and big.
Now put the bottle to your mouth, and exhale into it.
Move the bottle away from your mouth.
We mastered the art of the inhale/exhale and eventually everyone figured out how not to swallow bubbles!
Later in the Clubhouse Classroom there was a little discrepancy over a toy. One Clubhouse Kid started to get frustrated, and his breathing became that rapid, angry breathing that comes right before an "explosion", if you know what I mean. When I came to his side to assist in calming him down, I looked at him and took a deep breath. He looked right back at me, inhaled big, and then blew all that air out... big time.
"Ms. Liz, I just needed to exhale."
He was calm now, and we all resolved the toy dilemma together. Sometimes that's all it takes, a nice deep breath.
Bubbles.. they're not just for popping,