Tea Time is a perfect mindfulness activity for kids. Even in the school setting, we will occasionally set out the placemats, and tea cups and spend some relaxing moments in connection and mindful sensory perception. Kids love it! Both the boys and girls.
Every Moment Counts
I utilize every moment for mindfulness from the making of the tea to the empty cup and you can too! Every sense is engaged in the process and kids have so much fun practicing their mindfulness tools while slowing down to be present and truly connect with one another.
First, deliberately choose an aromatic tea. Some favorites of mine are hibiscus, rose, spiced chai, or peach. And, I ask the kids to guess the flavor. I remove the lid to the tea pot and walk around our tea table, asking each to take a deep breath in while smelling the steam drifting from the pot.
If you don’t want caffeinated tea, try rooibos chai, or pass around the packet of loose leaf chai so that kids can still experience the richness of the chai aroma.
Attention: Tea Cup
Next, before I pour the tea, I ask each child to look at the tea cup in front of them and to share what they notice about it. Often they surprise me with different details! They note the softness of the cup, the paint texture, the color of the cup and corresponding saucer, and the shiny places where the light hits the bottom of the cup. Sometimes I also also pass various other tea cups around the group and ask them to notice and share the special features of each one. My daughter, Maiya, painted this owl tea cup above and kids LOVE to notice the details on that one.
As I pour the tea, I invite them to tune in to listening to the sound of the tea as it enters the cup. They give me analogies such as a fountain, running stream, bubbling brook, or running faucet.
Then, once again, we smell the tea’s aroma and I open up the discussion to other times where they had tea or smelled a similar fragrance. I talk about how smells carry memories and this can be a particularly pleasant memory from school today.
Fun Tea Infusers
As you can see in the photo above–there are tons of fun diffusers out there. I found this cute hippo at a local tea shoppe. His paws make him hang over the edge of the cup while he is diffusing tea into the hot water.
The duckie is another adorable example. Tea time is all about fun and engagement, that’s how we wake up the brain so it takes in the learnings about mindfulness and stores them better. The more novel and interesting, the more the information will be stored.
We then pass around a plate of small cookies. Because the emphasis is on present moment awareness and mindfulness, I choose small cookies so that the focus is on the taste and not on eating the cookie. I ask them to place the tiny cookie in the palm of their hand, asking them what the sensation is of having the cooking resting there. They share that it feels soft, light, rough, scratchy, or sticky.
Then they place a bit of cookie on their tongue and allow their mouth to respond, paying attention to every sensation as they do it. I ask them more questions. Does your mouth water? Does it taste sweet, sour, bland? Do you sense that you want more of the cookie or not?
Mindfulness as Stress Reduction
After this initial journey through the senses, we spend the rest of the time talking about mindfulness. I invite them as homework to share this experience with a parent in the next week. Since it was just before Mother’s Day this year, I invited them to take their mom to tea or make a mindfulness tea party at home and to share about it at our meeting the next week. Our conversation drifts to discussing stress and its effects on the body and mind and how we can use slowing down and mindfulness to feel better. Some students then share about how stressed out their parents are and how they haven’t seen them relax in a while.
Variation: Bedtime Routine
Make mindfulness tea time part of your bedtime routine with your child. The best relaxing chamomile tea that I have EVER found is a French tea called “Nuit Calm.”
I stumbled across it in Paris while my daughters and I were traveling and it made such an impression that I searched for it when I returned to the States. It is ultra smooth, hard to explain, but kind of makes me think of silk if it could be represented in a tea. I found it on Amazon!
Variation: Airplane Tea Time
Next time you have several hours on a flight without much to do or are wanting a way to relax, try flight tea time with your child. Celestial Seasonings sells these little tins (see photo above) where you can carry your tea bag with you. Ask the stewardess for a couple of hot waters and complete your mindfulness practice through tea time at 30000 feet!
Wishing you many peaceful moments!