Goal of Activity:
In early childhood, we learn through sensory discovery and experience. With Colorful Feather Breathing, preschoolers and young school-agers will engage in a basic mindfulness practice of breathing. They will begin by exploring feathers using their senses. Then, they will use the feathers to create a colorful peacock craft. Lastly, they will use these feathers to experience mindful breathing exercises. This craft is intended to be a resource for reminding young kids of mindfulness when encountering strong emotions.
This activity combines creativity and a mindfulness breathing exercise. Mindful breathing is when we think and focus on how we breathe. How does a long breath make you feel? What about shorter breaths? This activity is a great way for young school aged participants to learn how to practice breathing when they need to regulate strong emotions. By the end of this activity, you will have a handcrafted peacock that will both serve as a reminder of mindfulness breathing while hanging on a wall or fridge, and can be used for mindful breathing daily!
Before we begin, let’s make sure your workspace is ready to go with your materials. You will need a paper plate, colorful feathers, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, construction paper, and coloring utensils. With the help of an adult, gather these materials and place them on a flat surface.
Step 1: First, we can begin by taking your paper plate. Have an adult help you to cut the paper plate down the center in a straight line to make two equal semicircle halves. This will be the body of the peacock! Set both of these aside for now. Option: I used larger scissors in this example, but kid-sized scissors will work just as well!
Step 2: Now let’s take the colored feathers - it’s time to engage our sensory tools! Look closely at the feather. What color do you see? How does it feel in between your hands? On your cheek? Does the feather make a sound? With an adult, take a moment to slow down and examine the feather. How does this relate to your breathing? Does your breath have sound? How about feeling it? Is it hot or cold? Can you see your breath? For me, I can usually only see it when it is very cold outside! How about you?
Step 3: Next, time to glue down your feathers. These feathers will start to bring your peacock to life! Bring over one of your semicircle plates, and flip it over so that the bottom of the plate is face-up. Now, take one feather at a time, and using the glue stick, rub the plate section you’d like to place your feather in an “up and down” motion about 5-10 times, starting at the straight edge of the semicircle and towards the top of the half circle. Then, take your feather and push it down hard on the glued spot for about 10-15 seconds until the feather is stuck in place. Continue this step for each feather until the entire semicircle paper plate is covered. Feel free to be creative in how you line up the colored feathers. I chose to glue them in rainbow order, but you can glue them in any order you want!
Step 4: Then, once you are finished placing your colorful feathers, let’s make the peacock face! With an adult’s help, use your scissors to cut a circle out of your construction paper. Use the coloring utensils to create eyes and a beak. Explore different colors, the shape of the beak, and the formation of the eyes. The face of the peacock is up to you! Then, in a circular motion, rub the glue on the back of the decorated circle and glue it right at the center towards the very bottom of the plate. Be sure to push extra hard because you are gluing right on top of feathers! I pushed my head on the peacock for about 20-30 seconds.
Step 5: You have finished creating your Feather Breathing Peacock! With this finished product, you can use this peacock as a guide for learning how to adjust from feeling upset or angry, to feeling more calm and relaxed.
I started by taking my peacock, and looking at the left-most feather (red, for me!). I will blow at this first feather with my strongest and loudest breath. This feather is when you are the most upset and need deep belly breath! Then, my next breath for my orange feather is less intense. For me, this was using less of my belly. How do you slow down your breath a little at a time? What do you do differently from breath to breath? Do you sit up straight? Do you soften your exhale?
My breaths start to get shorter and softer as I move to each feather along on my peacock, from left to right. Once I am at the right-most feather (pink, for me!), I am feeling more calm and in tune with my breathing. I take one last super soft breath. Try it for yourself! Feel free to make this mindfulness exercise your own. You are welcome to go in a different order, try this sequence more than once, or even blow on the peacock feathers as a whole instead of individually, for however many breaths it takes for you to calm down.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this colorful peacock project, and can learn more about how to use colors, feathers, and deep breathing to help you find calm and regulate your emotions. I hope you can use the peacock as a reminder of your experiences with mindful breathing and can use it as a resource in the future for motivation!
~ Made By: Madeleine C.