I peeled back the bark on the dead, fallen tree as 8 sets of toddler eyes watched. I explained how we never hurt a tree by pulling its bark when it is alive, but this tree had been struck by lightning and was across our path. It was safe to explore the hidden treasures on the tree.
Everyone lit up when we found 5 roly poly’s under the bark. I gently held them in my hands as they immediately rolled into little balls that looked like small berries. We found a dry spot on our path and made a circle around the small, little balls. We waited and watched and waited and watched. Each toddler and preschooler patiently waiting. Seemingly understanding something magical was going to occur.
After several minutes, we saw lots of little legs wiggling. We screeched in excitement as the 5mm bug showed us all his legs and flipped over to walk away.
A little hand reached out to touch the bug, and kazam the bug was a little berry again. The small children learned what happened when that bug was protecting itself. We watched a bit longer as another one opened up. There was complete silence, except the birds chirping in the distance.
We left them alone near the trail understanding when they were not touched they would uncurl and walk away.
Remember, the little things are the most magical. We need to consciously take the time to simply watch. To simply sit and observe. To learn how to be still and silent. This is the way to teach Mindfulness to children. The times when we are present, in the moment and we are fully there with our child.