You will need
- Objects that are textured or scented (or both)
Before you begin
- This activity works well at the start or end of a session – or maybe both, if it goes well!
- Think about the quietest, calmest space you can use. It doesn’t matter whether it’s inside or outside (unless the weather’s miserable).
- Before the session, ask everyone to bring along an object that has a (nice) fragrance or an interesting texture – or both. It should be something they’re happy for other people to touch, feel, and smell. Some good examples include bars of soap, scented candles, aromatherapy oils, and fruits such as oranges or kiwis. Make sure you have some spares in case anyone misses the message or forgets their object.
Give mindfulness a go
- Everyone should sit in a circle with the object they brought with them.
- Everyone should close their eyes and think quietly for 60 seconds. They should use this time try to put aside anything that happened during the day (for example, any conflicts at school) and focus on the fact that they’ve come to a meeting in their meeting place. No one should need to talk or make noise to do this.
- Everyone should keep their eyes closed and feel and smell their object. They should try and focus on noticing as much as they can on their senses. Everyone do this for about 60 seconds – again, they shouldn’t need to make any noise.
- Everyone should quietly open their eyes and, without talking, pass their object to the person on their left.
- Once everyone has a new object, they should repeat step three.
- Everyone should repeat steps three to five until they’ve tried focusing on a few different objects.
- Everyone should open their eyes and calmly pass the objects back to their owners.
This activity helps contribute towards some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the SDGs, and how Scouts across the world are getting involved, here.
This activity was a chance for everyone to boost their wellbeing. In this activity, mindfulness was about using an object to help people pay attention to the moment without judging. Mindfulness stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system – a bundle of nerves that calms down the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. Did anyone find that mindfulness helped them feel connected to their bodies? Sometimes it can help people notice things, for example the pain of a bruised knee or a lingering feeling of anger from an argument. Can people compare how they felt before and after the activity? Hopefully people felt calmer and maybe more content too.
This activity also needed everyone to care. It can be tricky to stay quiet for a whole minute. What would’ve happened if someone had ignored the instruction on purpose and not tried their best to be quiet? Their noise would’ve impacted everyone trying to take part (but remember that as long as someone tried their best, it’s OK – this shouldn’t be about being cross with or blaming other people). How did it feel for people to share the object they’d brought with them? How can people help others to be calm?