An craft activity for mindful families and classrooms.

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One reoccurring theme in mindfulness is that we can’t pour from an empty cup. This means that if we don’t care for ourselves and build up our emotional reserves, we won’t have any emotional energy left for others. Conversely, if we spend time filling our minds and bodies with things that make us feel emotionally full, our cup naturally begins to overflow with emotional support for those around us. Filling our cups is different for each person; but the most basic place to start is with healthy food, steady movement, fulfilling daily activities and time to recharge. When these things aren’t in balance, we might notice our emotions going to the extremes.

For this activity, we will explore mindful emotions, and how they each color plays a role in filling or emptying our personal cup.

Materials Needed:

  1. Paper Cups

  2. Black Marker

  3. Markers, crayons or colored pencils

*Please note, it’s suggested that parents/teachers make their own cup, too!

  1. Prep the paper cup by drawing black squiggly lines all around it. (You can mention the metaphor for the road of life, which takes lots of unexpected twists and turns or even a circular pattern as it weaves around.)

  2. Set the stage for discussing mindful emotions by asking your child what activities fill their cup. E.g. taking a walk outside, time with family, playing with friends, sleep

  3. Ask them to name the feeling or emotion associated with each activity, and which color reminds them of that emotion.

  4. Next, ask which activities empty their cup. E.g. homework, fights, being over-tired

  5. Ask them to name the feeling or emotion associated with each activity, and which color reminds them of that emotion. (Explain that a range of emotions fills our lives, so we don’t want to leave any out, they are all important to notice and experience. We don’t have to be scared of any emotions, or seek them out, they each tell us unique things about how we react to different experiences.)

  6. Reflect on the variety of colors and unique combination of activities and colors on each person’s cup. You can also ask how each member of the family can support each other filling their cup, and acknowledge what empties our personal cups, and also that it can change throughout our lives.

  7. What we will add to the actual cup in the future? Will it be hot or cold? Hopefully something that fills our emotional cup!

Activity Round-Up:

BMI Focus: Intention
Targeted Outcomes: Emotional Awareness + Enhanced Resilience
Energy  Level: 2/5

About the author:
Erin Lee Henshaw is the Co-Founder and Mindful Facilitator of The Mind Body Project, mindfulness for institutions. Erin specializes in teaching trauma-informed Hatha yoga, elementary mindfulness and breath work and is developing curriculum for Teacher Self-Care and Mindful Parenting. She is a tea and bike lover, entrepreneur and avid believer in experiential education.