Teaching kids mindfulness: the 'sit spot'
Teaching kids mindfulness doesn't need to be a complicated meditation lesson. Instead, it can be as simple as sitting in nature and observing what's happening. The trick is going back to the same spot—over and over again—and noticing how it changes.
What is a sit spot?
It is said that the simple things in life are often the best, and the sit spot is a perfect example of that.
The core routine of a sit spot is to come back to the place, again and again, as a way to deepen and expand your connection to nature and to the cycles of your own life.
The premise of the sit spot is to quite simply find one place in a ‘wildish’ location. Then, you visit it regularly and sit and observe the flows and patterns of nature. The sit spot is like a living classroom of nature, the place where, over time, with acute observation and curiosity, you will turn the pages of the book of nature, learning the language of the birds and the creatures and the plants, even in an urban environment.
You get to know this place by day, by night, in the rain and the wind. You get to know the stars and where the four directions are. Know the birds that live there and the trees they live in. Know these things as if they are your relatives, which in time, they will become.
How does a sit spot teach kids mindfulness?
Sit spots are great for adults, but kids can also benefit too. It's about giving them a place that they choose, to sit for perhaps 10 minutes a day, with or without an adult.
Coupled with skilful questioning, field guide explorations, sketches and nature journalling, the sit spot will spark the path of the young naturalist. Whether young or old, a sit spot becomes an anchor in your life, a place to settle, to be mindful and still, and to observe the flow of reality occurring around you.
How to find a sit spot:
First, you should feel safe in this space. Second, there should be at least some components of nature present, a feeling of ‘Wildishness’ – Somewhere you feel good. Finally, the convenience of your spot is critical. The closer your sit spot is to your home, the more likely you’ll visit it regularly. It should be less than a 10 min walk from your front door.
First of all extend your senses and wild awareness in every direction, becoming a sponge to everything moving around you–and inside you.
See if you can pick out a few things that you have never noticed before–seek out a new plant, animal or fungi that you aren’t familiar with and use your senses to learn about it.
Ask questions. Curiosity is your best friend here. Come here daily if you can, for at least 10 minutes a day–or hopefully an hour if you can!
Afterwards, a few notes in a nature journal and some googling or field guide research will soon see you on an exponential nature connection journey.
How well do you know your local home environment?
Take this 15 question Tourist Test at the beginning of your sit spot journey and then see how much you learn over the next few months.
Illustration by Sakuya Higuchi.