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We read a lot of books about living mindfully in my family and I love hearing from others when they come across a book that they or their kids liked. We also use other media like movies, music, and spoken word to talk about and practice mindfulness. In this continuing series, I’ll be writing posts about the mindful media that my kids and I recommend. Feel free to share any you’ve come across in the comments and if it looks like it might be a nice complement to the one I’m reviewing, I’ll be happy to review it or add a link to it in my post.
by Paul Showers
Illustrated by Aliki
This book tells the story of what happens when you stop thinking and start listening as you walk. When I stumbled upon this gem of a book, I was thrilled to share what the mindfulness practices of moving meditation and listening are with my kids.
In the book, a girl, her father, and her slow-moving dog, Major, go for a walk together. It’s a walk where they don’t talk, instead they listen.
She says, “We go down the street and we do not talk. My father puts his hands in his pockets and thinks. Major walks ahead and sniffs. I keep still and listen.”
She hears many sounds on her walk. She notes the sounds things make like the twik, twik, twik of her dog’s toenails on the sidewalk.
The book is a relaxing read. Both the drawings and text move along at smooth, contemplative pace, like the girl in the book. It invites more active kids to talk about things they see in the book, to imitate the sounds or talk about sounds they hear. It invites those less inclined to talk while reading to observe the enjoyment one can get from being quiet-an important point for more introverted kids to feel validated without directly addressing temperament.
The pacing of the book can give all personality types an understanding of a vibrant inner life. It’s never too early to begin cultivating the idea of the benefits of creating space inside for quiet and stillness. For many kids and adults, the idea that meditating can be done while moving the body makes mindfulness more attainable.
You can still have the wiggles while creating inner space. You don’t need to carve out special time to be mindful. You generate mindfulness while in the flow of life. It takes practice and a willingness to listen to yourself and others without judgement.
One of the things I like about this book is toward the end, the girl says she can take a listening walk whenever she likes. She doesn’t even need to go on a walk to listen. She can be still and silent in her own space. She takes mindfulness with her wherever she goes.
True listening is not always easy. It is a skill we develop with practice. Often the best place to learn to do this is to let the mind rest as you hear your environment. It’s a great lesson for parents and kids to practice together with this book.
Activities to create with this book:
- StoryTRACK Book Activity for The Listening Walk (bestbeginnings)
- The Listening Walk at Teach Preschool includes a printable checklist and what happened when the kids went for a listening walk to check items off on a list. While this takes away the mindfulness aspect, it can be a good way for kids to get started.
- Go for a listening walk and give kids a blank paper notebook or clip board so they can draw or write down what they think makes the noises they hear or drawing what the sounds look like to them.
- After a listening walk, talk about what it feels like inside to listen. Did their minds go to interesting new places? Did they always name things or did they sometimes get lost in the many things around them? Were they surprised by how many noises they heard when they really listened?
- Do an online search for a local labyrinth walk. Many churches have them and they are often underutilized. Ask if there are certain times when children might be welcome to walk the labyrinth. If there isn’t a local labyrinth walk, create one at home. Even tracing a finger labyrinth can be a part of moving meditation. You can buy finger labyrinths or print out paper versions. They’re great for mindful coloring practice, too. Again, suggest that kids notice what they experienced during the “walk.”
- Do a listening walk at a time when you need to change the energy of what’s going on around you. It’s mindfulness in action-any action. So, if everyone is feeling out of control, listening for the sounds underneath the sounds we are actively making can turn a potential melt down into a playful curiosity about the differences between ambient and active noises.
Nature soundtracks can be a great aid for this.
- My favorite activity to do with my kids is inspired from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ ‘Ministry of Silly Walks.'” We do the silliest walks we can while one of us whispers words. We have to listen very carefully to hear the “freeze” word of the day or for a particular sound that someone identifies. This is a great rainy day game because it gets us moving and practicing listening to each other. Once we hear the word or the sound, we freeze in the silliest position of our silly walk. The game becomes progressively harder as the laughter becomes louder.
- For any of these activities, be available later for anything kids might like to share. Often, when kids have a meditative experience, they will feel inspired to share something that had been on their mind recently. Be an attentive, present listener if you’re trusted with their feelings. Listening takes practice, no matter what your age.
Related Posts You May Like:
- All Mindful Media Reviews on TouchstoneZ (touchstonez.com)
- Peaceful Piggies (touchstonez.com)
- Book Review: Mindful Movements (touchstonez.com)
- Let’s Do Nothing Children’s Book Review (touchstonez.com)
- Zen Ties Book Review (touchstonez.com)
- Mean Soup Book Review (touchstonez.com)
Have you read any good books lately? I’d love to hear from you.
Disclosure: If I did this right, there are affiliate links in this post. You can read my full disclosure policy here.