I added a new toy to my bag - The Hoberman Sphere! You may or may not be familiar with this toy. Many people know this Chuck Hoberman design from the infamous version at the Liberty Science Center. The one there hangs from the atrium ceiling, measures 700 pounds and expands to 18 feet! The one we used was of course nowhere nearly as big!
My friends at Yoga Calm gave me the idea to incorporate this toy into the classroom as an effective tool for teaching relaxed breathing and lung capacity. As children are often kinesthetic learners, they may at times need a physical activity to help them get in touch with the world around them. I allowed each of the kids to lead the class in this exercise taking the sphere with both hands and focusing on their breath. As they inhaled, they expanded the the sphere as if it was their lungs taking in as much air as they can. As they exhaled, the sphere contracted. This calming deep breathing centers and relaxes both children and adults - reducing stress, focusing energy. The Hoberman Sphere playfully encourages the use of this breathing...not to mention it's great to play catch with!