January 2021: Imagination

January 3: Limitless Imagination and Identity

Story of the Week: Press Here by Herve Tullet

Click here to watch the story: Press Here

Family Meditation: Mindful Moments with Lea IMAGINATION

  • Remind the children about the importance of calming ourselves so we can better focus on each other and our time together.
  • Tell them that a special friend named Lea has written a song for us to learn and it is a song that teaches us about the importance of this month’s theme: Stillness.
  • Since you are using the 4 minute (longer version) video, tell the kids that we are going to sing along with Lea and her children and then listen to their conversation. Tell them that afterwards you will have your own conversation.
  • Center the children before playing the video.
    • Sit comfortably in your chair or on the floor.
    • Put your hands on your lap or on your knees.
    • Sit up nice and tall.
    • Focus your eyes in front of you.
    • Find your breath moving in your body by taking in one breath through your nose and then slowly breathing it out through your mouth.
  • After the video talk and listen with your child to discover how to be still.

Weekly Activities: 

A Treasure Hunt for Imagination

These searchables are based on idioms of improbability derived from many languages. They are all expressions that indicate something will never happen, or is hard to imagine, even impossible! (When will people stop chit-chatting about the weather? When pigs fly!)

Where will you find these improbable things? Who knows!  That’s the fun of giving yourself grace, using some imagination, and creatively interpreting your everyday reality.  You might have some pretty interesting encounters this month in your neighborhood with…

  • A flying pig (Latin)
  • Glowing salt (Arabic)
  • A crow flying upside down (Malayalam)
  • A snowflake in fire (English)
  • A horse with horns (Afrikaans)
  • A chicken with teeth (French)
  • Wind in a net (Japanese)
  • A blue moon (English)
  • A singing fish (Ukrainian)

Note: Although the expressions above are labeled as coming from different languages, in fact the same idiom might exist in multiple languages, with their origins being unclear. If the idea of language evolution is intriguing to you, watch this TED-Ed video on the origins of English! Sometimes, ideas we imagine to be completely different may actually be close cousins.

Coloring

Maybe draw your own imaginative character and color that as well!  You could have other family members draw characters from their imaginations and color each other’s creations.

January 10: Think Outside the Box (Being Brave: creating/using our voices for change)

Story of the Week: 

I Am Human by Susan Verde

Click here to watch the story: I Am Human

Mindful Moments with Lea IMAGINATION

Family Meditation: Structured Daydreaming

  • To think outside the box, create your own daydream. Imagine the goal of being brave and using our voices for change.
  • Close your eyes and take three deep breaths; slow your breathing.  Place the palms of your hands on your legs, knees, or the floor to ground yourself.
  • Who or what needs your help and your voice? (Endangered animals, the climate, kids at school, people struggling during the pandemic, etc.)
  • What will you do? How can you help?  Cook meals, read books, draw pictures, watch and/or make videos, sing songs, learn and ask questions, talk to people, think positively?
  • Imagine the little things you can do that make a difference.  Even your awareness makes a difference.  Thinking positive thoughts makes a difference.  Imagine using your voice for change you want to see happen.
  • Take a deep breath and return to reality. Our imaginations will help us find the patience and the grit to make it through challenging times like these have been. We can imagine a better time. Maybe not exactly as it used to be, but change will come, and we can help. 

Weekly Activities: 

Thinking Outside the Box

Materials needed: a box   🙂

Here’s a box. Have you heard the expression “Thinking outside the box?” What does it mean? Do we imagine our brain in a box and then outside one?

It means thinking in a different, more imaginative way. To think outside the box is to look further and to try not thinking of the obvious things. That takes imagination, which is our theme this month.

Our faith asks us to be questioning and imaginative. Scientists and inventors need to question and use their imagination.  Sometimes people think of science and imagination as opposites, but every good scientist will tell you that you need imagination and reason to understand the world and to invent new things.

So, let’s take this box. Let’s think outside the box and use our imaginations. What could this box be? A box for a mug? A house for a gerbil? The controls of a robot? How crazy can we get? How far can we think outside the box? A galaxy within ours? God? [Encourage wacky and crazy ideas.]

Here are some other common things that we could use for some creative brainstorming fun. What could these be? [Find a few in your house that you could show]

  • Pool noodle
  • Headscarf
  • Wooden spoon
  • Skipping rope
  • Saucepan
  • Saucepan lid
  • Bath towel
  • Ruler
  • Leaf
  • Whisk
  • Elastic band
  • A forked stick
  • Hula hoop

Coloring

What might you draw outside the boxes?  What do the boxes look like when you put them all together?  

Who do you know who has a unique perspective?  Who sees life in a way you appreciate?  Maybe you and your family can call, Facetime, or Zoom that person and draw, color, and talk together.

January 17: Imagine a Just World: Anti-Racism (8th principle)

Story of the week:  

Hands Up by Breanna J. McDaniel

Click here to watch the story: Hands Up

Mindful Moments with Lea IMAGINATION

Family Meditation: Body Prayer

Demonstrate the prayer-

then invite the child(ren) to move through it with you once,

then all pray with your bodies in silence three times.

We begin with our hands in front of us

to find our inner quiet

We raise our arms up high

to open ourselves to our highest dreams

We bring our hands to our hearts

to affirm the strength of our inner voice

We extend our hands out in front of us

to offer ourselves in service to others. 

Repeat three times. 

Weekly Activities: 

What’s Inside?

For this activity, you will need two raw eggs: one white and one brown. 

First, invite the child(ren) to examine the eggs. Have them describe what they notice about the eggs. Next, ask them if they think the eggs are the same or different inside. Ask them why they answered the way they did, for example “Why do you think the brown egg has brown ‘stuff’ inside?” or “How do you know they’re the same inside?” Next, crack the eggs into the bowl. Show the bowl so the children can see the yolks are the same. Ask the child(ren) if they still believe the brown egg is different inside. Our insides are just like the eggs – we are the same on the inside no matter what color we are on the outside.  This activity may open a discussion about why people do have different skin colors, different appearances, and different cultures.

Coloring

January 24: Nurture Your Imagination with Nature (a beautiful world: 7th principle)

Story of the Week: 

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Click here to watch the story: Kitten’s First Full Moon

Mindful Moments with Lea IMAGINATION

Family Meditation: Butterfly Breathing

  1. Inhale and exhale slowly three times to center yourself
  2. Now, as you inhale, slowly raise your arms to a count of three (opening your butterfly wings).  Pay attention to your belly and lungs filling and your heart opening.
  3. Then, as you exhale, slowly bring your arms back towards you body to a count of three, ending in a hug (closing your butterfly wings).
  4. Feel heavy and calm; maybe close your eyes if you want.  Allow your worries and thoughts to drift away
  5. Repeat at least eight times.
  6. Then take three regular breaths to bring yourself back to normal.

Weekly Activities: 

Nurturing Nature

Talk with your child(ren): What is nature?  What does it mean to nurture?  What would you like to grow? Plant different types of seeds in tiny pots. Talk together as you care for your plant(s) and they grow: what does each of us need to feel nurtured so that we can grow into our possibilities?  How are we keeping our plant(s) alive and healthy?

Coloring

January 31: Visit Other Worlds: Imagine Our Interconnectedness (multi-cultural ideas)

Story of the Week: 

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Click here to watch the story: Flotsam

Mindful Moments with Lea IMAGINATION

Family Meditation: Mantra Meditation

Mantra chanting is a form of meditation that is great for people who love to sing, hum, whistle, drum, and make sounds.  Mantras are words or sounds that are repeated again and again.  Mantras are often in traditional languages, but some are in English.  

  1. Begin by closing your eyes and placing your hands on your heart.  
  2. If your child(ren) already know or have a mantra, or they’re feeling wiggly and antsy, feel free to skip to step 7 of these directions.
  3. How do you feel right now?  Do  you notice anything in your body? What is your mind thinking about?  Are any emotions coming to visit?  What are they?
  4. Choose one thing that you notice: something about your body, thoughts, or emotions.  Try describing it out loud to yourself.  You can draw it if you want to.  
  5. Now try to name that thing. The name you come up with will be part of your mantra.
  6. How might you make peace with this thing you’ve named?
    1. For example, if I’m feeling sad, and I draw a big blue tear, then I might make peace with my sadness by letting myself have a good cry. Or just by accepting that sometimes I feel sad. 
    2. This is the second part of my mantra, which might be: “It’s okay to cry when I feel sad.” or just “Accept.”
  7. Once you’ve selected your word, phrase, or sound, you have made your very own mantra.  “OM” is always a good mantra to use if you don’t have your own personal mantra.  
  8. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take three cleansing breaths.  Maybe enjoy some giggles.
  9. Take a big inhale. On your next exhale, use your mantra: make your sound or say your word or phrase.
  10. Repeat chanting your mantra at least five times.
  11. You can chant your mantra as many times a day as you want or need; anytime you’re feeling confused, overwhelmed, rushed, frustrated, or just need a pause!

Weekly Activities: 

Be an Inventor!

Using whatever craft supply is available, the child(ren) will invent something through creative play. Invite the children to play with the materials and use their imagination to be an inventor! Have the child(ren) name their creations.

Material recommendations:

  • Popsicle sticks and Styrofoam cups
  • Paper towel tubes and tape
  • Pipe cleaners and playdough 
  • Variety of recycled egg cartons, tubes, cereal boxes
  • Toothpicks and marshmallows or peas to stick ends together  

Chat about It Prompts/Questions

  1. What did you invent?  What could it be used for?
  2. Can you think of other things your invention might be named, just for fun?

Coloring

What if you had a family member help you tell (or even write down) a story you make up about the dragon, the raven, and the castle?  Or you could make up your own story about whatever characters you imagine.

What if you folded your coloring page into a paper airplane when you’re done?  How far can you make it fly?  Maybe your family has a contest.