“See this snow globe filled with sand and water?” says our lead facilitator Mayme Donsker as she introduces her class to some of the basic principles of mindfulness practice. “When you shake the globe, the sand and water get stirred up, making the water cloudy. When the globe is left undisturbed, the sand settles and the water becomes clear again. If you think about it, our mind is like the sand and water; when we get caught up in our thoughts and emotions, it can be difficult to see clearly, which impacts our perceptions and decision making. Practicing mindfulness can help us to become aware of this process, create some space between our thoughts, emotions, and reactions, and allow ourselves the opportunity to settle.”
It has been over a decade since we first introduced the snow globe to the SB&T curriculum. When we brought a single snow globe into the classroom, there was always a line of students after class who wanted to hold it, shake it, and watch the water slowly become clear again. So we decided to create a way for each student to make their own unique snow globe to take home to support their mindfulness practice.
In this fun DIY project students begin by drawing themselves sitting and meditating. The self portrait is then laminated and affixed to the lid of a mason jar, which can be filled with water and brightly colored sand. The jar is then placed upside down using the lid as the base so students can see the image of themselves sitting upright inside. Shaking the jar turns the water opaque, a metaphor for a stirred up mind. When set down, the water slowly clears as the colored sand settles to the bottom.
Students can see themselves as the meditator in the jar, capable of allowing their mind to settle as the water becomes crystal clear.
The kids we work with absolutely love the project; it’s a hit in the classroom. In class, students use the snowglobe as a reminder of how and when to practice mindfulness. When they’re doing the project in a school day, we break it down into steps and span it out over the course of a few classes. They can’t wait to see the finished product and take it home to share with their parents, siblings, and friends, where they get to put the concept of mindfulness into their own words.
For step-by-step instructions including photos and templates for the Meditating Snow Globe activity, download the free “Stop, Breathe & Think: Mindfulness Activities for the Classroom” PDF HERE.