Noticing Walk and Reflection

Lesson Introduction & Overview

Young people take a walk and then reflect on what they saw, heard, thought about and felt during the walk. Three year olds are going to have a very different experience of this activity than eight year olds, so adjust your instructions and expectations accordingly.


  1. Prepare young people for the walk with the following explanation:
    1. Today we are going to go on a Noticing Walk. What do you think I might mean when I say, “Noticing Walk?” Let young people respond with what they saw, heard, thought about and felt during the walk.
    2. Describe the area in which you will walk. Ask them what they think they might notice in that place or space.
    3. Encourage young people to pay attention to (notice) their experiences, including what they see, hear, think about and feel during the walk. It’s okay for them to talk to each other about their experiences when walking, but they might be able to notice better if they are mostly quiet.
    4. Tell them that at the halfway point, you are going to ask for one minute of silence. During this time, you’ll keep walking but no one should be talking.
  2. Go on a short walk (ranging from 10-20 minutes), preferably outside, but inside is okay too.
  3. Every so often, remind them that the point of the walk is to be paying attention to sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings.
  4. Return to your classroom or home base and handout blank sheets of paper and crayons or markers. Ask young people to draw or write about something they noticed on the walk.
  5. After young people are done with coloring, ask them to share what they drew or wrote with the rest of the group.


A nice practice in mindfulness is gratitude. At the end of your activity, thank young people for participating and express your appreciation for some aspect of what happened.

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in EnglishSpanish, Somali and Hmong so that families can go on a noticing walk at home.

Learning Mindfulness through Movement

Lesson Introduction & Overview

Young people begin to learn about mindfulness practice by learning and then moving through a series of yoga poses.


  1. Prepare young people for their yoga practice with the follow discussion questions and topics:
    1. Do you know what yoga is? Have you done it before? Wait for answers, allow youth to demonstrate poses if they know any, and then explain that yoga is a way to exercise your body, your breath and your mind all at the same time. There are many different types of yoga and ways to do yoga.
    2. Have you ever heard anyone talk about something called mindfulness? Do you know why mindfulness can be a good thing? Wait for answers and then explain that mindfulness means paying attention to and noticing what’s happening—such as things you’re seeing, hearing and feeling—without deciding if they are good or bad. Mindfulness can help you be happier and healthier. If you are being mindful, you are less likely to get really upset or sad and more likely to be calm and happy. It’s not something that’s always easy, but anyone can learn to do it.
  2. Explain that an important part of yoga is paying attention to your breath. Ask young people to lie down on the floor and then give the following instructions for noticing their breathing: Place your hands on your belly. Breathe in deeply through your nose and feel your belly rise. Hold for just a second while your belly is filled with air, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Do this five more times. Invite young people to try to continue this same breathing pattern throughout their yoga practice.
  3. Teach young people each of the eight yoga poses they will be doing in their practice. Do this part fairly quickly so you can get to the actual sequenced practice. It’s okay if young people don’t catch on right away and need more instruction during the sequence. Yoga is an ongoing practice and there is no exact right way to do a pose. Unless a young person is at risk of hurting themselves, if they are pretty close to the pose let them be.

Sun Breath

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Sit up tall and keep your back straight.
  2. Put the palms of your hands together at the center of your chest.
  3. Close your eyes and take three big sun breaths. Here’s how:
    • When you breathe in deeply, raise your arms above your head in the shape of a big round sun.
    • Then breathe out and bring your arms back down so that your palms are together at the center of your chest.
  4. The sun breath allows you to become centered and focused on your breath.

Space Float

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Take hold of your outside ankle. If you are sitting on a chair, hold onto the edges of the chair by the outside of your legs, above the knees.
  3. Breathe in deeply as you stretch your body forward, chest and stomach out.
  4. Breathe out as you slump back; spine is curved, chest is caved in.
  5. Space float gives you a flexible spine. It keeps your back muscles relaxed and strong. It also helps you digest your food.

Shooting Star

  1. Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you and your hands behind you on the floor.
  2. Breathe in and push your body up (like a backwards push-up).
  3. Make yourself into a perfectly straight line, like a shooting star, by pushing your stomach up and point your toes away from you.
  4. Try to hold this pose for a count of 10. (You can hold this pose longer during the sequenced practice).
  5. Shooting star makes your arms, legs and stomach muscles strong.
  6. You can also do this pose while sitting in a chair. Hold the edges of the chair and push up like the description above.

Moon Walk

  1. Sit in your chair or lie down on the floor on your back.
  2. Begin to walk in the air. Keep your right leg straight and lift it up as you lift your left arm. Breathe in as you lift your leg and arm.
  3. Breathe out as your arm and leg go down.
  4. Then breathe in again as you lift your left leg and right arm together.
  5. Breathe out as your arm and leg go down.
  6. Switch sides and keep going. Lift your leg and stretch your arm straight up toward the sky.
  7. Moon walk balances the two sides of your brain and helps you think better.


  1. Lie on your stomach on the floor. If you are sitting in a chair, sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Put your hands on the floor under your shoulders. If you are sitting in a chair, put your hands on your knees or a desk.
  3. Stretch your upper body up high, with your arms straight and your stomach resting on the ground. If you are sitting, lean forward slightly, push your hands against your knees or desk and push your shoulders back to look up slightly. Keep your neck straight and in line with your spine.
  4. Stretch your head as far up as you can and HISS! Feel the stretch in your spine.
  5. You are a very fierce cobra snake!
  6. Keep stretching and breathing in and out. Make a hissing sound when you breathe out. Continue this breathing and hissing for a minute.
  7. If you are on the floor, breathe in and lift your “tail” (feet) up by bending your knees. Try to bring your head and “tail” (feet) close together. Can they touch each other?


  1. Stand up.
  2. Bend forward with your arms hanging down.
  3. Clasp your hands together, with fingers interlocked.
  4. Walk around the room, bent over, and swing your trunk.
  5. After a minute, stretch your trunk high up into the air. Lean back and let out a big elephant sound like a horn!

Relaxed Monkey Pose

  1. Kneel on the floor on your knees and sit back on your heels. If you are sitting in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lean forward and stretch your arms forward to the ground. Continue stretching as far as you can. Can you touch your forehead to the floor? If you are sitting on a chair, just reach down to the floor as far as you can.
  3. Stretch your arms out as far as they will go; allow your body to relax.
  4. Take in big monkey breaths. Feel your chest rise with each breath in and your chest relax toward the floor with each breath out. Breathe in and out at your own pace. Relax for one minute.

Sea Turtle Deep Relaxation

  1. Lie on the floor on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides. Or sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on your desk or lap.
  2. The palms of your hands are facing up and resting on the floor, desk or lap.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe gently.
  4. Focus on your breath. If you have any thoughts or distractions, try to let them go and go back to focusing on your breath.
  5. You might need a word to focus on or a favorite place to imagine like lying or sitting on a beach. Imagine the warm sand, the hot sun and the cool breeze off the water. Your breath sounds like the waves! As you breathe in, listen! It sounds like the waves coming up to the shore. As you breathe out, imagine the waves going back out to sea. Keep breathing with the waves for another minute or two.

Move through the eight poses in a guided sequence.

At the end of Sea Turtle, give young people time to slowly sit back up. Ask each person to share with the group one thing they noticed during their yoga practice. Thank everyone for participating.


A nice practice in mindfulness is gratitude. At the end of your activity, thank young people for participating and express your appreciation for some aspect of what happened.

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in EnglishSpanish, Somali and Hmong so that families can practice mindfulness through movement at home.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Research suggests that practicing gratitude can help promote mental wellness, school success, generosity and physical health. Although approaching life with an attitude of gratitude is not something we are born with, it is a simple practice to incorporate into daily life.

Consider talking to kids about the importance of gratitude and lead a sharing circle where they can share things they are grateful for and things they are grumbling about. To learn more, check out the full activity here!

Looking for more on youth health? Check out our board on Pinterest!

Concussions and Fall Sports

What is a concussion? A concussion is a form of brain injury which occurs from a hard blow to the head, causing the brain to get knocked against the skull. Young people who play sports or are active in other ways are at risk for concussions. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can occur right away, hours or even days after the injury occurs, and can include headache, memory problems, upset stomach, dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, and confusion.

While seeking medical attention and following a doctor’s instructions are important, preventing concussions in the first place is the best thing to do. Here are a few tips for prevention:

  • Always wear a helmet that is fitted and maintained properly when playing certain sports, riding a bike/horse or skiing/snowboarding
  • Use the correct protective equipment during athletic games and practices

Be informed and take action to keep youth safe this sports season by sharing the Concussion Conundrum Lesson and activities!


Looking for more on youth health? Check out our board on Pinterest!

Gratefuls and Grumbles: Helping Kids Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Lesson Introduction & Overview

Emerging research shows many powerful benefits of approaching life with an attitude of gratitude. The benefits of being grateful can include mental wellness, school success, generosity, and even physical health. An attitude of gratitude isn’t something that people are born with or not; very young children can begin to learn skills and practices that will help them move through life with an appreciative mindset, even when dealing with challenges. This lesson focuses on teaching young children about the concept of gratitude and some ways they can start to incorporate gratitude practices into their lives.


Gratefuls and Grumbles Circle

Gather young people in circle. Explain that you are going to spend a little time thinking about gratitude. Ask if any of them know that word and what it means. If they don’t, tell them that being grateful or feeling gratitude means being thankful. Ask what they think of when they hear the word thankful or thanks. Give them a few minutes to talk about what it means.

Share with the young people that every day you personally have things in your life that make you feel gratitude, or thankful. Give an example from today.

Then explain that every day you also have things that happen that feel hard, that make you grumble. Ask if they know the word grumble. Talk for a few minutes about some examples of grumbles, ranging from small irritations to bigger worries or troubles. Give a few examples.

Then explain the activity: Each person in the circle is going to have a chance to share with the group one GRATEFUL and one GRUMBLE. You can say something like, “When it’s your turn, say your name. Then say, ‘One thing I am grateful for today is _________, and one thing that makes me grumble today is, ___________.” Give your own example using your name and a grateful and a grumble you shared earlier.

Begin the activity. Younger children may have a hard time with this. Be patient and coach them through it. Remember that you are teaching them a process. It’s okay if they stumble.

At the end, thank everyone for participating. Explain that even when we can’t make the grumbles go away, thinking about things we’re grateful for can help us feel better.

Gratitude Breathing: 

Once everyone has shared, transition into a breathing exercise that focuses on gratitude. You can explain it like this:

Choose a way to sit that’s comfortable for you. You can be on chair, cross-legged, or on your heels. Place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in for four counts. Then breathe out through your nose for four counts. Keep your lips closed and just let the air move through your nose. Feel the rise and fall of your chest and belly.”

You can use a Hoberman sphere to demonstrate to the young people what their chests and bellies will be doing when they breathe in and out.

Once they have the idea of how to do the breathing, ask them to think of some of the things they said they are grateful for during each inhale and exhale. They may even get a few more ideas as they go through the process.

Continue this deep belly gratitude breathing for a few minutes. Let them know it’s okay to close their eyes if they want to.

Pay It Forward: 

Draw young people’s attention back to you. Ask if anyone thought during their breathing of a person for whom they are grateful.  Explain that it’s important to let other people know when we’re grateful for them or for things they do. It makes them feel good, it makes us feel good, and it makes the world a better place when people show appreciation for one another. Pick one person in your school, organization or community who you want to show gratitude for as a group. You can pre-select this person, or use a group process. On the flip chart or butcher paper, write, “Thank you, _______________, for ___________________.  We are grateful for you! Or choose a message of your own. Then invite each young person to use the paints to leave a handprint on the paper. Once the paint is dry you can deliver the “Gratitude card” to the recipient.



Like physical fitness, gratitude is something that has to be built and maintained. Fortunately, also like fitness, it’s something everyone can work on, no matter where they are starting. Different practices work more or less for different people. The activities in this lesson are just a few examples. The parent newsletter has additional ideas. Consider making gratitude practice a regular part of your classroom or group and see what happens!

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English and Spanish so that families can practice an attitude of gratitude at home.

Related Health Powered Kids Blog

An Attitude of Gratitude

Additional Instructor Resources

Drive Your Bike! Keys to Safe and Healthy Cycling

Lesson Introduction & Overview

Riding a bike is a great way to stay fit, get around your neighborhood or town, have fun with family and friends, and enjoy the great outdoors. While bike riding can be so good for our health, there is also a risk of crashing or falling. Many times we are sharing trails with other bikers or walkers, sharing roads with cars, or riding on rough terrain. It’s important when we’re riding to do everything we can to stay safe. This lesson focuses on four ways to do that.

Activity: Four Keys to Staying Safe on Your Bike

Introduce the idea that your bike is a vehicle. There are basic things that anyone has to learn before driving a vehicle. While we don’t need a license to ride a bike, there are still things we need to do to stay safe.

  • Know the Rules of the Road
    • Distribute the “Know the Rules of the Road” matching activity handout to each child. (Instructor Answer Key)
    • Signal your turns (we’ll practice in a minute!)
    • Be predictable! Two ways you can be predictable are by always riding on the rights side of the bike path or road and in a straight line.
    • Use signals to alert cars, other cyclists and walkers of what you are about to do. Explain to youth that you are going to play a game of ‘Simon Says’ using the hand signals that cyclists use. Teach them the signals first and then play the game. (Since they will be moving side-to-side as well as forward and back, it’s important to make sure you have a big enough space for this activity.) Here are the signals.
  • Be Aware: Being aware means paying attention to your surroundings as well as yourself and your equipment.
    • To stay aware of your surroundings, make sure you can see and hear well – no headphones! Every time you get to an intersection, stop and search. This means looking left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
    • It’s also important to be aware of the ‘ABCs’ of taking care of your bike. You’ll see a little bit more later in a video about how to check your bike, but you can remember that A means making sure there is enough air in the tires, B means having breaks that you know work, and C means that your chain is in good working condition and in the right place.
  • Be Visible: Just because you can see a vehicle doesn’t mean they can see you. When cycling wear bright clothing, have reflectors on your bike and ride during day light.
    • Distribute the “Be Visible” coloring activity sheet to each child. Directions: Color the cyclist on this coloring sheet as brightly as you can.
  • Save your Brain
      • Tell young people that protecting their brains is one of the most important parts of cycling/bike safety. Let them know that this video (4 minutes) will explain why it’s important and ways they can do it. Always Wear Your Helmet:

  • Reflection: Ask each young person to say one thing they learned about bike safety today.

Credit: BikeMN (


Cycling has lots of great benefits and is fun! By taking these simple but very important steps you can ensure that you “Drive Your Bike” in the safest way possible.

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish so that families can continue to discuss and practice cycling/bike safety at home.

Related Health Powered Kids Blog

Bike safety: Understanding the rules of the road

Additional Instructor Resources

Picky Eating

Lesson Overview

Picky eating often occurs at ages 3 to 5. At this age, children like to explore food rather than eat to it. Usually it is a phase that children go through and then grow out of over time. Children often refuse foods because of color or texture. Teaching them to explore foods and describe the flavors, smells and textures instead of just using words like; “like or dislike” can help improve their willingness to try new things over time.


Children don’t always take to new foods easily or right away. Here are some tips that can help a child learn to like new foods. 

  • Offer new foods many times displayed or prepared differently. It may take up to a dozen tries for a child to accept a new food.
  • Small portions = big benefits. Let children try small portions of new foods that you enjoy. Give them a small taste at first and be patient.
  • Be a good role model by trying new foods yourself. Describe tastes, textures and smells.
  • Offer only one new food at a time. Serve something that you know the child likes along with the new food. Offering too many new foods all at once can be overwhelming.
  • Offer new foods first, at the beginning of a meal, when everyone is the hungriest.
  • Serve food plain if that is important to the child. For example, instead of a macaroni casserole, try meatballs, pasta and a vegetable. Also, to keep different foods separated, try plates with sections. For some children the opposite works and serving a new food mixed in with a familiar item is helpful. Get to know the child’s preferences.



  1. Before this session, buy a variety of fruits and vegetables, including some you think young people may have never tried before. Clean and prepare them and bring them with you to the session. Have enough so that each young person can try at least two things.
  2. Before bringing out the food ask young people to tell you their favorite foods.
  3. On a white board or flip chart make a list that includes at least one thing that everyone says they like, leaving space under each one for an additional list of words
  4. Then, one item at a time, ask young people to describe those foods. Encourage them to use words that describe flavor (sweet, spicy, bitter, salty, sour, tangy) and feel or texture (soft, hard, chewy, watery, dry). Write down what they say under each food item.
  5. Bring out the fruits and vegetables you’ve prepared. Encourage each young person to choose two items they’ve never had before (more if you have enough). Ask them to wait before tasting until everyone has theirs.
  6. Encourage youth to try one of their foods. After a few minutes, invite them to describe to you and to the rest of the group the flavor and the texture instead of if they liked it or not.
  7. Make a new list of words or add to your first list. It doesn’t matter if they describe different foods at different times. The idea isn’t to develop one list to describe each food. It is to help youth think of and learn many different ways to describe foods other than just whether they like something or not. This may help them learn to appreciate and even enjoy a variety of flavors and textures.


Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish and encourage young people to surprise their families at the next meal they share by using one or more of the words you talked about and learned today to describe taste, texture or smell.

Additional Instructor Resources

Phrases that HELP and HINDER

Related Health Powered Kids Blog

Six tips to help picky eaters learn to like new foods