Tag Archives: essential oils

Essential Oil PlayDough

Making Essential Oil Infused PlayDough

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups organic flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Organic food coloring
  • Chunky glitter
  • 4-5 drops Young Living essential oils (Peppermint, Grapefruit)
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
Essential Oil PlayDough at Mindful Child

Squishing, rolling, pulling, creating… children of all ages enjoy playing with playDough. In addition to being fun, PlayDough has multiple developmental benefits. Our homemade dough feels and smells amazing – making it a simple and natural stress relieving mindfulness tool.

What are the benefits?

Proprioceptive Input

Squishing and pulling PlayDough can increase fine motor skills. It strengthens the muscles in the fingers that are needed to climb an aerial hammock or hold a pencil at school. Manipulating PlayDough helps children develop hand-eye coordination. Rolling and pressing PlayDough into cookie cutters provides deep pressure to the joints, which enhances one of our hidden senses called proprioception.

How to Make Amazing Dough.

  • To start, add the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir with an electric mixer.
  • Combine the essential oil of choice with the vegetable oil and mix into the dry ingredients.
  • Bring your water to a boil.  Add any food coloring to the boiling water.
  • While stirring with an electric mixer, slowly add the water to the dry ingredients.
  • Continue to mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Next, shake in a little glitter, but not too much or it won’t stick together.
  • Knead the dough until smooth.  
  • Store your dough in an air-tight container.
PlayDough Hearts at Mindful Child

At Mindful Child, we make mindfulness and social emotional learning fun. We’d love to have your child hang out with us in a camp or class

Create a Chill-ax Space at Home

Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, but creating a mindful “chill-ax” space at home may increase the benefits.

Mindfulness at Mindful Child

Even though mindfulness is easily practiced anywhere and at anytime, the benefits may be enhanced by designating a place where your child can “chill-ax” or take a brain break. The space doesn’t need to be large – just offer enough room for your child to be able to sit or lie down.

Here are few helpful tips when setting up your child’s chill-ax space:

  • Lighting. Light is important to learning and behavior. It helps regulate mood and affects cognitive performance. Indirect sunlight is best for learning and relaxing; open the blinds and let the light shine in. But not too much, dimly lit areas are best for chill-axing. If you don’t have a room with natural light, try using a fiber optic lamp. At Mindful Child, we love our LIFX smart bulbs in our overhead lights. We can easily dim them or change colors creating a relaxing vibe. 
  • Essential Oils. Unpleasant odors make it difficult to relax.  Essential oils can boost your child’s mood and create a relaxing spa-like atmosphere.  An easy way to use oils in is by using an essential oil diffuser which will disperse oils throughout the room.  You can also buy inhaler sticks and place them on a shelf with your child’s favorite calming scents.  At Mindful Child, we only use therapeutic grade Young Living essential oils.  Our favorites are Peace and Calming, Stress Away, and Lavender.
  • Cleanliness.  Reduce clutter and keep the space organized.  Too many choices tends to  overwhelm and distract children.  Having a limited choice of organized mindfulness tools will promote relaxation. 
  • Comfort.  Being comfortable is an important component of relaxation.  Bean bags such as Targets sensory friendly Cocoon Seat are perfect for breathing and practicing mindfulness. 
  • Small Space. Children enjoy small enclosed spaces.  It helps them feel safe and reduces visual stimulation.  A Teepee or space created with the Nugget (original play couch) is perfect for mellowing out and finding inner peace, tranquility and calm. 

Your child can learn lots of evidence-based ways to practice mindfulness by joining us for an aerial yoga camp or class. We infuse every activity with movement, breath and mindfulness.

Stop and Smell the Flowers, Lavender Calms the Mind

Essential oils reduce stress and calm the mind.

Aromas act directly on the brain through nerve receptors in the nose.  Millions of nerve cells in our nasal passageways send impulses to the hypothalamus and limbic area, which are the brain’s emotional centers. Aroma of certain oils is linked to the amygdala and pineal gland in the brain, which are also associated with emotion, thus it can help the mind and body by reducing emotional trauma.

Lavender is associated with relaxed brain waves.  Thus, when a child is upset, deep diaphragm breathing coupled with lavender, will have a calming affect on the central nervous system.  Research demonstrates breathing exercises have been successful in reducing anxiety related to attachment disorder, agoraphobia or general anxiety disorder.

Children often need visual reminders to breathe, especially when they are upset.  I make bracelets with lavender scented flowers.  When the child is upset and breathing shallowly, I provide the cue, “Stop and smell the flowers.”  Nine deep breaths are needed to calm the central nervous system.

Additionally, I use essential oils when teaching kid’s yoga and mindfulness. When mixing essential oils, always use oils that are pure and from a respectable source, such as Young Living.  Essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil such as sesame or olive oil in a specific ratio. So if you can’t find a flower to smell, make one.

References

Di Ciacco, J. A. (2008). The colors of grief: Understanding a child’s journey through loss from birth to adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Overholser, J.C. (2000). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of panic disorder. Psychotherapy, 37, 247-256.