Mindful Mondays: The Feelings Volcano
This activity is recommended for ages 5-11.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by a strong emotion? Maybe you were angry with a friend for taking your favorite book, or frustrated that you couldn’t figure out that math problem? We all have strong feelings sometimes, and that’s okay! Try this is a twist on the classic baking soda-and-vinegar volcano experiment, and explore why it’s important to express and regulate our emotions in healthy ways!
- Empty plastic bottle or 8 oz cup
- Measuring cup
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Food coloring (if desired)
- To get ready: Place the baking soda in the empty plastic bottle or 8 oz cup using the funnel.
- Think about a time when you were overwhelmed by a strong emotion (feeling sad, embarrassed, mad, nervous, etc.). Talk with your grown up about what happened. What happened to make you feel this way? What did you do about it?
- Pour a little bit of vinegar into the measuring cup. (Add food coloring if desired). This vinegar represents the feelings you had in your story. Now, let’s say that instead of expressing your feelings and doing something to manage them, you let them keep building and building and building up inside of you!
- Add more vinegar “feelings” to the cup until it reaches the ½ cup mark. What do you think will happen when you act on your feelings by adding the vinegar to the baking soda?
- Pour the vinegar into the baking soda. What happened? All of those sour feelings came out!
- Time for another experiment! What if instead of letting those sour feelings build up, you did something to manage them? Maybe you talked to your grown up about how you were feeling, or maybe you took some long, deep breaths! When you take steps to manage them, your feelings aren’t so sour anymore – they’re more like water than vinegar! What do you think will happen if you add water to baking soda?
- Pour the water into the baking soda. What happened? This time, we didn’t let our emotions get the best of us!
- There’s nothing wrong with having feelings! They’re part of being human. But it’s important that we learn how to express and manage our feelings so that we can control them instead of them controlling us. Work with your grown up to make a list of ways you can express and manage your emotions in hard situations, when you sense a feelings volcano brewing! Some ideas you might include:
- Take 10 slow, deep breaths.
- Draw or write about your feelings.
- Talk about your feelings with a friend, family member, or teacher.
- Dance to your favorite song.
- Stretch your body.
- Hang your strategies up somewhere to reference throughout the year!
Each mind matters. Taking care of our mental health is important to all of us – everywhere and always. Learn more by visiting FCMoD’s special exhibition Mental Health: Mind Matters, open through January 10th.