Social Emotional Learning Craft
Ghost Breathing Buddy
The goal of this social emotional learning (SEL) craft is to create a fun visual support for your child to use and practice their deep breathing. This is a great hands-on social emotional learning activity that involves fine motor skills, self-regulation, direction following, and creative skills. After the ghost breathing buddy is complete it can be added to your child’s calm down toolkit.
Why Teach Breathwork?
Teaching your child the importance of deep breathing can be extremely difficult. It is easy to say, “Take a deep breath!”, but it does not model how to do it. It’s essential to remember that mindful breathwork is not typically intuitive in moments of distress or big emotions for your child. When they are feeling dysregulated or struggling with a feeling, you should model and remind them to breathe deeply. This is where our Ghost Breathing Buddy craft comes in! The outcome is to make deep breathing fun and encourage them to use this soothing technique to calm their body.
Research on Deep Breathing
When we take deep abdominal breaths, it encourages a full oxygen exchange. This means our bodies exchange incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Try it right now, take a deep breath. How do you feel after? Research has shown deep breathing can slow the heart beat, stabilize blood pressure, or lower it.
On the contrary, shallow breathing can cause you to feel anxious and short of breath. When we take shallow breaths it does not allow the lowest parts of the lungs to get a full share of oxygenated air. Now try to take a shallow breath, check in with yourself. How are you feeling after your shallow breath? Did you notice a difference?
Pro Tip: Be sure to have your child try taking a shallow breath vs. a deep abdominal breath. They can use their new ghost buddy to blow on after you complete the craft below!
? Ghosts Breathing Buddy?
- Elastic band
- Gather your materials.
- Take one tissue and crumple it up into a ball.
- Take another tissue and wrap it around the balled up tissue. Pro Tip: Make sure the balled up tissue is in the center.
- Tie the elastic band around the balled tissue to create a ghostly like head! (oooOoo spooky!)
- Create the face of your ghost with your marker.
- Wow! You have officially created your new ghostly breathing buddy.
- Give them a name and add them to your calm down tool kit if you would like!
Options: You can put your ghostly breathing buddy on a popsicle stick or use clear string to decorate.
Why is deep breathing important to teach my child?
Research continuously supports the various positive effects of deep breathing. Some effects include, reduced feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, relaxed muscles and lowered stress levels. Deep breathing sends a signal to our brains to relax and calm down. Allowing ourselves to pause and slow down and simply breathe is a great strategy to have because it can be used anywhere and anytime. Furthermore, it promotes balance in the mind and body and allows you to gain control of your thoughts, emotions, and body again.
Note from Zoy: We hope this ghost breathing buddy craft was fun! Please share yours with us on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook! We cannot wait to see your incredible creations!
- Bradley, Goldstein, & Sappala, (2020, September 9). In Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress In Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/09/research-why-breathing-is-so-effective-at-reducing-stress
- Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response (2020, June 6). In Harvard Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response#:~:text=Deep%20abdominal%20breathing%20encourages%20full,lower%20or%20stabilize%20b
- Zacarro, Piarulli, Laurino, Garbella, Meniucci, Neri, & Gemignani, (2018, September 7). In How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137615/