Mindfulness and the Brain

What You Need:


What You Do:

  1. Show your child the model image of the brain, and mention each of the main regions.
  2. Share the below information about the brain. As you share this information, pause to make sure that your child is following along. It may help to have them follow along using the Mindfulness and the Brain worksheet.
    • "The Amy-G-Dala (amygdala) is also know as 'The Protector,' or we can call her Amy. Amy wants to protect us and keep us safe from danger at all costs! When stressed, though, Amy will stop the prefrontal cortex, or 'PFC,' from receiving helpful information to make positive choices. When Amy is at ease, the PFC receives what it needs most. The prefrontal cortex is known as 'The Wise One.' It helps us calm down and make wise choices, and it sends and receives memories from the hippocampus. When Amy is stressed, the PFC is not available to us. The hippocampus is known as 'The Memory House.' The hippocampus is like a computer that receives and sends information, but it also stores and recalls memories. When Amy is upset or stressed, memories can not be brought to mind or stored. When we practice mindfulness, we are able to calm the amygdala and access our PFC to make healthy choices. We are also able to remember things better and store information when we need to!"
  3. Now ask, "Given what I just shared, what do you wonder about the brain?"
  4. Assess your child's comprehension by asking, "What part of the brain connects to fear?" (Answer: the amygdala.)
  5. Review the role of the amygdala.
  6. Ask, "What part of the brain controls calmness and ignites when we practice mindfulness?" (Answer: the prefrontal cortex.)
  7. Explain that when we practice mindfulness, we help the amygdala calm down. However, when we feel fear, our amygdala goes into "fight, flight, or freeze!" mode.
  8. Show your child the model image of the brain again. Then, show them the Play Dough Brain worksheet.
  9. Review the worksheet's instructions, and explain that they will be creating their own model of the brain using play dough.
  10. Work with your child to create a play dough model of the brain. Encourage them to use different colors to represent different regions of the brain.

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