Note: The computerized aspect of this experience is optional. You can use whatever tools you want to create your own sensory meditation room. Mine actually does not look like this anymore. I change it every month or so…and electronics are not always involved. I love experimenting and trying new things!
As Waldorf inspired parents & teachers we spend a lot of time creating the ideal playroom for our students, and making sure they have all the “right” educational and creative toys.
But what about the parent or teacher?
Adults need playtime too and it does not always need to be standard adult activities like seeing shows, going to bars or training at the gym. As parents and teachers we also need to do “adult” things to prepare for class such as lesson planning and “inner work”. However, there are surprising benefits to making sure we also nurture our inner child.
But how do we connect to that innocent, free and imaginary world we were part of as a 6-year-old?
I have listed some exercises below that can help you connect to your own inner child at the end of this post.
Last month my “inner child” came up with an idea that turned out to be very nurturing and beneficial for me. It also served as inspiration for a number of people, including my own children. If my children were younger I am sure they would have enthusiastically used it as a playroom from morning until night. I wish I would have thought of this when they were younger!
I created a “beach vacation”.
This also provides an example of what an “inner child” does when they are an adult. As an actual child I would create imaginary worlds and live in them simply by drawing with chalk on the sidewalk or building things with blocks. As a child grows, however, they learn how to bring their imagination into the real world. This is where many of the great ideas of our century come from – a person who grew up with a rich childhood imagination and who then learned the skills they needed to make what they imagined into reality.
However, often, as adults we skip the imagination part once we are out of childhood and focus on just “living in reality” or “getting things done”.
What would happen if we added that imagination back in – even as adults?
The new trend in “Adult Coloring Books” shows that we are eager to do this.
As teachers and parents we can inspire our students, model healthy adult creativity, instruct in how to bring imagination to life, and show students that nothing is impossible if your imagination and creativity are up to the task. In addition we can often break the cycle of stress that runs our lives, recapture the joy of childhood, fulfill our dreams and create things that are beneficial to our health and well-being. Many of these skills can be carried over into the professional realm as well.
This idea came to me when I was “playing” with Google Cardboard (a box that you put your phone into for about $15.00 that allows you to watch virtual reality videos) and I thought to myself, “what could make this experience MORE real? How could I touch and smell what was in the virtual world too?”
The ideas started emerging from there.
To create this “beach vacation” I first started with a pool (cost = $23.00 or free if you already have one) that was big enough to fit myself (so I could pretend I was sunning on the beach). I then filled it with sand (cost = $15 to $50.00 and available at any hardware, outdoor store or online depending on what kind you want).
I already had a craft lamp and numerous other lamps that mimicked daylight so I moved one of these from the craft room to the “beach” (cost = free or $15.00 if you need to buy a new lamp or $5.00 for a daylight bulb in an existing lamp). We had an old lamp that we had used for a lizard we used to have so I fitted that with a new bulb (cost = free or if you purchase new about $18.00).
I already had a Google Cardboard set up (cost = $12.00) so with these simple tools I was ready to go to the beach! After I set it up I also found a wall sticker of a beach scene for $14.00 so I added that later as an extra touch. I also plan on adding plants since I needed a place to start an indoor garden anyway. So the total cost to create your own beach at home is anywhere from $12.00 to $60.00 depending on what you already have – much cheaper than a flight to Florida.
How to Access Your Inner Child
Ask yourself the following questions…
- What makes me laugh?
- What if my greatest desire was real?
- What were my three favorite activities as a child?
- What do I look forward to most each week?
- What is my favorite flavor of ice cream?
- How did I choose my career when I first started?
- What did I love about my major in college when I chose it?
- What was my favorite class in school and why?
- What will always make me wake up in the morning happy?
- What are my three happiest childhood memories?
- Can I list three imaginary friends, places or events I experienced as a child?
- What do I love about being a parent, teacher, spouse? Or, what did I love about it when I first started?
Activities to trigger the inner child…
- Swing on a swing
- Blow bubbles
- Watercolor painting
- Finger painting
- Building a sand castle
- Jump roping
- Skipping down the street during your “walk”
- Picking a bouquet of wildflowers
- laying on the grass and looking at the sky
How to Bring Your Imagination to Life
- First think of something you want that would make you really happy. Perhaps you miss the warm weather, sun and beach (as I do) or perhaps you want to go on Safari to Africa, or simply enjoy smelling some flowers, or drinking tea in the garden.
- Next, think about what it is about this experience that you love. Is it the heat of the sun? The feel of the sand on your feet? The smell of the flowers? Make a list of these specifics. Once when we lived in the desert my daughter missed snow so on her birthday that year we covered everything in white sheets, added some snow animals and snowflakes and made snowballs using an icy machine. It was magical!
- Take these specifics and think of imaginative ways to re-create them in your home. Don’t worry if the solutions don’t come to you right away. Ask your children, friends and family for help or take a few days to think about it. Be sure not to forget things that are in storage, in your garage, and not being used around the house.
- Find a place in your home where you can build your creation. If you don’t have a lot of extra space then keep your creation in a box and set it up each time you use it. Extra spaces that are often useful are guest bedrooms, offices, bedroom corners, living room corners, closets, attics, laundry rooms, or storage rooms. In some cases you could use just a chair, a shelf or a table.