One of the underlying messages of the book is that is when we build our capacity to feel and name sensations, we can allow them to move through and heal. By increasing our sensation vocabulary we increase our capacity to be physically present with what’s happening in our body.
To prep the activity I make drawings of the open body maps, that we then color in together.
Once I am with the kids, we circle up. Generally I start with a little movement activity to get everyone present and in their bodies. Then I start getting our minds thinking about sensations.
I ask them questions to get our sensation vocabulary flowing. Like, “What’s the opposite of hot?” “Have you ever felt like you had butterflies in your stomach? What’s that sensation called?” "Ice feels really ___" We brainstorm sensations for a while and when that feels done, we move onto mapping.
I take out an empty body map and start with one of the four basic emotions. Then we talk together about how that emotion is sensed in the body. I offer the kids a chance to collaboratively draw the sensations. Some kids have an easy time expressing it through drawing and some kids need a little help. If they say they don’t know how to draw it I help walk them through a bit.
We always end up with drawings that are so easy to understand and feel! I like the process of doing it in a group, as it emphasizes the universality of feelings and sensations. This can also be done individuality.
Here’s some pics from the last session, done with a group of girls age 7-9.
Let me know how it goes if you try it!