Slow Down Sensory Snack

We often don’t have time to slow down and enjoy our food. Being busy or stressed out can prevent us from truly enjoying our food. You have the power to decide to make time for a mindful moment.

With mindfulness, you can change your relationship with how you taste and enjoy food. Using your 5 senses to pay close attention to your experience, you can become aware of how enjoyable eating can be. And the benefits of slowing down are proven. When we see and smell our food and allow the mouth to salivate, the digestive process is less work for our bodies than if we scarf down our food. Therefore the benefits are both physical and mental. 

Try this activity alone or share with your friends, family, classmates, or even teachers.

How to:

First, select a healthy snack such as a fruit, vegetable, or something else available to you. Take one small piece and hold it in your hand.

Engaging the senses:

  • How does the food feel in your hand? What is the texture and weight? 

  • What is the appearance of the food? What colors are present? What is its size?

  • Can you smell the food? Bring it closer to you, take a sniff and notice the aroma of the food. 

  • Have you begun to salivate?

  • Do you notice you are feeling anticipation and excitement to eat the food?

Now, place the food in your mouth but do not chew.

  • What is happening with the saliva in your mouth? 

  • What do you notice you are thinking? 

  • Do you want to start chewing? 

Remember to go slowly now.

Begin to chew, listening to the sounds inside your mouth. Chew thoroughly.

  1. How does the food taste? 

  2. Does the flavor seem stronger than when you have previously eaten the same snack?

  3. What does it feel like as it moves around your mouth?

  4. Slowly swallow the bite of food. Notice how it feels as it goes down the throat and into the stomach. What is the temperature in your belly?

Reflect on your experience by drawing, journaling, sitting with your thoughts, or having a dialogue with a friend. 


Mindful Listening

  1. Divide students or staff into pairs. 

  2. Once in pairs, have them sit comfortably, at a close distance so they can see each other’s faces clearly. 

  3. Designate one person as the first to listen and the other as the first to speak (roles will be reversed next)

  4. Ask that the listener sit quietly with little facial expression. 

  5. Facilitate a question for the first speaker to answer. 

  6. After a designated amount of time has passed, ring a bell to stop.

  7. Have everyone take a breath and thank their partner before switching roles

  8. Repeat the same question to the next speaker

Good Times 

  • After an argument

  • As a weekly experience

  • At staff meetings

Helps to:

  • Increase empathy

  • Improve listening

  • Build understanding

  • Foster patience

  • Create friendship and commonality

TIP! Remind students not to respond to the first speaker, but to speak only to their own experience

Questions can start by helping children feel comfortable such as, “what are you good at?” or “what do you enjoy doing in your free time?”

  • The subsequent questions can be a way to go deeper into the first question

  • Use questions that may help participants to explore their sense of self

  • Use questions that may result in finding that people have a lot in common

Net of Seeing

  1. Take a deep breath to calm and prepare your mind and body. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable.

  2. Think about a place that helps you to feel calm and relaxed. This could be somewhere in nature, like a beach, a meadow, or the woods. It could be a favorite vacation spot, somewhere in your community, or even somewhere in your house. Think about a place that makes you feel content.

  3. Imagine that you are there now. Take a deep breath and settle into this relaxing place.

  4. What do you see there? How does it look? Notice the colors, textures, objects around you in this place.

  5. What do you hear there? How does it sound? Do you hear people? Animals? What else?

  6. What smells do you notice? Take a deep breath and notice the different scents around you.

  7. How does it feel to be there? Is it warm? Cool? 

  8. Take a few more minutes in this relaxing place. Continue to breathe deeply and use your senses to enjoy this place.

  9. Return your focus to your breath. Then bring your focus back to the room. Open your eyes gently.

Good Times 

  • When you have a strong feeling

  • When you are feeling out of control

Helps to:

  • Restore a sense of safety

  • Restore calm

  • Manage your body and feelings


Net of Hearing

  1. Take a deep breath to calm and prepare your mind and body. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable.

  2. Listen for the sounds that are the furthest away from you, outside of the school building. Use your net of hearing to catch those far away sounds.

  3. Now bring your net of hearing a little bit closer. Listen for the sounds that are in your school building, but outside your classroom. Use your net of hearing to catch those school sounds.

  4. Bring your net of hearing closer again. Listen for the sounds that are within your classroom. Use your net of hearing to catch those classroom sounds.

  5. Bring your net of hearing even closer. Listen for sounds that are right around you in your classroom. Use your net of hearing to catch those close sounds.

  6. Finally, bring your net of hearing to yourself. Listen for sounds that are within your own body. Use your net of hearing to catch your own sounds.

  7. Take a deep breath. Slowly open your eyes, if shut.

Good Times 

  • When there are many distractions around you

  • When you need to take a break

  • When you need to reorganize 

Helps to:

  • Acknowledge auditory distractions

  • Refocus


Take 5 Breathing

  1. Spread your hand and stretch your fingers out like a star.

  2. Pretend the pointer finger of your other hand is a pencil. Imagine you are going to trace the outline of your outstretched hand.

  3. You will connect movement with breath. As you breathe in, you will trace up from the bottom of your finger to your fingertip. As you breathe out, you will trace back down from your fingertip.

  4. Place your pointer finger at the bottom of your thumb, and breathe in as you slide up. Breathe out as you slide down. Breathe in as you slide up your second finger, and breathe out as you slide down. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fingers and you have taken five slow breaths.

  5. Check in with your body. Repeat on the other hand if needed.

Good Times 

  • When you are managing a strong feeling (nervous, frustrated, angry, etc.)

  • When you need to slow down

Helps to:

  • Settle the mind and body

  • Restore a sense of calmness

  • Slow down

TIP! The outstretched hand can be raised at eye level, placed on the desk/table, or placed on the thigh, depending on student’s level of comfort.


Balanced Breathing Exercise

  1. Sit up comfortably, tall spine, relax your shoulders. Open your palms in your lap. You may sit on the floor or in a chair. 

  2. Keep your left hand opened and close the right. Imagine that you can breathe in through the left side nostril, filling your left side of your body – from your toes to the crown of your head. Try visualizing the breaths as a beautiful white light, as water, or as a color. Choose any visual that is pleasing to you. Breathe into the left side until it feels full. Then, close the left hand and open the right.

  3. Breathe out and imagine the breath coming out the right nostril, emptying your right side body of breath. Imagine your breath coming out from your crown down the right side and out of your fingers. Breathe into your right side now and once full to the crown, close the right hand and open the left. Breathe out the left.

  4. Repeat several times. When you are feeling complete, perhaps after 10 rounds, open both palms and release the breath and visual through both sides. Notice how the experience makes you feel.

Good Times 

  • Body or mind chaotic or disorganized

  • Attention is elsewhere

  • Transitions

Helps to:

  • To balance right and left hemispheres of the brain (bilateral integration)

  • To restore calm

  • To energize

  • To gain attention

  • To draw attention inward

TIP! Read the instructions and talk the kids through with detail for the first 3-5 breaths, then simply say, “open right, inhale right, fill up right. Close right. Open left, exhale left, empty left.” Or simplify the language in your own way.

If possible, choose a quiet, calm environment.


The 5 Breath Space Maker

  1. Put away your materials and say to yourself aloud or in your head, “I am done.” Or “This is complete.”

  2. Take 5 slow, smooth, deep belly breaths.

  3. Notice what feels different. 

  4. Notice something you feel grateful for right now.

  5. Now prepare yourself for the next activity. 

Good Times 

  • Transition from one activities to the next

  • Moving from one space to another

  • Arriving in a new space


  • To help children organize their space and thoughts minds.

  • To recognize a shift from one topic to the next.

TIP! Try doing this activity for the same transition every day for two weeks. After that, challenge students to consider what other times this breathing activity would best serve them.


Hand Washing Meditation

  1. Mindfully walk to the sink: use your senses to feel your feet on the floor, your eyes to see the surroundings, your ears to hear your steps.

  2. Say to yourself, “I am going to clean my hands.”

  3. Pay attention as you turn on the water. Notice the sound of the water as it flows. Wet your hands. What does it feel like? 

  4. Pump the soap into your hands. Notice the sensation of the soap on your hands.

  5. As you work your hands into a lather, stay engaged fully in this activity. Notice your breath as you continue to wash your palms, tops of hands, fingernails, wrists.

  6. When you are done, say to yourself, “My hands are clean.”

  7. Mindfully shut off the water. Dry your hands.