Those words fill me with joy. Even as someone who is dairy intolerant! I can go for weeks without chocolate but I do love it when I have it. There is something comforting and luxurious about it. (Maybe that is just because I grew up with the Caramel Bunny and the seductive ladies in the Flake adverts!).
We are brought up believing that chocolate is a treat yet it is also something that children eat most days in the west now. Schools may be clamping down on chocolate bars in lunch boxes but most children will have something containing it during the day, whether it is cereals, hot chocolate at bedtime or a biscuit after school.
Not everyone loves chocolate of course, I have been surprised by how many of my children’s friends don’t like it.
As a child my parents were very sensible about the amount of sweets we had and chocolate was for treats and in no way something to be eaten all the time.
It is important when reading these suggestions that we take into account all of the above factors (intolerance, dislike, school policy and parental choices) when thinking about how we can celebrate in school. There are some lovely ways to use chocolate to be more mindful and calm in school which don’t even involve eating it.
Mindful Chocolate Activities
Hot Chocolate Breathing
- Ask your children to imagine they are picking up a big mug of hot chocolate (if they don’t like it they can imagine it is warm squash, tea, coffee, whatever hot drink they enjoy).
- Imagine the warmth of the drink in your hands, you can close your eyes if you like.
- Now hold your drink up to your mouth but don’t drink, just take a big smell of your hot chocolate.
- Breathe out slowly enjoying the smell of your hot chocolate.
- Take several big deep smells of your drink and slowly breathe out as though you are cooling your drink.
- When you are ready imagine your are taking a sip: Is it cool enough to drink? Can you feel the warmth of the hot chocolate in your mouth? Can you feel it moving through your chest and down into your stomach?
- You can repeat these steps as many times as you like.
It is such a simple process but by focusing on their breathing the children are calming themselves down immediately. They are also using their imaginations, something which is so important for children’s development and creativity.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Lesson Plan
My 1hr Charlie and the Chocolate Factory mindfulness lesson plan is the perfect way to celebrate International Chocolate Day with your class. This lesson teaches the children breathing techniques and yoga poses to help them stay calm and relaxed and you then put them all together as part of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story. If you are a Roald Dahl Fan you can also buy this lesson plan as part of my Roald Dahl Special Offer bundle along with Matilda and The BFG.
You can of course read the Roald Dahl classic story as a mindful listening activity. Simply choose a chapter or select a favourite passage. Ask the children to sit quietly, maybe close their eyes if they are comfortable to do so, remind them to think about the story and how it might look in their minds eye, then read in a quiet voice, encouraging them to listen carefully.
Of course I can’t mention chocolate without adding that if you are able to eat small amounts at your school it is a wonderful thing to do mindful eating exercises with.
Explain to the children that you are going to give them 3 pieces of chocolate but they must not eat them yet (chocolate buttons are
perfect but you could use an orange segment, raisins, cereal etc. I am going to use raisins in my example).
Give all the children 3 buttons.
Ask the children to eat one of the chocolate buttons.
What did it taste like?
What did you notice?
Now look at the second button but don’t eat it.
What does it look like?
Now pick up the button and see what it feels like between your fingers.
Next place it in your mouth, but still don’t eat it.
How does it feel in your mouth?
Can you taste it?
Can you smell it?
Now eat it really slowly and see how it tastes now.
Did it taste different to the first one?
Why do you think that is?
Finally eat the third chocolate button.
Did that taste different to the other two.
Did you eat it any differently to how you ate the first chocolate button?
Do you usually really taste your food?
Are you too busy talking/watching tv etc to notice you are even eating?
Do you think it would change how you eat/what you eat/how much you eat if you ate more mindfully?
(If you are in EYFS why not incorporate mindful eating into snack time?)
Who would have thought that chocolate could be used to calm children down?
There are lots of ways you can celebrate this fun day with your class, whether you are allowed to eat it or not. I would love to hear whether you choose to celebrate with your children, why not drop me an email and let me know?