Lesson 2 of 8
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Juggling Scarf Activities

SHAPE America National Standards

3, 5

SEL Competency:

Self- management

  • Stress management
  • Self-discipline
  • Impulse control

Teaching Outcomes:

  • I can use juggling scarves as a way to calm myself.
  • I can use juggling scarves as a way to practice deep breathing.
  • I can use juggling scarves in creative ways.


Introduce the concept of mindfulness or being self-aware. SHAPE America’s health. moves. minds. Service-Learning Program explains mindfulness is when you pay full attention to what you’re doing, you’re taking your time, and you’re focused and relaxed.

Mindfulness (or Self-Awareness)

  • Paying full attention to your:
    1. Thoughts
    2. Emotions
    3. Body
    4. Environment
  • Slowing down to notice what you’re doing
  • Being focused and relaxed
  • Focus on the present moment

Lead a discussion on the various types of feelings a person might have (e.g. scared, mad, sad, happy, excited, nervous, worried, overwhelmed, etc.). Explain to students that it is normal to feel a variety of feelings and sometimes some feelings will be more intense, or stronger, than other feelings. A part of being healthy is learning how to manage feelings in health ways. Today students will practice being mindful as a way to help manage strong feelings. Be sure to communicate/connect the SEL competency of self-management along with its sub-competencies with students.

Students will use juggling scarves to practice being mindful and as a strategy for when they might be feeling strong or complex emotions.

Mindful Scarves:

  • Take one of the juggling scarves and hold it out in front of you above your head. Let go of the scarf and watch it fall. What do you notice about the scarf as it falls? How does it seem to be falling?
  • Now take all three of your juggling scarves and do the same thing. What do you notice now? Which scarf hit the ground first? How are the scarves falling?
  • Take a juggling scarf and rub it between your hands. What does it feel like? What does it sound like?
  • Take the juggling scarf and gently rub it against the back of your hand. What does it feel like? Does it tickle? Is it itchy?
  • Slowing down to notice things you normally wouldn’t pay attention to about an object is one way of practicing being mindful. It allows us to be in the present moment and not think about things that have already happened or things that might happen in the future.

Better Breathing:

  • Hold a juggling scarf with your index finger and thumb in front of your face. Take a deep breath so deep you can feel your stomach begin to poke out. When you breathe this deep you are using your diaphragm muscle to pull down on your lungs.
  • Now slowly and QUIETLY breathe out. Try to make your scarf move from your breath as long as possible.
  • Try it again. Take another deep breath, but this time breath in SLOWLY.
  • Once your lungs are full, SLOWY and QUIETLY breathe out to move your scarf. Can you breathe out for at least five seconds?
  • Try breathing in DEEPLY and SLOWLY then breathing out SLOWLY and QUIETLY on your own with your juggling scarf 10 more times or for 60 seconds. How does your body feel? Do you feel relaxed?
  • Using Better Breathing or deep breathing is a great tool when you are feeling a very strong emotion like when you’re really angry or really upset. When we breathe deeply using our diaphragm it triggers a natural response in our body to relax us.

Clouds and Trees:

  • Now take your juggling scarves and ball them up in your hand and throw them into the air. Pretend the scarves are clouds floating in the sky.
  • Once they have hit the ground, pick them up and do it again. This time imagine what kinds of clouds your scarves are. Are they white fluffy clouds? Are they dark stormy clouds? Are they thin wispy clouds?
  • Pick up the scarves and drop them over your head. Pretend you are moving in the clouds. How do the clouds feel on your body or skin as they fall to the ground?
  • This time with your scarves, hold one scarf in one hand and two scarves in the other hand. Be sure you are holding the scarves between your thumb and index fingers.
  • Pretend you are a tree and your feet are the roots. You are rooted deep in the ground. Your arms are your branches and the scarves are your leaves. What kind of tree are you? Do you grow flowers or fruits or just have leaves? Is your trunk thick and sturdy or slender and flexible? Are you a tall tree or a short tree? Your tree can look however you like.
  • I will describe a scene and you will move as you feel your tree would move.
  • It’s a bright sunny, spring day and the wind is blowing softly. A bird flies onto one of your branches and starts to play with one of your leaves. Feel the cool breeze rustle through your leaves. Suddenly, the bird flies away and the wind starts blow a little harder and dark clouds start to roll in. The wind starts to blowing a little harder and rain starts to pour down. It’s rainy and windy and the wind gets even stronger! The wind is blowing really hard now! The trees branches start to bend, and the leaves are shaking really fast and — OH NO! — a leaf blows away! But slowly everything starts to calm down. The wind becomes gentler, the sun is coming back out and drying up the rain from your leaves. Your leaves continue to sway gently in the wind. Now the sun is starting to set and the wind is gone.
  • Let’s take a moment to sit quietly. As we sit quietly, think about how you are feeling now, compared to when you started?
  • Connect being mindful as a way to calm our minds and bodies when we are feeling strong emotions which helps with self-management to make healthier choices.

National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education is used under license from SHAPE America. © SHAPE America 2014, www.shapeamerica.org.  All Rights Reserved.

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National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education is used under license from SHAPE America. © SHAPE America 2014, www.shapeamerica.org. All Rights Reserved.

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