For children, incorporating some of the basic tenets of “wellness” into their lives is as easy as skipping down the sidewalk. Naturally open-minded, creative, inquisitive and joyful, children and teens are at the perfect age and stage to enjoy new experiences, the lessons of which they can carry with them for their entire lives.
Because of this, this year’s Sun Valley Wellness Festival, now in its 17th year, offers special programming for the special younger people in our lives. Based in the Sun Valley Village for four days over Memorial Day weekend, the Festival offers something for everyone, including kiddos – and their parents. In fact, one of the most highly anticipated speakers at this year’s event is Kim John Payne, author of the wildly popular parenting book, Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. More on Mr. Payne in a bit …
According to Kerry Brokaw, one of the primary organizers of this year’s Children’s Wellness Festival, this portion of the Festival was started four years ago with the idea of bringing spiritual awareness to children.
“This year the children’s festival welcomes younger and older children and will celebrate movement, art, music, puppetry and mindfulness,” Brokaw said. “The nature of the activities reflects the rhythm of breathing, an ‘in breath’ followed by an ‘out breath’; thus, a more lively activity, such as dance, is followed by a more focused and meditative artistic activity.”
Kids’ programming takes place on Saturday, May 24, and is based in Sun Valley’s Boiler Room. Morning activities are directed more at younger children (age suggestions are provided on the Sun Valley Wellness Festival website), and include Mindful Movement with Debra Drake featuring hoops, silks and blocks, followed by Jessica Banks, a Waldorf Kindergarten and Handworks teacher who will lead the children in wet felting, creating “message rocks” wrapped in felted wool to take home. Parents are asked to accompany their children during these morning activities. “It will definitely be fun for all!” Brokaw enthused.
From 11:30 a.m. to noon, children of all ages are invited to a marionette puppet presentation of a transformative African tale by Kerry Brokaw and Bege Reynolds, Early Childhood Educators and creators of Mountain Moon Puppetry. The ever-popular Tim Hanna, West African drumming teacher and Zenergy‘s Health and Wellness Manager, will accompany the production with his djembe drums.
Afternoon activities, designed primarily for children nine years old and up, begin at 12:45 p.m. when Tim Hanna teaches a beginning level djembe drum rhythms (hand drumming) class. He bases his teachings off of a series of calls and responses. He plays a small piece of a rhythm and then the class repeats it back. This style is very effective in working with all ability levels even if participants have never touched a drum. Plus, it’s really, really fun.
Then, it’s time to get up and move as Dale and Peggy Bates host line dancing for the older children and teens. This is not your grandparents’ line dancing according to Brokaw! Then it’s ‘breath out’ time again as Jessica Banks and Tammy Hood offer needle felting, a more advanced form of wool felting. The final out breath comes when as Kate Janke, a long-time participant of and speaker for the Sun Valley Wellness Festival, ends the program with a Heart and Mind Meditation workshop. Younger children, ages six and up, are invited back for this peaceful end to the day.
In addition, Tammy Hood, Education Director at Sawtooth Botanical Garden, will be on hand to share some curious critters from the Bug Zoo during the entire event.
On Sunday, May 25, from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., Kim John Payne will present “Simplicity Parenting” in Limelight Room A at the Sun Valley Inn. Payne’s book of the same name swept through the community this year and was read, discussed and passed on up and down the valley. He is making many re-think their parenting priorities.
“Having Kim John Payne come to the valley is a fabulous opportunity for parents, grandparents, educators, health care providers and anyone who works with children and teenagers to meet with a brilliant and resourceful mentor and colleague,” Brokaw said. His lecture is sure to touch on many of the topics that have everyone talking: discipline, raising socially resilient children, social difficulties with siblings and classmates, and fostering self-esteem. Known for his practical approach, sense of humor and wisdom, he connects with his audience, making his ideas both understandable and practicable.
For more on Kim John Payne, please visit www.socialsustain.com. He is a fascinating man who is changing the way many think about parenting in this day of rampant technology and “busier is better” standards.
Tickets to all Wellness Festival events are now on sale and the full schedule, speaker and event descriptions and more can be found HERE.
Bring your kids to Sun Valley over Memorial Day weekend and help get them started on a lifetime path of wellness.