Written and narrated by Chanel Tsang
Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Welcome to the greatest show on earth: Circus Spectacular, starring YOU! Join us as we use our body and mind to imagine ourselves being contortionists, clowning around, and flying through the air on a trapeze! A fun relaxation story to wind down to in the classroom or at home.
A mindfulness story suitable for children aged 5 – 12 years old.
Hi! We’re winding down our first season, just three more episodes to go! I’m coming up to my summer break here in Canada, so I’ll be spending time with my daughters, swimming, running, reading, and also writing and recording Season 2 of Peace Out for September. The Bedtime FM team is already helping me line up ideas and writing stories for that, so I’m so excited about where Peace Out is going and hope you subscribe to us so that you don’t miss it! Thanks!
Hello everyone. Thanks for joining us today here at Peace Out, stories for calming down and relaxation.
I’m Chanel and today we’re going to the circus!
[CIRCUS MUSIC PLAYS]
Let’s start by sitting down. Cross your legs and close your eyes. Let’s start with the Calm Down Countdown. Breathe in and out. Keep breathing as I count down…
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Keep your eyes closed and use your imagination to picture this: a huge tent with red and white stripes.
[CIRCUS MUSIC FADES IN]
There are little triangle flags strung up all around the tent. What colour are they? The flags are gently waving in the breeze. Let’s wave our bodies too. Gently rock from side to side, side to side.
And there are bright spotlights shining, circles of light moving around. Can you see them? Sit up tall and lift your chin up a little. And now, keeping your eyes closed, turn your head to one side, like you’re looking over your shoulder. Now turn your head back to the middle, facing forward. Turn your head to the other side, looking over your shoulder. Do a few more turns on your own, and picture the spotlights roving around the circus tent with its flags. One of the lights has just passed the big banner hanging right over the tent entrance. It says “CIRCUS SPECTACULAR” in big letters. What else can you see?
Very nice, everyone! This is helping us warm up for the main event, because guess what, I just heard that Circus Spectacular is looking for kids to be part of today’s special performance! How amazing is that?
Oh, look over there. It’s the ringmaster. She’s got a black top hat on and a coat with long tails on it. She’s holding a microphone and announcing that it’s time for Circus Spectacular’s new mini performers—that’s us!
Our first performance is with the Contortionist. The contortionist is able to bend his body in different ways. Let’s try. Keep your eyes closed and stretch up one arm to the sky. Reach over with that arm to the opposite side, so that your arm is across your chest. Keep it in place by using your other hand or arm to hold it gently in place. Now, look over the shoulder that’s being stretched right now, so that you’re looking at one side, and your outstretched hand is reaching towards the other. Breathe in deeply a few times, in and out, holding this pose. Let it go.
Let’s try the same thing with our other arm. Reach it up high and then across your chest. Hold it up gently with your opposite hand. And now look over the shoulder that’s being stretched. Take a few breaths…and let it go.
Nice! Now that you’re arms are all nice and warmed up, you can reach over and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! Okay, now we’re moving on to the Clown! All circuses need clowns to make us laugh! Laughing is not only fun, but it’s good for us too! We’re stretching the muscles in our face and we begin to breathe faster, which sends more oxygen to our bodies. We’re going to stretch our face muscles now. Keep your eyes closed…and now make a really silly face, the silliest face you can make! Scrunch up your nose, stick out your tongue, whatever you want to do! And hold that silly face for three breathes. And now relax your face muscles so that they feel loose, no tension at all.
Let’s try that one more time. This time, think of another funny face to make. Keep your eyes closed and…make your funny face! Hold that face for another three breaths…and relax your face muscles. Ahh!
You all make great clowns!
Alright, are you ready for the last challenge? This one’s going to take a lot of imagination, but I know that you have an amazing imagination after coming along with me through our other Peace Out stories! We’ve imagined ourselves going to the moon, underwater, walking through the woods, and flying around the world! So turn that imagination on one more time as we fly through the air with the greatest of ease on the…trapeze!
A trapeze looks like a swing, with a bar for a seat. The trapeze is high, high up at the top of the circus tent. Keeping your eyes closed, look up to the ceiling and imagine the trapeze swinging and the trapezeartists flipping and flying through the air, catching the next trapeze bar at the last moment. Imagine what that looks like. Imagine the circus performers swinging and doing flips. Now look forward again.
It’s your turn. Use that imagination to picture yourself up at the very tall stand near the top of the big top. Look down at the cheering crowd below, children and adults, all the different colours they’re wearing dotting the stands. And you are so far above them, they look like the size of mice from up here.
Everyone is a little afraid of something. Everyone. If you’re afraid of heights, guess what? You don’t have to be right now because it’s all in your mind. You’re safe right now. So now let’s look forward in our mind, toward the trapeze bar that’s hanging right in front of you. It’s a silver bar and the chains are securely fastened to the trapeze structure, strong and steady. And it’s our turn to be strong and steady because it’s time to grab the bar and swing!
Reach your arms up and pretend you’re holding onto the bar. Got it? Good. Now let’s start to swing!
Keep your arms up and lean your body and arms forward as far as you can…and now lift your body back up and even lean a little backwards if you can. Try doing that at a gentle pace three more times, and this time, try breathing in as you lean forwards and breathe out when you lean back. Go ahead now for three more times.
Great! I think we’re ready for the big jump! You can put your arms down and give them a shake if you’d like, then rest them by your side or in your lap now. This will be all imagination. Imagine someone hanging from their knees, upside down, on another trapeze. Who is it? Is it a friend? Someone in your family? Or you can imagine a real circus trapeze artist, there to teach you how it’s done. Now whoever you’ve imagined is swinging towards you with their arms reaching to you. Watch them swing far back…and close again, their hands so close you can reach them if you jump. Wait for them to swing back to you, take a deep breath…and JUMP!
Grab their hands and feel them pull you through the air, you can feel that they have a strong hold on you. You made it! If you’d like, rock gently forward and back right now, keeping your back straight and your chin up.
Hear the audience gasp and cheer when they see that you’ve done it!
Can you feel the air rushing past your face and blowing your hair back as you fly back and forth?
[CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS]
If you’re rocking, slowly come to centre.
Your performance was a hit! Everyone in the stands has jumped to their feet, cheering and clapping! It’s time for our final bow.
Stretch your legs out in front of you, then spread your feet as far as you comfortably can. When you’re ready, lean forward like you’re taking a bow, using your hands to crawl forward as you do. Only go as far as is comfortable. Now come back up slowly, crossing your legs again, sitting up tall and proud, chin lifted up, hands on your knees or lap.
Congratulations! You were a super Circus Spectacular performer! How do you feel? Which was your favourite part?
Thank you for your efforts here today. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being you.
Until next time, peace out…and peace within.
Thank you for listening to Peace Out. Today’s story was written and narrated by Chanel Tsang. Sound and editing by Rob Griffiths. You can find more relaxation stories at bedtime.fm/peaceout or find Peace Out on iTunes, GooglePlay, or Stitcher.
If you want to hear more about the podcast and about behind-the- scenes stuff, check out the Good Stuff Kids’ podcast this week where the lovely Mike Mason interviewed me about Peace Out! Mike is amazing and his podcast is full of, well, good stuff for kids, including music, performers, authors, sports, and more! You can find him and his awesome show at goodstuffpod.com!
Did you enjoy this story? Why not take a look at some of our other children‘s relaxational and mindfulness stories?