‘I am grounded.
When I feel afraid I can touchdown on the earth
and feel her support.’
In this activity children will learn about animals that make burrows and why. Through a pretend game, they will explore burrowing as a way of escaping natural threats. This activity also gives children a concrete way to explore their own fears and provides suggestions on how they can create their own “burrow” when they feel scared.
Large Blankets or couch cushions
Optional Youtube Clips to show examples of burrowing:
Ask your child if they have heard the word burrow before. Have a discussion about what they already know about burrowing animals. They may want to make guesses to what they think a burrow is.
Help define a burrow for your child: Underground tunnels that animal makes for protection, travel, shelter, and birthing babies
List some animals that burrow and show YouTube examples (optional): rabbit, river otter, mole, gophers, meerkats, prairie dogs, ants, chipmunks, worms, and more
Explain that when these animals perceive threats (and feel afraid) they burrow into the ground for protection. Burrows provide protection from extreme temperatures and storms, protection from predators, a safe place to give birth, a safe way of traveling, and a place to store food
Invite your child to pretend they are a meerkat (or any other animal that burrows) and “dig” a burrow in couch cushions or heavy blankets.
“It’s a beautiful morning, come out to play. EMERGE from your burrow”
“Look a hawk circling above, BURROW!”
“Time for lunch. Come eat some berries from this bush. EMERGE”
“It’s sure getting hot out here, BURROW.”
“You are thirsty, EMERGE.”
“It’s time for your babies to be born, BURROW”
“Take your babies out to play, EMERGE”
“A thunderstorm is coming, BURROW”
Talk about what other animals do when they are afraid (turtles go into their shells, birds fly away, bears get large and prepare to attack)
Dig burrows in your sensory table or outside space
Set up a space in your home for your child to “burrow.” This could be a pile of cushions or blankets, a very large cardboard box, or a laundry basket. Invite your child to go to that space if they are feeling scared, overwhelmed, or want alone time.
Interested children may enjoy these documentaries on burrowing from Reel Truth Earth (approx. 45 minutes each)
Questions to ask:
Do you know what a burrow is?
What are some reasons for an animal to burrow?
What do you do when you are afraid? How is that similar to burrowing? How is it different?
Invite your child to explore how they respond when they are afraid. Talk about the way fear physically feels in your body and how you respond.
Grounding practices for fear:
“Bring your attention to your feet. Feel how warm they are in your socks. Feel how safe they are in your shoes. Know that you are protected.”
“Touch the earth, dig a hole so you can fit your hands inside of her. The earth is a mother to us all. Tell her your fears and feel her hold you tight. Know that you are protected.”