Families and Children

You are invited to a Virtual Children’s Day Celebration!

This is a free program open to all offered by Shambhala Online!

Join us for a fun-filled celebration of Children’s Day and the Winter Solstice on December 20th, 2020 at 12:00 pm PST as a way to connect with the cycles of the seasons and the importance of family and children. This is a family-friendly Sunday Gathering hosted by the Touching the Earth Collective and a group from the Shambhala Office of Families and Children.  Fun activities for all!  See a list of things to bring.

For local Shambhala Families, please email Robin at [email protected] if you’d like to receive a celebration packet.  Deadline for requests is December 16th.

The event is free but registration is required.


May the heart of our community be warmed by the laughter of children, energized by the passion of teenagers, inspired by the pure vision of young adults, enriched by the generosity of parents, strengthened by the discipline of adults, stabilized by the wisdom of the elders and altogether held and guided by the lineage.


Children’s Programs at the Seattle Shambhala Center

Shambhala Child Care
Bodhi Group
Family Camp
Children’s Day
General Resources for Families


Shambhala Child Care

The Tiny Tigers 2nd Sundays group is open to waddlers, toddlers and children in pre-school and supports time for parents to meditate and participate in the Shambhala Sunday community. Find out more and register here.

Shambhala Child Care for children over 7 years old runs concurrently with Sunday Morning Meditation and Discussion from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM. Parents must stay on site. During check-in please  provide a cash or check donation of $10 ($5 for each additional child).

NOTE: Please check back here for updates to the Child Care schedule and announcements.

The Children’s Regular Sunday Schedule

10:00 – opening, saying hello, finding how I feel today

10:30 – meditation, mindfulness practice

10:30-11:00 – A Kingdom of Kindness and Confidence: children explore Shambhala principles through story, discussion, art, movement and sharing; children may break into age groups depending on activity and staffing

11:00-11:30 Tea snack

11:30-12:15 ongoing project & outdoor time

12:30 – closing ritual, coming together before leaving

There are no age restrictions but we do ask that you contact us in advance if your child is new to Shambhala Child Care, is 3 years or younger, or has special needs.

Parents are requested to participate in child care when their children are 2 years or younger. Children 12 years or older, young adults, and elderly family members who enjoy being with children are encouraged to participate or volunteer with the child care team.

The purpose of the child care is to support families in their practice by embracing their children’s presence at the Shambhala Center. The child care provides children a place of belonging in a spiritual community as well as an opportunity for familiarity and comfort to develop before entering the future Children’s program.

Shambhala Child Care has no set curriculum. Exposure to stories and activities with Shambhala Buddhist themes and simple activities to cultivate awareness may be introduced when appropriate. Kindness, cooperation, caring, respect, and responsibility to community are all values of the child care. We emphasize working together, caring for the Center, discovery, and celebrating the natural world.  Physical exercise, art, and meditation are some of the common activities of the child care.

Outdoor activities are an important part of experiencing the world through the senses and developing mindfulness, so please ensure children are prepared with rain boots, clothes that can get muddy, appropriate outerwear for rain, snow, sun, etc., and maybe even an extra set of pants.

Shambhala Daycare child care team is led by Robin Willett.  Please contact Robin with any questions or comments.

Bodhi Group

A time for children between 8 and 12 to explore Shambhala culture and studies. Held one Sunday a month at the Seattle Shambhala Center. Children practice meditation during each session and are encouraged to take what they learn and use it in their daily life. Optional outings, one overnight, and a community care project will be offered along the way.

Please visit the Bodhi Group Information and Registration page for more details.

The Dignities That Bring Confidence into Everyday Life

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The four dignities: Tiger, Snow Lion, Garuda, and Dragon

Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the image.

Learn more in an article on the four dignities by the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche:


Become a Volunteer

Our Family & Children Programs are about creating a space for children to connect to their own goodness, wisdom, kindness, and strength. Volunteering to support this environment is an expression of generosity and commitment to our children and the offerings Seattle Shambhala Center provides.

We are seeking child care staff throughout the year. If you enjoy being with children and are patient and flexible then please be encouraged to meet with the child care team about volunteering your time on a Sunday morning. If you will be coming regularly with your child, we do ask you to help out at least a few times a year. Please talk with our child care volunteer coordinator, Anisha.

Young people 12 years or older, adults, and elderly family members who enjoy being with children are encouraged to participate in any of the children’s programs offerings , as well as seasonal celebration such as Children’s Day, Bodhi school, and outings. In addition, if you have a special skill you’d like to share with the kids, let us know, we’d love to work it in.

As part of our programming, we also like to bring in a variety of individuals from the community who can share their skills in meditation and Shambhala philosophy and culture. Please talk to Robin about leading a Shambhala activity for a small group of children ages 8-12 during Bodhi school.

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Anisha at to discuss any of these volunteer opportunities.

Annual Shambhala Summer Camps

NEW: Family Camp ONLINE August 1 – 31 with Barbara Bash & Laura Simms

Karme Choling Family Camp, At Home 2020 is a series of virtual events participants can attend or offer for children and grown-ups throughout the month of August. These gatherings will include “Speaking True, Listening Deep” circle practice with Barbara Bash, Great Goodness Tales (marvelous, mysterious and perhaps some that will scare your socks off) storytelling with Laura Simms, Sunday Morning Meadows and evening singing with Family Camp friends and so much more.

Seattle Shambhala Family Camp

Seattle’s annual summer Shambhala Family Camp is an opportunity for children, parents, and our community at large to come together and form a little pocket of enlightened society in the sunshine.Mischievous_2

Family camp meets annually at beautiful locations around the Puget Sound including Whidbey and Orcas Islands.

What’s  Greater Seattle’s family camp like? 

Check out the stories and photos about family camp over the years.

Family Camp 2012 at Windhorse Retreat Center on Whidbey Island.

Family Camp 2014 at Windhorse Retreat Center, Whidbey Island.

Family Camp 2015: Building Family Bridges in Snohomish County

Camps at the Shambhala Land Centers

Sun Camp

Shambhala Sun Camp is an outdoor sleep-away summer camp for children ages 10-16 with locations in Colorado, Nova Scotia and France.  Sessions take place in July and August.

Shambhala Sun Camp at Land Centers


Family Camps

Shambhala Family Camps are held at several land centers during the summer.  Family Camp is a creative and contemplative retreat the whole family can enjoy.  Children are grouped by age.  For more information see program details from current and previous years below.  Registration usually opens in early Spring.  Search for this summer’s program on the land center’s website.

Shambhala Mountain Center, 2018

Karme Choling, Vermont, 2017

And, check out this video of Family Camp at Karme Choling



Children’s Day

The Children’s Day Celebration on the Winter Solstice is one of four high seasonal celebration days, or Nyida Days in the Tibetan tradition, with a special focus on children and the nourishing light and warmth of community in the midst of the cold and wet abundance of our Northwest winter season. It’s a time too, for slowing down and reflecting.

Find out more about Children’s Day here.

How do the King and Queen celebrate Children’s Day in the magical city called Kalapa, which is the capital of the Kingdom of Shambhala?  Find out in  A Children’s Day Story by Martin Janowitz

Children’s Day at Seattle Shambhala Center

Iliana and her dignity companions, the local King and Queen of Shambhala, and sangha celebrate a magical and lively Children’s Day and Winter Solstice.

The Iliana Story

The performance or telling of the story of Iliana, by Water Fordham, Iliana: A Solstice Tale, is a much loved part of the annual Children’s Day Solstice celebration.

The Iliana Story

The Iliana Songs: available at Kalapa Publications

Background on the Iliana Story


General Resources for Families


Shambhala Families and Children Website (“The Hub”): https://families-hub.shambhala.org/

Shambhala Articles:

Family Meditation http://shambhalatimes.org/2013/03/30/family-meditation-2/

Drala Kids http://shambhalatimes.org/2011/08/31/drala-kids/

Shambhala Songs

Shambhala Canon (Unborn Unborn)

We are the Warriors

Additional Resources:

A Monastic Youth Dathun

Slow Family Living

New Parent Groups, Programs for Early Parent Support – PEPS

Lion’s Roar: This Shambhala publication often includes articles about the lives of children, and family