Ready to try mindfulness with your kids but don’t know where to start? Try these simple mindfulness activities for a fun way to get kids excited about this life-changing practice!
By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term “mindfulness.” It’s become a big trend in recent years and touts some pretty amazing benefits.
But why is it floating around parenting circles? What’s all the hype about?
In reality, mindfulness isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s been around for quite awhile (think back to Buddha).
But over the past few decades, mindfulness activities have become increasingly popular for kids. Child psychologists are teaching about them, books are being written about them, and schools are even using them.
But parents? Parents are often left scratching their heads as to what it is.
Is it meditation? Is it yoga? Is it breathing exercises? Does it require training?
If that sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. This post is going to give you a simple introduction into this incredibly empowering practice.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a better idea of what it is, how it can help children, and even a few fun mindfulness activities you can start using with your own kids.
Here’s what you’ll find in this post:
- What Exactly Is Mindfulness?
- Why Should Kids Do Mindfulness Activities?
- 7 Mindfulness Activities For Kids
What Exactly Is Mindfulness?
When most people hear the word “mindfulness”, they’re probably thinking of adults doing yoga or meditation while burning incense.
(Don’t worry, I used to think that too.)
But what I’ve found is that mindfulness, in its truest sense, is actually pretty simple – and it’s for everyone. Adults and kids.
Imagine your child being able to give 100% of their energy and attention to a task without overthinking, analyzing, or judging. They’re completely focused on the present, not worrying about the past or the future, which allows them to fully engage with their surroundings.
While they’re aware of their thoughts and feelings, they don’t feel controlled by them. Instead, their attitude is positive, non-judgmental, and curious.
That’s mindfulness in a nutshell – and it can become a part of any activity.
For example, if your child wants to help you cook, you could talk about the different smells, flavors and textures of the food. You could help your child understand how the ingredients work together to make the final product, and even allow them to experiment with more difficult tasks like cracking eggs.
Why Should Kids Do Mindfulness Activities?
We live in a world filled with constant distraction. And as I’m sure you know, it’s not easy to filter out the noise and just “be.”
Well, it’s even harder for kids. Which is why mental health issues in children and teens are on the rise.
But when we teach our kids how to become mindfully aware, we’re giving them a skill set that will help them find their way back to feeling calm, focused, and in control – no matter what life throws their way.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Mindfulness is more than relaxing. It’s an empowering habit that will benefit them throughout their lives. Kids who learn how to slow down and become fully aware of their surroundings are able to:
- Manage stress and anxiety
- Better regulate their emotions
- Develop patience
- Improve focus and concentration
- Perform better in and out of school
- Develop compassion and an optimistic mindset
- Work through problems and overcome their fear of failure
And those are just a few of the benefits! Thanks to the discoveries of neuroscience, we’re understanding more and more how mindfulness can lead to a balanced and happy life!
The best part?
It’s incredibly easy to get started, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or training.
Ready to get started?
7 Mindfulness Activities For Kids
Here are 7 simple and fun mindfulness activities to try with your kids. (No prior experience required!)
Mindfulness Activity 1: Calming Glitter Jar
This is an activity that works for kids of all ages and is an excellent way to help them when they are feeling stressed, anxious, angry, worried, overwhelmed, or out of control in any way. (It’s also a great way to calm the atmosphere when kids get a little too wild and silly!)
Calming Glitter Jar (Learn how to make your own glitter jar below.)
Tell your child that this jar is like their mind and the glitter swirling around represents their thoughts. As the glitter slowly settles on the bottom of the jar, the thoughts in their mind can become calm as well.
The next time your child feels anxious or overwhelmed, they can shake the jar and remain quiet and still as they watch the glitter settle down to the bottom.
HOW TO MAKE A CALMING GLITTER JAR
- Find a clear jar or bottle and allow your child to decorate the lid.
- Fill ¾ of the way full with water.
- Add clear glue and a few drops of food coloring.
- Using a funnel, add glitter.
- Seal the lid shut with hot glue.
There is no exact amount of glue, glitter or food coloring. Experiment until you find a consistency you like.
Now your child can shake the jar and have fun watching the glitter settle!
ALTERNATE IDEA: Just use water and small colored rubber bands for a mesmerizing twist.
Mindfulness Activity 2: Listen To The Bell
This mindfulness activity will help kids feel grounded as they practice focusing on the present. If you’re not able to do this exercise in a quiet place, no worries. Headphones work great too.
A bell, chime, or app that makes a bell sound
Have your child sit in a comfortable position and close their eyes. Ring the bell and instruct your child to keep their eyes closed and focus on the sound as it fades away. They can open their eyes when they think the sound has completely disappeared.
When the sound is gone, try asking your child a few questions to describe their experience such as:
- Was it hard to stay focused on the sound?
- How did your mind feel before I rang the bell?
- How does your mind feel now?
- How does your body feel now?
Mindfulness Activity 3: Feel The Beat
This is an activity that will help your child focus on the sensations of their body. It is especially helpful for taking a break during a stressful activity such as working on a project or practicing a new skill.
The next time your child is feeling stressed or anxious, have them stop what they are doing and stand up. Set a timer for one minute and instruct your child to jump up and down or do jumping jacks until the timer goes off.
At the end of the minute, have your child stand still and place their hand over their heart. Encourage them to pay attention to their breathing and how their heartbeat feels, especially as it starts to slow down.
Help your child understand that whenever they are feeling stressed, they can redirect their focus to their body to feel grounded again. This exercise helps them pay attention to the body’s sensations and gives them a burst of energy to finish their work.
Mindfulness Activity 4: How Is The Weather?
This mindfulness activity helps kids understand their emotions by relating them to the weather. As they learn to name and describe what they are feeling, they can feel more in control when they react.
They can gain the power to accept their emotions for what they are, and understand that their emotions come and go, just like the weather.
Teach your child that their emotions are like the weather. Have them help you assign different weather patterns to different emotions such as:
- Sunny = Happy
- Rainy = Sad
- Cloudy = Lonely
- Stormy = Mad
- Windy = Stressed
To help your child internalize each weather/emotion pair, discuss what happens with their body when they feel each of these emotions. For example, when they are feeling stormy, their muscles might get tight, their heart might beat faster, or they might want to scream.
Then, the next time they feel a big emotion, they can use the weather patterns to describe and understand how they are feeling.
Mindfulness Activity 5: 5 Senses Gratitude Challenge
Gratitude is a powerful way to practice mindfulness, and a good habit to develop. The more kids can learn to bring their attention to what they are grateful for, the more they’ll be able to notice all they have to be grateful for!
Not only will this help them when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about things that are out of their control, but science is also continually uncovering more ways it can benefit their physical, mental, and emotional health.
This simple mindfulness activity will help kids learn to discover things they are grateful for and use their 5 senses to work on developing a more optimistic mindset.
Have your child sit in a comfortable position and close their eyes. Instruct your child to keep their eyes closed as you guide them through each of their 5 senses. Give them a few moments to think about each answer in their mind.
Use the following statements:
- Think of something you like to listen to.
- Think of something you like to look at.
- Think of something you like to smell.
- Think of something you like to taste.
- Think of something you like to touch.
You can take this activity further by having your child draw pictures about each thing they are thankful for.
Mindfulness Activity 6: Hot Cocoa Breathing
This is a yummy way to help kids learn to be the boss of their own brains using only their imaginations!
When kids are feeling anxious, nervous, angry, or wound tight, breathing reminds them that they are in control of their body. It helps them feel calm and trains their brains to slow their breathing and heartbeat so they can feel in control again.
Instruct your child to close their eyes and imagine holding a big mug of hot cocoa (or their favorite warm drink). To guide your child through this activity, use the following statements:
- Imagine the warmth of your drink as you cradle the mug in your hands.
- Slowly bring the mug close to your face, and use your nose to breathe in the delicious smell of the chocolate, marshmallows, and whipped cream.
- Now, gently blow the steam away from your hot cocoa with your lips. Be careful not to blow off the yummy whipped cream!
- Breathe in the chocolatey aroma again.
- And slowly breathe out as you cool down your hot cocoa.
Help your child notice how relaxed they feel after breathing this way. Whenever they are feeling anxious, angry, or out of control, they can use this breathing exercise to calm their body down and feel relaxed.
Mindfulness Activity 7: Outdoor Sensory Scavenger Hunt
Going outside for a walk is a simple and creative mindfulness activity that will help kids replace any stress or tension with a dose of positive energy. It also comes in handy when kids need a mental break or a chance to decompress after a long day at school.
This sensory scavenger hunt makes it fun for kids to put their senses to work as they learn to pay close attention to the things they encounter outside.
This Free Outdoor Sensory Scavenger Hunt Printable
Turn your next walk into an exciting scavenger hunt! Help your child find and check off each item on the list, paying attention to how each item feels, smells, looks or sounds.
Want even more ways to explore the outdoors with scavenger hunts? Here are a few kid-favorites:
Simple activities like these make it easy and fun to teach your kids how to practice mindfulness. Then they can start reaping the benefits right away.
And not only will you be helping them to minimize stress, improve concentration, and develop an optimistic mindset, you will be equipping them with practical coping strategies they can use anytime life gets tough!
I hope you enjoy doing these mindfulness activities with your kids!
OTHER HELPFUL POSTS:
- 10 Clever Ways To Do Affirmations With Kids
- 180+ Positive Affirmations For Kids To Boost Motivation And Confidence
- 10 Simple Ways To Teach Kids To Be Kind
- Dream Big: How To Help Kids Set Goals (In 4 Easy Steps)
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