First of all, here is a definition of mindfulness for kids. Mindfulness has become a pretty big topic lately. Even those who do not involve in the world of positive psychology at least have heard about mindfulness. Mindfulness can be known as a basic human ability to be completely present, aware of where they are and what they’re doing. Also, without being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s happening around them” (Mindful Staff, 2014). We know that mindfulness is great for adults and can make them relaxed, beat their stress, and improve their quality of life. Does this hold for children as well? David Gelles, a mindfulness expert, explains the above definition of mindfulness can be in simpler, easier-to-understand words for children. He says mindfulness is “the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment.” Adults can include mindfulness activities for kids by using different ways.
How Can Adults Teach Mindfulness to Kids? – Before discussing mindfulness activities for kids…
As is the case for most habits, or skills, the best way to teach mindfulness to children is to start early. A mindful child grows to be a conscious teenager, mindful adolescent, and mindful adult. Also, mindfulness activities effectiveness for kids with anxiety, depression, and stress is very positive and essential.
In addition to starting at an early age, there is another important thing. Remember that the best way to teach mindfulness to your kid is by practicing it yourself and modeling it for them. Try using creative mindfulness exercises and mindfulness games for kids for greater benefaction.
What are 5 ways that you can practice mindfulness?
- Stop whatever you are doing and take a breath.
- Put down your phone.
- Do one thing at a time.
- Find mindful moments in everyday tasks.
- Notice the moves you already make.
What are some mindfulness activities?
The following list will show some simple and works-for-all mindfulness activities.
- Pay attention
- Live in the moment
- Accept yourself
- Focus on your breathing
- Sitting/walking meditation (practicing right poses and breathing)
Benefits of practicing kids’ mindfulness activities
The following benefits will show you the importance of mindfulness activities for children. Many of these benefits of mindfulness for children are similar to the benefits for adults.
- Improving physical health.
- Improving mental health
- Enhancing essential emotional and social skills
- Increasing intellectual skills
- Improving cognitive outcomes
- Improving social-emotional skills
- Greater well-being and lower depression
What are the most applicable mindfulness exercises for kids?
Are you interested in giving some of those benefits to your kid?
Then you will probably need some techniques and tips to get them started on the correct path. Check out to know how you can incorporate mindfulness into your kid’s daily routine.
We have included 5 minute mindfulness activities for both school and preschool kids in this article.
Mindfulness Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Breathing exercises ideally help when introducing mindfulness practice to very young children. Try giving one of the following breathing exercises with your preschooler or toddler.
Breathe with a Pinwheel
First, take two pinwheels—one for yourself and the other for your kid. Next, follow the following steps:
- Sit with your bodies relaxed and your backs straight.
- Blow on the pinwheels together using deep long, breaths. Notice how you feel; calm and relaxed or having trouble sitting still?
- Next, blow the pinwheels with quick, short breaths. Notice how it feels again; does it feels the same as you did when using deep, long breaths?
- Blow on your pinwheels as you usually would. Notice how you feel this time too.
- Think about the different breaths you took, and discuss how those different breaths made you feel.
A square breath means a breath that is even on all sides. It can be a helpful mindfulness exercise for both you and your children.
Here’s what to do:
- Breathe into the count of four.
- Hold the breath for four seconds.
- Breathe out to the count of four.
- Before taking the next breath, just wait for 4 seconds.
To help your child keep the pattern, show them how to draw a square in the air with a finger. Tell them to take four seconds to draw each side.
Darth Vader Breath
This winsome breathing exercise will keep your child interested and engaged.
Follow these simple steps and give a try:
- Breathe in deeply through the nose.
- Keep your mouth shut and exhale from the back of the throat, making a “Darth Vader”-style sound as you do.
- Show your children how to do it, then practice it with them.
This simple and fun exercise will help your child concentrate on their breath and stay fully anchored in the present.
How do you teach mindfulness in the classroom?
You can teach mindfulness activities for students using the following basic exercises easily.
Shark Fin Breathing Exercise
How to Apply?
- Students can sit down and close their eyes.
- Make them place their thumb on the forehead with other fingers pointing to the sky like a shark fin.
- Ask them to make a deep breath and move their hands slowly down from their forehead to the chest.
- Breathe out and in a few more times.
- After opening eyes, encourage them to notice how they feel.
Mindful Breathing Colors Exercise – This is one of the creative mindfulness techniques for the classroom.
How to Apply?
- Ask children to assign colors to their feelings. First, start with a cheerful, relaxing color.
- Ask them to imagine a color that represents sadness, stress, or anger.
- When they breathe in, ask them to imagine inhaling the relaxing color and visualize it filling their lungs.
- When breathing out, ask them to imagine exhaling the sadness, stress, or anger color out of their body.
Mindful Breathing Exercise
How to Apply?
- Students can choose either to stand or to sit for the activity.
- Ask them to put both their hands on the belly.
- They can close their eyes, look down at their hands or stare at the ceiling.
- Guide them to take three deep breaths to see if they can feel their hands moving with the air flowing through bodies.
- You may count for each breath. (Count “one” when inhaling, “two” while exhaling).
- Complete counting after 5 minutes.
Encourage students to think about how the breathing feels.
Mindful Body Scan Exercise
How to Apply?
- Make students lie on the floor, with their arms placed slightly apart from their bodies and eyes closed.
- Encourage them to pay attention to their feet for 5-10 seconds.
- Tell them to change the focus on their toes, ankles, then calves, and knees. Keep focusing on each body part until they reach the head.
- Ask them how each body part feels
- If they feel any stress, ask them to imagine breathing away the stress of that body part with exhales.
Mindful Eating Exercise
How to Apply?
- First, choose food. (candy/chocolate/small fruit)
- Have your students put food in their mouths. The point is that they cannot chew or swallow it.
- Have students relish the flavor. Can they feel food’s aroma released in the mouth while breathing?
- For three minutes, they should focus on the food melting in their mouths slowly.
- After 5 minutes, students can chew and swallow.
Mindfulness is all about being present. So if their focus drifts away, ask them to bring it back to the candy.
Mindfulness Games for Kids -mindfulness activities for kids
The following games will provide you with an excellent opportunity to introduce mindfulness to your children and help them practice it.
Balancing on one foot – One of the most effective mindfulness activities for kids
This exercise is for children over 3, and all you need for the game is your body!
Here’s what to do:
- Tell the child to focus his gaze slightly below the eye level.
- Tell him to stand on one leg, keeping her gaze fixed on the previous focal point.
- Just challenge him to see how long he can stand on a single leg like this.
- Tell him to try the other leg as well.
- Challenge him to stay focused while you engage him in conversation. Ask him to do simple things like singing a song, or tell him to close his eyes.
This is a straightforward game that can help your child improve his body awareness and develop his focus.
Have you ever played Jenga before? If so, you know that it brings a lot of fun, and it also requires concentrated awareness and attention. Taking that fact as an advantage, use Jenga to build mindfulness of your child.
To make the game into an exercise, you can play it in two ways:
- First, play the Jenga game while distracting your child. Allow his mind to wander and put him in activities/conversation that takes away his focus out of the game.
- Next, help him cultivate a clear and calm mind through mindful breathing, and after a while, play again.
After playing the distracted version, engage your child in a discussion about the game. Does he aware of what made him lose focus? Did certain emotions or thoughts distract him and wreck his concentration?
After playing the calm and clear-minded version, make sure to go ahead with a discussion again.
Did he have a relatively easier time paying attention this time?
Could mindful breathing contribute to better concentration?
This game can help your child see the benefits of being mindful and encourage him to mind his own mindfulness.
Pennies Game- One of the key mindfulness activities for kids
This game is suitable for children over 3year old and up, and you can play with a group or one-on-one. There is no need of a lof of supplies!
Just grab a basket and a penny for each player.
Here is how to play:
- Give every child a penny and give them one minute to study it, focusing on the details.
- Put all the pennies in the basket.
- Next, allow each player to pick their penny out of the basket.
- Once a player picks their penny from the basket, tell them to explain how they knew it was theirs.
You can play this penny game with other objects too. The important thing is that the children who play must be able to focus on some objects.
The balancing relay game is excellent for 5year old children and older. If you have participated in an egg and spoon race before, you would recognize this game.
You will need some water and a spoon, or a spoon and a potato for each team.
Split the crowd into teams Give a spoon full of water to every group. Challenge them to carry the spoon to the next person in their group without spilling any water.
This game will encourage children to enhance their focus, develop greater awareness, and stay grounded in the present moment
This old, classic game helps children practice mindful, mindful listening, seeing, and greater awareness. This is good for four-year-old or older children, and all you need is some space to move around.
Here is how to play Simon Says:
- Designate a “Simon” to lead everyone (probably an adult).
- Simon stands in front of the others and orders them to do physical movements (e.g., balance on one foot, touch your nose).
- The players must do what Simon orders them only if he only uses “Simon says” at the beginning.
- If any player follows one of Simon’s instructions without the “Simon says” prefix, he should leave the game.
- The last player stands as the winner.
After finishing the game, talk to your child about how easy or hard it was to follow the instructions. Discuss the importance of being present and paying attention.
Mindfulness Worksheets for Kids
Children usually appreciate opportunities to practice fun exercises and play games more than answering written questions and filling out worksheets. So, some helpful worksheets will both keep them engaged and motivate them to be more mindful.
These are good for older children, but younger children with good focus might benefit from them.
Mindful or Unmindful
This worksheet is easy to use and offers children some ideas for ways to act more mindfully.
The only instruction is to read the actions and determine which are mindful and which are not. The action list includes:
- Keeping your voice silent when other people are reading.
- Helping someone that is scared or hurt.
- Crossing the road without looking.
- Letting someone finish speaking before answering.
The Present Moment
This worksheet starts with a definition of what it means to be mindful or present. “The word ‘present’ stands for a gift, and it also describes what is happening right now, at the moment.”
Next, there are instructions about how to complete the rest of the worksheet. Such like, “Sit quietly and pay attention to what is going on right now using your five senses. Reflect on what you experience below.”
Children have to fill five sections based on the five senses:
- Right now, I see…
- Right now, I hear…
- Right now, I am touching…
- Right now, I smell…
- Right now, I feel…
This is a perfect way for children to become more present, which gives vital training to encourage mindfulness.
This worksheet conducts children through being more aware of the surrounding sounds and listening “like an owl.”
Here are the instructions. Listen like an owl to be more aware of the sounds around you. An owl easily hears sounds that are far away and close up and can be silent when needed. Go on a ‘sound hunt’ like an owl. What do you hear far away? What do you hear close up? Write and draw the observations.”
This worksheet is simple, with lots of space for entering the sounds your child hears and drawing them.
This simple worksheet will guide your child through behaving mindfully.
Children can have a hard time pairing movements with mindfulness, especially when they first learn about mindfulness. This worksheet helps the child practice moving mindfully by making them to act like a deer.
Here are the instructions:
“Sometimes when we need to be mindful, we are still. But we can also be mindful when moving. Practice walking like a deer. Move deliberately and slowly, with purpose, paying attention to where you are going. Practice pauses in stillness, as though you camouflage.”
Mindfulness is essential for both children and adults, but growing a mindful child is more effective than making an adult mindful. The best way to teach mindfulness to a kid is practicing it yourself and modeling it for them. Creative mindfulness activities can make your child a brighter adult and reduce his/her anxiety, depression or other negative mental statuses.