Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Mindfulness helps children with self-awareness and concentration. Research also suggests mindfulness can reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, increase self-esteem, and help with emotional regulation. It is always easier to serve others when you take care of yourself, first.
The following are 9 mindfulness activities that tune our kids into their bodies and minds and help create an overall sense of calm.
- Mindful Yoga: Yoga not only helps with coordination, balance, and strength, it also strengthens and calms our minds. Here are some excellent resources on yoga for kids:
- Cosmic Kids: This website makes an array of videos on mindfulness and yoga that make establishing a practice fun for kids. I do these all the time with my boys. They even have a Star Wars themed yoga video.
- Kids Yoga Stories: This website has a ton of free yoga resources for toddlers and children of all ages. I especially love her section of printable yoga poses and stories. Amazing quick and easy yoga ideas for kids.
- Meditation Apps:
- Headspace: I use headspace for myself, and I love it! But, as a bonus, they also have several short mindfulness guided meditation packs for kids. It is a paid app, but if you are going to use it for yourself as well as your kids, in my opinion, it is well worth the price.
- Breathe, Think, Do by Sesame Street: This app is free and is intended for very young children ages 2-5 to help with problem-solving, self-control, and planning.
- Calm: You can try this one for free and has several lengths of sessions for beginners up to advanced.
- Settle your glitter: This app helps children name their emotions and learn to breathe while watching calming visuals.
- Super Stretch Yoga: Free app that teaches young children yoga poses.
- Mindful Listening:
- Listening to a bell (or any sound) until the sound disappears. Listening and concentrating on the sound has a calming effect.
- When you are out for a walk, have children listen to different sounds in the environment. Stop and really think about them.
- High Five or Take Five Breathing: See how to do that here.
- Buddy Breathing: Have your child lie on his/her back and put a stuffed animal or another toy on his/her tummy. Watch the stuffed animal go up and down as big breaths come in and out.
- Bumblebee breathing: Take a deep breath, then hum as the breath is let out.
- Mindful Walking:
- Go for a mindful walk. As you go for a walk in your neighborhood, stop to listen, NOTICE, smell, and think.
- Cosmic Kids has a great Mindful Walking video to give you an idea of how this works.
- Establish a Gratitude Practice:
- Spiderman Meditation:
- For the super-hero lover in your life, a meditation focusing on your spidey-senses!
- Practice Mindful Eating:
- This script from Atrius Health leads you on a guided mindful eating practice. It teaches kids to pay attention to all of their sense when eating, with the added benefit of knowing why we are eating (hunger, emotional eating, appetite).
- Body scans:
- I do this with my 5-year-old before bed. We do it as a “say goodnight” routine. We start at his feet and say goodnight to each part of his body as we slowly scan from his feet to his head. We end with his eyes, which he closes.
- Blissful Kids has a guided body scan video for kids and a description of how to do it on your own.
Additional resources and activities can be found at the following websites:
- Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens
- Left Brain Buddha
- NYT Article and Ideas
- Annaka Harris: Mindfulness for Children : I love this one, because it has a section on “Friendly Wishes,” which focuses specifically on developing compassion, in addition to concentration and awareness.