10 Easy Mindfulness Activities for Children and Their Families

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In today’s world, we all, yes even children are overly scheduled, rushed, and always multitasking. As soon as we wake up, we’re rushing to get dressed, eat, and we’re out the door to learn and work, and then it’s dinnertime and activities before shuteye. The next day, it’s more of the same. There’s plenty of room for improvement in our relaxing and stress-reduction arenas. That’s why we’re sharing these 10 Easy Mindfulness Activities for Children and Their Families to do together. After all, a relaxed family is a happy family! Try one or all ten activities and find an activity that brings peace to you and your child.

What is Mindfulness?

Having mindfulness or being mindful is having awareness of the present moment. While calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, we become conscious of just being and not the rush, chaos, and stress of daily life. Being mindful has shown to be a key component in stress reduction and overall happiness. Like brushing our teeth or getting good rest, this state of being is an activity we should all start including in our day-to-day lives.

Why It’s Good to Incorporate Mindfulness Activities for Children

Just because children seem to have it easier with fewer worries and more play compared to their adult counterparts, doesn’t mean they have less stress. Especially after living through a pandemic, anxiety in kids has increased. They’re worried about spreading germs and getting sick, class may not be fully back to normal, and schedules they could once rely on may have a new normal they’re still getting used to.

While kids are resilient, adding fun mindfulness activities for children can help them recognize their negative thoughts and shift their attention to what’s going on at that exact moment. The continued practice of mindfulness activities for students can increase focus and attention, self-control, class participation, and compassion for others. Over time, parents have seen improved academic performance, ability to resolve conflict, and overall well-being, while also noticing decreased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

While it’s great to incorporate mindfulness activities for children, they also need to be easy and fun mindfulness activities that everyone can enjoy.

Heartbeat & Breathing Exercise

We all have a heartbeat that’s always with us. If there’s ever a time when mindfulness is needed, this exercise is always at the ready. Have your child jump up and down, skip, or do jumping jacks for one minute. At the end of that minute, have them place their hand on their heart and take notice of how their heartbeat and breathing feel. Is it fast? Hard? Loud? Not only does this get them to focus on the moment, but also puts them more in tune with their body and discussing it.

READ MORE: Fighting Mom Burnout: The Mindful Parenting Guide For Finding Better Balance

Meditation with Positive Affirmations

It’s easy and simple, especially if the child can read. Have the child slowly repeat the following affirmations (or working together, have them create their own!) and focus on each statement before moving on to the next. The more the child hears them out loud, the more they become the child’s reality.

  • I am an amazing person.
  • I forgive myself for any mistakes I’ve made.
  • My challenges help me grow.
  • I can control my own happiness.
  • I am strong enough to get through anything.
  • I deserve to be loved and happy.
  • My confidence grows when I step outside my comfort zone.
  • Every day is a fresh, new start.
  • My positive thoughts create positive feelings.
  • I am in control of my own thoughts.

Eating with Senses

Find a small piece of food, such as a jelly bean or a grape for each person. Anything small will do.

Begin by having everyone, or just your child, explore this little piece of food, using all of the senses. First, look at the food. Notice its texture. Notice its color. Now, have the close their eyes and explore the food with the sense of touch. What does this food feel like? Is it soft or hard? Crunchy or gooey? Dry or sticky?

Next, explore the food with the sense of smell. Does it have a smell? What does it remind you of?

This is eating mindfully. Eating with one sense at a time. Once the bite of food has been explored using sight, touch, and smell, begin eating. When bitten, does it make a noise? Chew very slowly, noticing the actual sensory experience of chewing and tasting. Notice the texture of the food; the way it feels in the mouth. Notice if the intensity of its flavor changes, moment to moment. Take one more bite and notice all the sensations before slowly swallowing and finishing the meditation. Though it’s not important to eat this slowly all the time, this fun exercise is a way to get kids to slow down and explore their senses too.

READ MORE: 3 Experts Share Alternative Relaxation Techniques to Focus the Mind, Body & Spirit

Spidey-Senses

Like eating with all the senses, using “Spidey-Senses” as one of many fun mindfulness activities for children is a great way to get them in tune with their bodies. By using Spiderman and his well-known superhero strength as the main cool factor, have children notice more of their environment just like him. It can even help a child focus or calm down when necessary. Have them test out their powers by focusing on their five senses: listen, look, touch, smell, and taste.

10 Easy Mindfulness Activities For Children And Their Families

Yoga Poses for Kids

Most people can benefit from yoga exercises. And yes, that includes kids. Sure, children are usually thought to be wild and unlikely to sit still, but if practiced often, kids will learn yoga and reap the benefits like mindfulness and a sense of calm. Yoga poses for kids are a lot like yoga for adults, but generally…more fun. When beginning, the goal is to introduce them to moving their body creativity rather than perfecting exact positions. Once they’re enjoying specific poses, you can then begin to add in breathing and meditation exercises along the way.

There are plenty of videos and exercises out there for kids, but to start why not try this one, appropriately named the “Child’s Pose”. On the soft floor or yoga mat, sit back on the heels and slowly bring the forehead down in front of the knees. Rest the arms alongside the body. This peaceful pose gently stretches the hips and thighs and helps calm your kid’s mind.

Or, like the image above, try the “Tree Pose”. While standing on one leg, bend the other knee and place the opposite foot on the inner thigh (or on the inside of the calf). Raise arms above the head and sway like a tree. This pose improves balance and core strength. If unsteady, allow the child to stand against a wall for support.

READ MORE: The Many Benefits of Kids Yoga

Listening Game

Mindfulness activities for children that include listening get children to focus on the sounds around them. And this listening game is much better played with few people. The game is just that you tell a story – and the serious restriction is that you can only say one word at a time. While younger children try to make sentences that have meaning – a subject, verb, tie it all together, older children looking for mindfulness activities for teens may make a more complex story, like changing the ending to a book or a movie.

Observation Nature Walk

One of our favorite and fun mindfulness activities is taking the practice outside. Using as many senses as possible, even taste if you can find some edible (not poisonous) berries, and explore the world around. Smell the flowers and the freshly cut grass, touch cool water from a stream or the bark of an old tree. Look for creepy crawlies and animals hiding. This is an activity anyone of any age can do together. Want to focus on a task? Try a Rainbow Walk. As you walk, find something for each color of the rainbow in order – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

Mindful Coloring

Kids do a lot of coloring, but is it really one of the mindfulness activities for children? Mindful coloring focuses on how we choose and apply color in a design to bring our awareness to the present moment. This process, similar to meditation, helps us let go of thoughts about tomorrow or yesterday, or what we are going to do when we finish. While coloring is great for fine motor skills, it also trains the brain to focus. Mindfulness activities for children like this one require limited preparation and are well-suited to travel too.

READ MORE: Becoming a Mindful Parent: 5 Essential Post-Pandemic Practices To Adopt

Bodyscan

Getting kids to be mindful can be as easy as focusing on how each part of their body feels at that moment. Starting at the top of a child’s head, ask them how their hair feels. “Does it feel heavy? Cold? How about your forehead?”. But by asking them questions you’re giving them permission to understand and talk about something they may have never thought about before. It may bring laughs at first, but curiosity usually wins and children are excited to move to the next part. Work your way down your face, onto the stomach and arms, legs, all the way down to the toes. When doing mindfulness activities for children, this is a fun one to incorporate.

Journaling

Journaling is a wonderful, and one of the most simple, mindfulness activities for children. It helps sharpen the focus by turning attention inward, it has been shown to increase positive thoughts and can be performed anywhere. Of course, like coloring, it also helps with a child’s fine motor as well as language arts skills. Just grab a sheet of paper and a pencil or pen and get started!

One way to get the juices flowing is with journal prompts. This is a question to help spark the mind. For instance, one journal prompt for a child may be “I think of the home that I live in, and think on how it provides my family and me with a safe, secure, stable place for us to live. I feel grateful for…” and the child can finish the rest. Three other prompts for kids could be:

  1. If you could have any superpower, which one would you choose? What would you do with it?
  2. Write about your favorite holiday. Why is it your favorite?
  3. If you could spend one day doing anything you want, what would you do?

Whether looking for a way to reduce stress and anxiety in a child, looking for a way to bond, or simply wanting to self-improve as a family, this list of mindfulness activities for children is a great way to do all of the above. Which ones are you going to try? Do you have a favorite? Let us know.

WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out Daily Mom’s article on How to Use Meditation for a Healthy Pregnancy in 2022.

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10 Easy Mindfulness Activities For Children And Their Families

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