Mindfulness activities for kids
21 April, 2023
Everyone is abuzz about mindfulness right now. But what does it actually mean? And is it worthwhile? We’ve got good news – chances are you’re probably already doing mindfulness activities with your children, you’re just not – ahem – mindful of it!
So what is mindfulness? It’s simply being aware of ourselves in the present moment – how we feel, how our body feels, what we’re thinking – and noticing where we are. Experts say that slowing down and focusing on the moment is a really important skill for children to develop.
Why mindfulness for kids is important
Today’s world can be highly stimulating and super-busy. And sometimes that can be too much for little ones (and grown-ups too!). Overwhelmed by too many noises and too many things to do can make the best of us lose our cool. Mindfulness activities help children to:
- Slow down and concentrate on the moment, building skills to better equip them to take ownership of their emotional regulation and executive functioning, or how they respond to what’s happening around them (ie not chucking a tantrum!);
- Sleep better by promoting relaxation and a sense of calm;
- Increase focus by teaching kids how to concentrate on one aspect of their world at a time, and;
- Expand their self-awareness by helping to establish a stronger sense of self.
Mindfulness activities for kids
When we’re nervous, we might feel “butterflies in the tummy”, if we’re too hot, we might feel light-headed and, if someone hurts our feelings, we might cry. These physical responses are all messages our body is sending to us. Mindful posing helps children to strengthen the connection between their body and their mind by encouraging them to concentrate on their bodies and learn to listen to how their bodies feel. Simple poses children can try include the Star Pose, Frog Pose and Butterfly Pose. Mindful posing, or kids yoga, is also a great form of meditation for kids.
Mindful colouring is simply encouraging children to focus on the colours they’re choosing and where they apply them. Focusing their minds on one single thing – their colouring – helps children to relax and improve their focus and has also been shown to help reduce anxiety.
This is a wonderfully uplifting activity that encourages children (and adults) to focus on the positives. Pick one and dedicate a page to it, using whatever you like – draw or paint a picture, glue on photos or press some flowers from the garden. The benefit is in dwelling on the positives in life.
Take a walk
A simple walk has meditative benefits – and it’s a lovely way to spend time together. Take a stroll down the street, paying particular attention to your surroundings. With a bit of mindfulness, you may spot something amazing in the great outdoors. Playing “I spy” can help children focus their attention, although you’ll need to factor in creative spelling with little ones!
Share a snack
Teaching healthy eating habits sets kids up for a healthy life and mindful eating is a great start. Encourage children to take notice of what they’re eating by asking them to describe their food using all five of their senses.
Tips to create a calm environment
It’s certainly easier to be mindful if distractions are limited. Consider setting aside a quiet, peaceful space for your child to spend time being mindful each day. You may like to play calming music. And definitely hide the screens!