Mindfulness activities are an important part of learning and development for children.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and it is a great coping strategy for dealing with anxiety, stress and impulses. It can also help children to process their emotions and self-soothe.
Integrating mindfulness into the day to day life of children is very simple. There are lots of different mindfulness activities that you can try today that will bring a moment of peace and calm into the classroom.
Take a look at this list for some inspiration.
1. Mindfulness Coloring
Coloring is a mindfulness activity that is great for children and adults. Ensuring that the coloring is mindful is all about creating the right environment. Provide a range of coloring sheets and let the children choose their own.
You can access free coloring sheets here. You will also need to provide colored pencils, pens or crayons for the children to use.
Make sure that there is plenty to go around to reduce the amount of talking and interaction (negotiating the swapping and sharing of colors etc).
Encourage the children to color individually and quietly. Perhaps put some soothing music on in the background. Let them know that if they make a mistake they can just take a deep breath and carry on.
If their attention begins to shift from the coloring activity, just gently bring it back and encourage them to be quiet.
2. Dragon Breathing
Mindfulness breathing is a simple way to bring your attention to the present moment, to calm your mind, and release tension from your body.
There are lots of different mindfulness breathing techniques, but dragon breathing is a great one to do with children.
While the children are sitting in their seats or in a comfortable position on the floor, get them to close their eyes and imagine that they are a dragon. You can use words like strong, calm, wise, powerful.
Get them to sit up straight with their head held high like a proud dragon. Ask them to breathe in all the way, a nice deep breath. As they breathe out, they should stick their tongue out and push the breath out as if they are breathing fire.
It can be easy for the children to get over-excited when thinking about dragons, so remember to try and encourage them to be calm and quiet. Putting on some gentle music in the background will help.
3. Mindfulness Outdoors
Taking a few moments to sit outdoors and breathe in the fresh air is good for you in lots of ways. It can reduce stress, improve productivity and you can also use it as a mindfulness moment.
On a day when the weather is nice, take the children outside. Ideally, it will be in a green space. Ask them to sit on the ground in a comfortable position.
Next, take them through each of their senses. Ask them to think about what they can feel, what they can see, what they smell, and what they can hear.
This is a quiet activity, so encourage them to concentrate on these things in their mind rather than shouting them out. Give them at least a minute with each of the senses.
Finish off by doing some mindfulness breathing outdoors. Ask them to close their eyes and take a deep breath, then breathe out slowly. Do this several times.
If you want to help the children understand more about how to practice mindfulness outdoors, you could show them this book.
4. Mindful Yoga
Yoga is not just for adults – children can take part in it too! It is a great way to practice mindfulness whilst connecting with your body and releasing any tension you are holding in your muscles or joints.
To create a peaceful atmosphere, put on some soothing or relaxing music. Start with some guided breathing – slow deep breaths – and encourage the children to concentrate on the air going in and out.
You can then begin guiding them through some simple yoga poses. If you are short on space, try chair yoga which can easily be done in the classroom.
Remember to keep bringing the children’s attention back to their breathing and how their body feels. Remind them to relax their muscles and release any tension they are holding on to.
The children might become excitable or distracted – it is important that you stay calm and gently bring their attention back to what they are doing.
5. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Mindfulness Moment
The ‘5,4,3,2,1,’ mindfulness method can be used by anyone at any time to ease anxiety. It is a great way to introduce mindfulness to beginners, and it provides a simple strategy to feel grounded and connected to the present moment.
You can get the children to think about it in their head, or to write it down.
Once you have the attention of the class, ask them to list 5 things that they can see from where they are sitting. It can be anything – their classmates, the teacher, the board, the wall displays, the window, the furniture etc.
Give them some time to think about it – this activity can take as much or as little time as you want it to.
Next, do the same with 4 things they can feel (their clothes, the seat, the table, the pen in their hand etc), 3 things they can hear, and 2 things they can smell. Finally, get them to think about 1 positive thing about themselves.
This activity is a great way to calm the children down after their lunch break and to help them to focus. It is also an excellent coping strategy to teach children who suffer with anxiety, as they can use it any time to feel calmer.
6. Mindfulness Affirmations
Reciting positive affirmations is a great way to practice mindfulness and to encourage a more positive outlook. There are lots of different ways that you can facilitate this and turn it into a fun activity.
You could create a positive affirmations poster (or use a ready made one) and put it up on the wall of the classroom. Take a moment throughout the day to recite the affirmations as a group.
Alternatively, you could turn the affirmations into flip cards or a little book. You could also create a jar of positive affirmations, and have one of the children pick one out each day.
The class can recite it together and use it as the positive affirmation for that day. You can come up with the affirmations for the children, or you can encourage them to come up with their own.
7. Mindfulness Breathing Cards
When it comes to mindfulness activities, it is important to remember that everyone’s brain works a little differently.
Some children will be able to visualize imagery in their head to help them with mindfulness breathing, and others will find this difficult.
Using mindfulness breathing cards gives children a visual aid to use during the breathing exercises. They can trace the outline of the shape with their finger, following the breathing instructions on the card.
You can get lots of different shapes such as animals, patterns, objects etc. Tracing the shape with their finger helps them to focus and concentrate on what they are doing, removing distractions.
8. Mindfulness Music
Music can be used in the background of other mindfulness activities to create a calming atmosphere. It can also be a mindfulness activity in itself.
Creating time for children to sit peacefully and listen to music is a great way to encourage them to practice mindfulness. You can choose classical music, and ask them to listen out for the different instruments and sounds that they hear.
You can also use mindfulness music for children, and ask them to listen carefully to the words and concentrate on what the song is saying. You can find some free mindfulness songs for children here.
9. Attention Checks
Paying attention and sustaining attention for an extended period of time does not come naturally to everyone. For some people it is a skill that they need to learn, and that learning process begins in childhood.
The transition from being at home and then being at school where they are asked to concentrate for long periods of time is quite a challenge for some children.
There are different activities that you can do to help children improve their attention skills, which is important for the practice of mindfulness. You can find a list of different activities here.
One of the most simple activities to do is an attention check. Simply pause the lesson and ask the children whether their mind is focused on what they are doing, or if it has wondered elsewhere.
Gently bring their attention to the class, without punishment or anger.
Mindfulness is an important skill to teach children as it can help them cope with difficult situations and emotions. It is a strategy that they can continue to develop and use for the rest of their lives.
- The Absolute Best Chapter Books For Kindergarten - April 24, 2023
- 11 Best Price Is Right Games For The Classroom To Try Today - April 21, 2023
- How To Correct A Poor Pencil Grip: Activities To Improve Pencil Control - April 21, 2023