Best Mindfulness Activities for Kids
In today’s day and age, finding the balance between academics and social & emotional well-being is essential for young kids. Social-emotional development is a huge part of growth for kids to build healthy relationships with people around them, and that is where mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness involves both an awareness and an acceptance of both the world around us and our internal experiences. Mindful people easily cultivate a curiosity towards their thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations. For young kids, this is an important part of their development, as nurturing their emotions and connections will help them build stronger relationships in the future, in their personal and professional lives.
Here are some mindfulness activities for kids that will help them improve their social skills:
1. Spidey-senses: Young kids are enamoured by superheroes and this is a great way to teach kids how to stay present in the moment. Instruct your kids to turn-on their “spidey senses,” focusing on their senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him in his daily life. This will encourage them to pause and focus their attention on the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses bring in. This is a classic mindfulness exercise that encourages observation and curiosity. These great skills will help your young kids throughout their lives.
2. Yoga: Yoga is a great way to relax the nerves. Certain yoga poses can help promote mindfulness and help you live in the moment. Yoga encourages kids to be aware of their bodies and their emotions. For instance, focusing on their breathing as they move through the poses will help them become more mindful. The best part about yoga is that it does not only help relax the mind, but also gives your kids a chance to stretch and move their bodies, helping their body feel lighter.
3. The Mindful Jar: This activity can teach children how strong emotions can take hold, and how one can find peace when these strong emotions feel overwhelming. For this activity, get a clear Mason jar and fill it almost all the way with water. Next, add a big spoonful of glitter glue or glue and dry glitter to the jar. Put the lid back on the jar and shake it to make the glitter swirl. When a student needs a moment to relax, they can grab the glitter jar to shake it or swirl it. The movement in the jar helps to calm down the student so they can begin to be more mindful of their emotions. This exercise not only helps children learn about how their emotions can cloud their thoughts, but it also facilitates the practice of mindfulness while focusing on the swirling glitter in the jar. Try having the kids focus on one emotion at a time, such as anger, and discuss how the shaken verse settling glitter is like that emotion.
4. Safari: The Safari exercise is a great way to help kids learn mindfulness. Turn an average, everyday walk into an exciting new adventure for your kids. Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari and that their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them, especially the little ones. A mindful walk brings about a state of awareness and grounding in the present.
5. Breathing Colours: This activity is similar to a breathing exercise, however here, ask your kids to think of a relaxing colour. It can be any colour they like, as long as it is one that makes them feel relaxed. Expressing and feeling anger is valid too, so ask your kids about what makes them stressed. Ask them to breathe in the relaxing colour and breathe out the stressful colour. Visualizing colours will help them increase focus and awareness.
6. Feed Your Plants: The act of watering the plants can be a great way to calm down. There is something soothing and therapeutic about it, even for adults. Spending time with nature and spending time together as a family is a wonderful way to deepen your relationship while invoking a sense of peace and calm into your body. Make it routine to water plants with your kids everyday. While watering your plants, take a moment with them and ask them to observe the colours and leaves.
7. Secret Bag: Place several small, textured objects in a small bag or a box. Ask your little one what they think is inside. Help them get their imaginations going. Ask them how they feel about not knowing what’s inside. Acknowledging what they are feeling matters, be it frustration, anger or anxiousness. Spend a little time communicating your emotions. Have your little one reach in to touch an object, one at a time, and ask them to describe what they are touching. Make sure they don't take the objects out of the bag. Force them to use only their sense of touch to explore the object. After the exercise let your child examine the objects, and again encourage them to talk about their emotions. This is a great way to communicate with your kid by giving them a chance to truly express how they feel.
8. Journaling: Self-reflection is a great way to know what’s going on in your kid’s mind and also helping them be more aware of their emotions. When you introduce mindfulness journaling to your kids, you’re giving them an outlet of self-reflection. They’ll get the chance to think about how they would respond in different situations, what makes them afraid or happy, how they’ve been successful, and more. Journaling helps promote mindfulness, which leads to higher self-esteem and confidence.
While introducing your kids to these mindfulness activities, be realistic about what you can expect to achieve. The idea of these mindfulness activities is to gently introduce them to the concept of mindfulness and build a foundation for developing the relevant skills, that will help them build strong relationships in the future and help them nurture their social skills. Emotional intelligence will help your kids go a long way.