Right now is a perfect time to practice mindfulness with your children and on your own. When we make mindfulness fun, kids don’t even realize they’re honing skills that will help them with their attention, emotion regulation and overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
And, who doesn’t want more joy, focus, self-awareness and calm for their kids?
Six Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Here are some simple and fun activities that I’ve gathered from around the web for you to try with your kids today!
You can use any coloring page for this activity. Gather assorted coloring books with different themes and levels. Let kids choose their own coloring page. Give access to the coloring materials that best suit your needs. Colored pencils, crayons, and gel pens are some of my favorites. Encourage kids to quietly color on their own. Tell them that if they’ve made a mistake, just to breathe and move on. Mindfulness is about allowing experiences without making judgments about them. (1)
Dance or Listen to Music
Play nature sounds, classical, acoustic music, or any other music of your choice. You can play the music while kids are doing something independently, allow kids to just sit down and relax while mindfully listening to music, or encourage them to move their bodies gently and mindfully to the music. If your kids are older, ask them how the music makes them feel or if they hear an instrument they haven’t noticed before.
For the little ones, you can also sing the classic children’s song, “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” while having your child point to each part, speeding up with each round to make it a little more fun and challenging. Just have fun with it!
Make Gratitude Flowers
This is a great, simple activity for springtime! You can design a beautiful garden full of happy flowers and help the kids nurture gratitude and joy as you build it.
Spend some time talking about things you’re grateful for as you create your flowers. With younger kids, you may want to start by explaining gratitude and giving them some examples.
Best for: Ages 3+, groups or one-on-one
What you need: Colored paper to cut out flower parts, Glue, Scissors, Grateful hearts
Find fun colored paper for your gratitude flowers.
1. Start by cutting out a circle for the center of the flower and write your name (or your child’s name on it). Make it big enough so that you have ample space to write.
2. Next cut out big petals for the flower. Be creative and experiment with colors. It helps to have a template for the centers and petals, especially if your child wants to do the cutting.
3. Write down or draw the things you are grateful for on the petals. If your child is old enough, he can write his own; if not, then you can help him with that. You can draw pictures, too.
4. Glue the petals to the flower center and you have your first gratitude flower!
If you do this with a group of children, you can do a whole garden of flowers! You can even place the flowers on a wall for an awesome “indoor garden” to which you can return to get a gratitude boost. (2)
Create a glitter jar
This is a fun and easy activity to do with kids.
Glitter jars are a useful mindfulness tool. Mindfulness gives kids space and time to calm down and pay attention to what is going on in their body and environment. Regularly practicing mindfulness reduces stress and increases wellness and self-control.
Watching the glitter swirl to the bottom of the jar gives kids time to calm down and regain control.
TO MAKE THIS CALM DOWN JAR YOU WILL NEED
- Glass or plastic jars with lids
- 1/2 cup glitter glue or clear glue
- Distilled water
- Hot glue gun
- 1–2 teaspoons glitter (optional)
DIRECTIONS FOR GLITTER JAR
1. After gathering supplies, pour 1/2 cup of distilled water into the jar. We used 16-ounce glass mason jars, but plastic water bottles would work as well (and should be used for kids who are prone to throwing objects when they are angry).
Why distilled water? Unlike tap water, distilled water contains no contaminants or minerals and will help keep your glitter jars mold-free.
2. Invite kids to pour 1/2 cup of glitter glue or clear glue into the jar. If you use our exact ingredients and recipe, it will take about 2 minutes for the glitter to settle in the jar.
3. If you are choosing to do so, add 1–2 teaspoons of extra glitter to the jar.
4. Fill up the remainder of the jar with distilled water.
5. Use a hot glue gun to squeeze a ring of glue around the lid of the jar. Press the lid onto the jar and secure it with the metal ring.
6. Shake the jar well to distribute the glitter. (It took many shakes and resting overnight to convince the glue to disperse completely.)
Before you give a glitter jar to a child, you must teach them how to use it. Invite your child to sit down comfortably. Encourage them to shift their gaze to the swirling glitter, breathing deeply in and out as they watch it sink to the bottom of the jar. (3)
Next, invite them to notice the calm feeling moving through their body as they breathe. As the glitter settles and the water clears, so will their thoughts, feelings, and body.
Feather Ninja Game
Photo credit: pixabay/amritsangeet0
This fun idea comes from Blissful Kids. I’ve tried other variations, where you just try to “float” the feather to each other by blowing as hard or as lightly as needed to get it to the other person. However, I like this version a lot because it not only hones focusing skills but also mindfulness of the body.
Best for: Ages 4+, groups or one-on-one
What you need: Some space and feathers ( the kind you get from a craft shop, the small colorful ones )
To start you pair up and get a feather per pair. Then you decide who’s the ninja first.
The other player takes the feather and drops it from as high up as they can. The ninja tries to catch the feather on his or her palm. You are not allowed to grab the feather, you simply try to catch it by allowing the feather to land on you. That’s the trick, you need some finesse to do that. So, that’s round one. You can repeat round one as many times as you want, to allow the kids to succeed before you continue. After both players have completed round one it’s time to level up.
The ninja tries to catch the feather on the top of her foot. You need some space to be able to do this one.
This time the ninja is supposed to catch the feather on his forehead. This is easier if you can drop the feather from higher up. I suggest that the adult supervising this activity can drop the feather for the kids, so that they have more time to catch the feather.
You get more feathers and the ninja will try to catch them all. Start with 2-3 feathers to keep it fun.
To modify the game and to keep it interesting you can, for example, ask the ninjas to catch the feather on their knee, arm, the back of their hands or maybe ask them to catch the first one with their palm and the second one with their belly. You can drop multiple feathers at the same time and so on. And you can even make a fun “egg and spoon” race with a feather instead. Simply ask the kids to slightly cup a hand with one feather in it and then to walk a distance, and finally run without dropping it. (4)
Go On a Safari
This activity can be done outside in your own yard, or even from a window in your home or apartment.
If you’re outside, try having your child pick up a small rock or touch a flower or plant. Take a moment, allowing your child to touch the earth as well. Ask them how each feels.
Notice all of the bugs and birds and any other animals that may be in your yard. Perhaps have your child describe the colors he or she notices on the bugs, birds, and animals. Or, describe the noises that they make.
Walk slowly and mindfully, paying close attention to nature all around you.
I hope you enjoy some or all of these activities with your kids!
Wishing you many fun mindful moments!