- 6 mins
Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Over the past several decades, practicing mindfulness has evolved into a worldwide movement backed by science in its benefits to all individuals. Most of us have experienced the value of being still and present for a few minutes in our busy lives. Mindfulness is now being utilized in many classrooms and extramural activities, and many of us have witnessed the positive change it can have for our children.
Learning mindfulness at a young age can instill healthy habits, like being present in the moment, eating more slowly, or taking mindful walks. Our kids are bombarded with information in today’s world, and a few moments of stillness and taking in the sensory experiences around them are often not only welcomed but needed. It also helps if mindfulness activities are done consistently so they become healthy habits for the entire family to include in their daily lives. Here are a few activities to introduce to your child to begin practicing being mindful and present. Join in, have fun, and be present—these are experiences you and your child will cherish for years to come.
4 Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Leaves on a stream
When I work with my clients, I often include a “leaves on a stream” meditation where I ask them to close their eyes and pretend they are lying next to a peaceful stream. Every time a worry pops up, they can envision labeling it as “worry” and then placing it on a leaf on the stream and watching it float away gently. You can easily do this activity with your child. Try starting with a Moshi Moment, such as Ease Worries with Wallop, to help your child relax.
Once your child has placed all their worries on a few leaves and watched them float away, you can ask them how they felt about the activity and if they think they can do this whenever they feel a bit overwhelmed or anxious. To conclude the mindfulness time and help instill this strategy, listen to Moshi’s 5 Minute Stream of Calm with Yawnsy. Or try out Waldo’s Wondrous Washing Machine, which is an excellent meditation music option when your child is feeling a little anxious about the day ahead.
Positive affirmations for kids
There has been an increased focus on positive psychology and what that can mean for individuals of all ages. According to Park et al. (2014), focusing on happiness, interests, strengths, and likes can lead to better health in various ways. I am a firm believer in gratitude journals— starting my day with a positive focus or intention and ending it with a highlight of something I achieved, no matter how small that achievement might seem.
Children should also be reminded to focus on their positive attributes and strengths, and encouraging them to start the day with a positive affirmation sets them up for a successful day. Try writing the affirmation on an “affirmation board” right before they leave for school to give them that last bit of positive focus or encouragement. For example, if your child likes soccer, their affirmation for the day might be “When I practice my soccer skills, I make progress, and I feel good about myself.” Or if they enjoy animals, their affirmation might be “I am kind, and animals can feel that.”
Taking slow, deep breaths is an easy and effective way to decrease anxiety and worries. It is very natural for both adults and children to hold their breath when they are feeling stressed. The first thing we should do when we notice we are engaging in shallow breathing or holding our breath is to focus on expanding our lungs and taking deep breaths.
We know from meditative practices that breathing in through our nose and out through our mouth has the most benefits. We also know that breathing for a few counts in and a few counts out has been shown to decrease anxiety. To help children focus on this type of breathing, we can ask them to feel how cool the air that comes in through their nose is and if they feel warmth when it exits their mouth.
We can also create a way for our children to enjoy deep breathing by focusing on games. The short Moshi Moment Cleo’s Pyramid Breathing helps children increase their attention on longer breaths. Moshi has a fun activity that pairs with this track where kids make their own breathing pyramid as a visual reminder to take deep breaths.
Tapping our way out of anxiety
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), often referred to as “tapping,” is an evidence-based self-help therapeutic technique that uses somatic stimulation of pressure points on the face and body. According to Bach et al. (2019), EFT has been shown to be effective for both adults and children in decreasing heart rate and increasing general well-being. Moshi’s Tapping Worries Away with ShiShi is an engaging activity that teaches children to use certain tapping techniques and movements to ease anxieties they may have.
Try concluding this activity with a meditation moment or a slower track, such as Delightful Deep Breathing with Nancy. This can help your child remain in a calm and regulated state, and can also help ensure that the activity and its purpose are more solidified. It also allows you to sneak a few quiet, meditative moments into your busy life and be truly present with your child—moments they are sure to remember with fondness.
Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019 Jan-Dec;24:2515690X18823691. doi: 10.1177/2515690X18823691. PMID: 30777453; PMCID: PMC6381429.
Park N, Peterson C, Szvarca D, Vander Molen RJ, Kim ES, Collon K. Positive Psychology and Physical Health: Research and Applications. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2014 Sep 26;10(3):200-206. doi: 10.1177/1559827614550277. PMID: 30202275; PMCID: PMC6124958.