Mindful Exercises for Kids
Mindfulness has been a word thrown around a lot lately, but you might be wondering what exactly is mindfulness, especially when it comes to children? Mindfulness is a practice, and it helps you focus on being aware of your feelings at different moments in time. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, such as practicing breathing methods, guided imagery (laying on a beach and listening to the waves), and other ways to help relax your body mind and help reduce stress. Mindfulness is something our young learners can easily grasp and use to help them work through different emotions and problems they may be having inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite mindful exercises for kids. I find them incredibly helpful in my preschool classroom and I hope you will too!
Before I jump right into mindfulness, I thought you might want to grab my FREEBIE Kindness Scenario Cards to use in your classroom; made especially with the young learner in mind! Click on the image below and download now!
What is Mindfulness? Why do kids need it?
I love the explanation of mindfulness by mindful.org. When we teach mindfulness in our classrooms, we can give students the tools to manage their emotions, build self-confidence, tackle challenges, and handle stress.
After introducing mindfulness exercises into my classroom, I have seen so many students focus a little better, stress a little less, and are generally better at self-regulation.
What are some mindfulness activities?
Mindful activities are activities that calm your body and your mind. They allow you to become in tune with your feelings and the situation which may be causing you stress.
These types of activities are crucial for our young learners. They have BIG feelings and are learning how to understand and manage those feelings. What you need to begin with is for your students to understand their feelings. You can easily use activities and lessons focused on identifying emotions and managing them to ensure they have the background needed to put together the mindfulness pieces. After students have learnt how to identify and label their feelings, they can find ways to manage and deal with stressors that may occur during their day.
What are some mindful exercises for kids?
There are activities you can teach your young learners to help them become more mindful, and there are also a lot of fun resources to help with this process! I have put together a mindful exercises for kids which includes many of the resources I love and will be discussing below. Here are just a few fun mindfulness activities I incorporate in my preschool classroom.
- Mindful Breathing for Kids
Paying attention to one’s breath has so many benefits and can help students. Some of the different methods I have heard of or used inside my classroom are:
- Belly Breathing
- 5 Finger Breathing
- Dragon Breathing
- Shape Breathing
- Blowing bubbles/ pinwheel
They are all super easy to learn and can be easily incorporated into your day.
Another great mindfulness activity is yoga. It helps students become more centered and pay attention to their bodies and breathing. It is a time when students can complete a body scan and check in with themselves. My students and I love Zen Den! Cosmic Yoga is an excellent tool in getting students started with yoga practices, and the videos are very simple to follow.
- Mindful Coloring
Mindful coloring allows students to focus on choosing and applying colors to different designs. It often gives students time to calm down and really focus on the designs and colors they choose. When my class seems a little “wound up,” I often pull out this mindfulness activity, and within minutes the classroom’s vibes often shift, and the energy is completely different!
Mindfulness is nothing without mindfulness meditation, and although it may seem like a hard concept for preschoolers to understand, it is very easy to incorporate into your school routine. If you are a preschool that has nap/rest time, I suggest adding some meditation time in, right before your student lay down for their rest. New Horizon- Meditation & Sleep Stories is a favorite of mine. The characters in each video are cute, and they are really created with children in mind!
- Mindful Eating
A super fun and different way to help with teaching mindfulness is to explore mindful eating. One activity within this realm is having a blindfold meal. Students wear a blindfold and eat a piece of fruit. This allows them to pay attention to their senses while eating and gives them a fun experience they are sure to remember!
- Calm Down Corner
Creating a calm down corner in your classroom is another mindfulness practice to help your little ones. Giving them objects such as a one minute glitter jar, stuffed animals, or other calm down techniques will help them bring their bodies back to calm and relaxation when stressors have become too much and they need a space to self regulate.
Practicing Mindfulness In The Classroom
I love using mindfulness practices in the classroom, and my students have had the best response to them. By slowly introducing and practicing each mindful practice, they have quickly developed mindfulness skills which have helped them with peer-to-peer relationships, managing feelings, and developing effective coping strategies.
Looking to learn more about setting up a calm down corner in your classroom? Check out these blog post: