Children have a unique view of the world, one that most adults have grown out of (at least in part). Kids are highly attuned to the world around them – open, curious, questioning, and reflective. Mindfulness comes naturally to them, even if they don’t have the concepts or language to cognitively understand these teachings and techniques. For this reason, mindfulness activities for children are a great way to enhance these natural qualities and explore them in a way that benefits all.
Exploring mindfulness with children can be fun for the entire class, team, or family. By harnessing our own childlike curiosity as teachers or parents, we can get creative about how we guide children to look, feel, and reflect in more attentive and open ways. Consider the following activities to spark your imagination and bring mindfulness to children in inspiring, playful, and light-hearted ways.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
- Maya Angelou -
7 Creative Mindfulness Activities for Children
As you share these teachings and techniques with your young ones, remember that mindfulness for kids is going to look much different than our adult practices do. There will likely be more laughter, more spontaneity, and more playfulness. Welcome these with an open heart and let the lightness of this youthful energy inspire you in your own practice.
1. Create a gratitude jar.
With your child, fill a glass jar with small colored pieces of paper, each that has written upon it one thing the young one is grateful for. This can be done in a single sitting or over the course of a month with a new expression of gratitude added each day.
When the jar is full, let it sit in a place to be seen – a reminder of all the blessings one has. On a rainy day, you might come back to the jar, pouring out its contents and reading each piece of paper with your child.
2. Take a walk in nature.
Simply taking an open and curious walk through nature is a wonderful way to explore mindfulness with children. As you walk through the woods, along a beach, or through any other setting, invite your child to point out what makes him or her feel happy, curious, nervous, or excited.
You might also take this time to tune into other senses, such as smell, touch, and sound, imbuing your walk with full presence and curiosity.
3. Get messy with paints.
Through creative expression, children and adults alike naturally tune into their emotions and intuition. Organize a paint afternoon, inviting your child to express themselves through painting in any way that they feel called to. You might deepen this exploration by asking them how certain colors, shapes, or textures make them feel. Revel in whatever expresses itself through them.
4. Share a slow snack.
Another exercise that is great for kids is slow, mindful eating. Have fun with this, inviting your child to smell, feel, and explore a small piece of food (i.e. a berry or a cracker) before slowly bringing it to their tongue. Invite them to chew slowly and to notice what the flavors, the textures, and the experience of slow eating itself are like.
5. Harness the power of imagination through creative visualizations.
Guided visualization is another wonderful mindfulness for kids practice. This is something you can guide yourself or explore through the use of a pre-recorded guided meditation. This type of practice can harness your child’s innate capacity for imagination while guiding it in fruitful and inspiring ways.
“Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination.”
- Walt Disney -
6. Try ‘teddy bear’ breathing.
A fun way to help kids explore deep belly breathing is through ‘teddy bear’ breathing. Invite your child to rest on their back, placing their favorite stuffed animal on their belly. Then, guide them to breathe slowly and steadily, letting the stuffed toy rise and fall as their stomach does. This technique is also referred to as ‘buddy breathing’.
7. Practice mindful movement together.
Lastly, a wonderful way to help children to connect with their bodies mindfully is through movement. Explore kid-friendly yoga poses or create space for free-flowing dance parties. You can play around with different pieces of music and instruments, inviting your child to express themselves in whatever ways feel safe and natural to them.
Explore our free ‘Mindfulness Meditations for Kids’ course
These 7 mindfulness activities for children are just a start. Since mindfulness can be brought to everything we do, the options for exploration are endless. Consider your child’s favorite activity. Is there a way to creatively and mindfully explore this activity in new ways? Remember to keep it light, fun, curious, and compassionate, embracing the lens through which your child views and moves through this wonderful world.
“If you want children to continue dreaming to the moon and beyond, then dream with them, both by sharing your fervent dreams, and by diving heart first into their own.”
- Vince Gowmon -
For more resources on this subject or for kid-friendly practices, you might consider: