Mindfulness exercises and meditation are a good way of improving kids’ quality of life because it can help to enhance their social skills, confidence, academic performance, as well as their mental well-being. The benefits of mindfulness cannot be overemphasized, and it is important that teachers and caregivers focus on engaging kids on age-appropriate mindfulness activities. In this article, you are going to gain insights on the various types of mindfulness activities that you can practice with kids, many of which are featured in The Wild Horse.
Mindfulness Practice for Kids
This is a mindfulness activity that children can engage in while standing, walking or sitting. Depending on the age of the children, you can ask them to either close their eyes or look at the palm of their hands. The kids can start by breathing in and out, and as they do so, you can ask them to put their hands on their stomach so that they can feel the up and down movement of their hands.
The purpose of noticing their hands’ movement with the breath is to help them focus. It is important that you also encourage the kids to pay attention to their breath. This is a simple exercise that you can engage in every morning before class begins or every night before your child sleeps.
Enjoy and learn a simple breathing song in The Dog Who Chased His Tail
This activity helps to raise awareness of what is going on in the mind. It also helps to improve attention more so as the child moves their attention or focus from one part of the body to the next. It fosters flexibility, appreciation, letting go and it also help kids to release unpleasant experiences. It is a great exercise that kids can engage in before sleeping.
This exercise is most effective lying down. Eyes can be closed or simply gazing towards the ceiling. Ask them to focus their attention on their feet for a few minutes. Ask them how their feet feel, that is, whether they feel relaxed, cold etcetera. You can then ask them to focus their attention for a minute or so as you talk them through the focal point, on their lower legs, knees, upper legs, tummy, chest, shoulders, hands, arms, neck, head and top of the head. You can ask gentle questions along the way to see if the child is still engaged with focusing inward. If the mind has wandered which of course it often does, simply gently bring the attention back to the breathing and body scanning exercise.
This activity teaches kids how to focus, calm themselves and relax by focusing on their bodies. Students can use a teddy bear or any other stuffed toy, bean bags or some wooden blocks for this exercise. The kids can place the teddy bear on their belly, and then you can take them through guided breathing. The teddy bear on their belly will go up and down with the breath, thus focusing the attention in a friendly and fun way for the child. This activity helps kids to focus on the here and now, which can reduce stress and anxiety. What’s more, this exercise also helps the nervous system to relax and calm the heart rate.
Chose a preferred food, a chewable one, raisons a good (NB use age appropriate food and not lying down). Ask the kids to close their eyes and notice the food without chewing at first. Notice the texture and flavour. Does the food melt? Then they can start to chew slowly and notice each chew. Does the flavour increase? Is the food melting? Count how many chews to finish the food. The idea behind this exercise is to keep their mind from wandering, and to help them focus on the feeling or sensation the food and slow chewing creates.
This activity can be done using a bell or singing bowl. You can also opt to use singing bowl songs and recorded bells from meditation apps. Once you get your desired object, you can ask the students to sit down and close their eyes. You can then play a ringing sound and ask the kids to breath in and out slowly while listening keenly to the sounds. It is important that you encourage them to keep their eyes closed until the sound disappears. This is an activity that you can do repetitively for about 5 minutes.
Flower breathing exercise
The color and fragrance of flowers always attracts children. Therefore, you may want to teach kids a breathing exercise that involves smelling roses, daffodils, and daisies. What you need to do is to give each kid a colorful flower that has some fragrance and ask them to breath in and out using their nose and mouth respectively. This exercise helps the kids relieve anxiety and stress. You can make this fun by taking a walk in a nice garden or field and enjoy the nature too.
Mindfulness practice is effective for helping kids reduce stress and anxiety and boost self-esteem, confidence, energy and well-being. The more you can practice, ideally a little every day, the more the benefits increase in your and your child’s life. Enjoy!