Mindfulness Activities for Kids to Cope with COVID-19 Outbreak
In our last article, Teaching Mindfulness to Kids to Cope with COVID-19 Outbreak, we shared the benefits of practicing mindfulness and tips on how you can begin the practice.
To help you kick start your mindfulness journey with your kids, we are sharing with you examples of activities your kids can do on their own or together with the family.
Mindfulness Activities for the Kids
It refers to the intentional practice of focusing the mind on something like one's breath. It is usually done in a seated position and with eyes closed. You may opt to listen to a guided meditation available online or listen to a relaxing sound like rain pouring or the waves crashing.
You may also invite your young kids to join you on your meditation practice. However, you cannot expect toddlers to stay still for more than a minute. Don't worry! As the kids mature, they will better appreciate and participate in meditation.
Yoga is an excellent exercise for the mind and body. The different poses help stretch the muscles, direct focus to the breath and clear the mind.
3. Simple Breathing Exercises
Teach your kids to inhale through their nose, hold for 3 seconds, and then exhale through their mouth. Tell them to pay attention to their breath and notice the rise and fall of their chest as they breathe.
You can make it more enjoyable for them by asking them to visualize themselves holding an imaginary bubble. Ask the kids to expand their arms as they inhale and put their hands together as they exhale.
4. Body Scan
Ask your kids to sit or lay on their backs and close their eyes. You can guide them through this activity by asking them to focus on a specific body part at a time. Let them acknowledge the sensation in their toes, the expansion of their chest, and the relaxing of their muscles.
5. Playful yet mindful activities
Here are some simple but fun activities that are meant to activate and strengthen your kids' senses.
a. Blowing Bubbles
The simplest way to get your kids to breathe deeply is by asking them to gently blow bubbles.
b. Blowing Pinwheel
Create a vibrant pinwheel for kids and ask them to blow it. They will be mesmerized with the spinning motion of the multi-colored pattern and definitely blowing some more.
c. What's in the Mystery Bag
Activate the sense of touch and curiosity, put several objects inside a bag. While your child is wearing a blindfold, ask him to get an object and try to describe object - its size, shape, and texture.
d. Guess the Food
While your child is wearing a blindfold, let him/her taste the food and describe the flavors. Your child will focus with his/her sense of taste.
e. Name the Sound
Prepare a set of objects or musical instruments with distinct sounds and ask your kids to name the item. This exercise will help focus what they hear, and they can differentiate the sounds.
f. Play with Sensory Tray or Sensory Bag
Make your own sensory bag using a ziplock. You can put sprinkles, oil with water, or even gel with buttons. Let your child be immersed in observing the sensory bag.
You can also use a sensory tray filled with pasta, sand, salt, or water.
g. Stop Dance
Make space in your living room for some dancing and games.
As your kids dance, they pay attention to the music and how their movement goes along with the beat. By playing stop dance, they tune in their ears and control their actions when the music stops. It is a great way to practice focus while having fun.
6. Mindful Eating
Some kids tend to eat hastily, while some seem to take forever because of the lack of focus and presence of distractions. Introducing mindful eating to kids can help them learn to appreciate the food.
Encourage mindful eating by asking your kids to describe their food, its appearance, texture,smell, and flavor. While eating, avoid distractions such as televisions, mobiles, or toys.
Coloring is a creative mindful exercise in which kids pay attention and focus to the colors, color combinations, and the application of color on the pattern in a relaxing way. You may download and print mindfulness color pages online.
Mindful colouring enhances the logical and creative aspect of the brain. It's a good mental exercise and improves fine motor skills of our little ones.
8. Emotions Chart
For younger kids, you may create an Emotions Chart for them. Ask them about how their day is going and have a check in of how they are feeling. This practice helps them recognize and articulate their feelings.
You can have a free printable copy or do it yourself personalised mood and emotion wheel
For older kids, you may ask them to start writing their thoughts and feelings into a journal. This will provide them a place to express themselves without the feeling of being watched or judged.
10. Gratitude List
Introduce your kids to practice creating a gratitude list. They may choose to write the things they are grateful for in their journal or they can express it by making a collage.
Such practice can lead them to be more appreciative of the people around them, things they have, and milestones they achieve.
11. Observing a Glitter Jar
Make a glitter jar together using a mason jar, dish soap, water, and glitters. Let your kids hold the container and observe the sparkles moving around inside the jar. This activity enhances their focus into details, sensory awareness and it creates a sense of calmness.
Here's how to make glitter jar.
12. Nature/Backyard Walk
While the government allows it, you may ask your kids to join you for a walk around the neighborhood or the park. While walking, you may ask them to pause from time to time to notice their surroundings. Ask them about the colors of the leaves, the sounds they hear, or the scent they smell. You may also opt to prepare a scavenger hunt worksheet to guide them on what they need to look for during your walk.
You may also do this exploration exercise in your backyard.
That wraps up the list of ways to practice mindfulness! We hope that the list of suggested activities encourages you more to practice mindfulness activities with your kids and help you cope with our current situation.
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