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Mindfulness activities for kids

 

This article has been written by parenting blogger and co-author of Create Your Own Happy and Be Happy Be You Becky Goddard-Hill.

Life is rather stressful for kids at the moment. They may be anxious about going back to school (or not) or worrying about Coronavirus or not having seen their friends for a while.

Their busy brains need a break from all that and the perfect way to give the mind a break is with mindfulness.

When a child is mindful they are completely absorbed in the present moment not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow and their buzzing minds can relax. Being mindful helps them think more clearly and feel less agitated or irritable too.

The science of mindfulness 

Mindfulness has been shown by scientists in many experiments to be one of the best things for emotional wellbeing. Being mindful calms down the bit of our brain (the amygdala) that make us want to ‘fight or flight’ (react with strong emotions).  

Your child will be much more chilled out if they practice being mindful and, in turn, the whole family will be too.

Here are some mindful activities for your kids to try out this summer:

Cloud watching 

When kids spend time cloud watching they get completely absorbed in the experience, totally focused on what they can see in the sky.

Heading to the garden or the local park with a blanket and some free time is all you need.

They may just want to lie on their back in the grass and watch the clouds pass and be silent. They may want to share tales of what they see in the clouds - the dragons and boats, and rockets and people.

Some kids may want to weave together a story about the things they see and go home and draw or write their story up. Give them time to get lost in the clouds and in their stories. It is wonderful for their imagination and they will feel deeply relaxed.

It is so healthy for them to be to be totally ‘in the moment’. 

Take a sensory nature walk

Fully immersing yourself in nature always feels amazing but kids can find walking boring and sometimes struggle to really absorb what’s around them. Encourage them to fully explore and give their attention to their environment by creating a nature checklist.

Challenge them to look and listen out for the things on their list and tick them off when they have found them:

Include a couple of things for them to do such as a making a bark rubbing or creating a stone circle so their touch sense is also activated.

Here are some ideas of things to include on your list for your child to find, hear, see listen, touch and do:

  • Find a pine cone
  • Make a bark rubbing
  • Find a fallen blue flower
  • Listen to a bird song
  • Find a yellow wildflower
  • Touch some soft moss
  • Find a smooth stone
  • Find a big, perfect leaf
  • Find a feather
  • Find a ladybird

Having a focus adds much more meaning to your nature walk and helps a child more fully attend to and experience their surroundings. 

Find more inspiration for things to spot outdoors with the popular i-SPY books from Collins:

Blowing bubbles 

Blowing bubbles slowly and focusing on how they grow, float and eventually pop is a lovely mindful activity.

Your child can make their own bubble mix by mixing dish washing liquid with water. If it’s available you can add in several drops of glycerin, found in the skincare section of the pharmacy too.

You might need to experiment with the recipe for bubble blowing soap because the outdoor temperature can affect how long the bubbles will stay together, so each time the mixture may need to be changed.

Bubble blowing slows down a child’s breathing helping them feel calm and they will be fully immersed in the activity.

Kite flying 

Kite flying may sound an old-fashioned thing to do but there is reason it is still very popular, kite flying brings with a huge sense of peace. All your child’s efforts will be focused on getting their kite to fly and they will become so absorbed in what they are doing their mind can just take it easy.

Their senses will be fully alive with colours and movements of their kites and all that fresh air. And they will be just delighted when they get their kite up and flying and they will get a big buzz of achievement.

Other mindful ideas for summer could include: 

  • Taking nature photographs
  • Watching ants
  • Chalk drawing on the pavement
  • Gardening
  • Yoga in the garden
  • Making lavender bags /wands
  • Going strawberry picking

Final thoughts 

Anything that engages your child’s senses and absorbs them fully in their present is a way of being mindful. Doing at least one mindful activity a day will bring you a more peace-filled child and a wonderful memory-filled summer.

Find more ideas like this in Becky’s latest book Create your own calm – available to order now!