‘Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.’ – Amit Ray, Mindfulness: Living in the Moment – Living in the Breath
Mindfulness is the maintenance of a keen awareness of each present moment, the environment, and one’s own mental, emotional, and bodily responses to every stimulus. It is about looking at everything with a nurturing and gentle lens and being aware of the wandering of the mind. It helps one focus without the need for interpretation and fear of judgment. Practiced well, mindfulness can help reduce stress and relax the body. These mindfulness activities for kids are great ways to start introducing being mindful to your children.
It can be exhausting to plan, solve problems, daydream, or contemplate unproductive or odd ideas all the time. Additionally, it may increase an individual’s risk of experiencing tension, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. To get focus away from this pattern of thinking and into the world around, one needs to engage in mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness is used in therapy and has proven helpful to people dealing with anger, anxiety, and other issues.
Adults can teach themselves to be more mindful, but children need to be trained for it. Here are a few mindfulness activities that you can try with the kids this summer:
Mindful Story Session
Children love sharing as well as listening to stories. A story session can easily be transformed into a meaningful mindfulness exercise. Stories can be used as tools to help children explore their inner connections and regulate their emotions. If you intend to use a story session for mindfulness training of children, then you need to prepare the ambiance first. Create a relaxing and comfortable environment for the children; you could dim the lights, offer comfortable seating options and encourage the children to find cozy spots.
Encourage the children to breathe deeply and let go of other thoughts, fears, and worries. Ask them to concentrate their attention on the story and the present moment. Your story needs to have sensory details, and you will have to encourage the children to imagine the sensory experiences (the sights, sounds, smells, and textures in the imaginary world of the story). Ask the children to pay attention to the words, and to consciously focus on the rhythm of your voice and your pauses. Encourage the children to reflect on what the characters of the story may be feeling at certain spots in the story and motivate them to introspect deeply. After the story, allow a few minutes of silence for reflection and then follow it up with a discussion about the story to help them process their thoughts better.
Games can be a fun and engaging way to introduce mindfulness to children and train them in it. Create a supportive environment and non-competitive atmosphere for the games. Encourage children to participate without judgment or expectation. Emphasize the process of mindfulness rather than the outcome. You could engage them in a simple game like balancing on one foot, or a classic like Simon Says. Jenga might also serve the purpose. They could even play an online free hearts game. For any game to be an exercise in mindfulness, play it in two ways. Play it once while intentionally distracting the child by asking them to tell a story or sing a song as they make their moves. Play it again while encouraging them to breathe and focus.
Throughout the summer, take children outdoors for exercise. Take them to a place where they may experience the sensation of fresh air entering their nose, the fragrance of fresh-cut grass, the sun on their faces, etc. It will help them be more aware of the present and the varying sensory experiences. Besides, it’s much nicer than exercising in a stuffy room. While exercising, ask them to reflect on the flow and feel of each movement. Ask them to consciously take notice of each wandering thought, stop it and turn their attention back to the workout. This way, it’s a physical as well as mental exercise.
Meditation can also be a mindfulness activity, provided that you make it enjoyable, age-appropriate, and suitable for their needs. Choose simple techniques like deep breathing exercises, body scan, and visualization. Be patient with their progress, and avoid pressuring them. There are several resources available online for guided meditation. These resources often incorporate playful and imaginative elements that make meditation engaging for kids. After each meditation session, encourage your child to share their thoughts and feelings. Ask them open-ended questions to help them express themselves better.
Watching the Sunrise
One of the most underappreciated summertime mindfulness activities is watching the sunrise. You could spend the entire night outside with the kids (preferably sleeping under the stars) or simply get up early at home and move out in time. Sunrise has a calming quality. It can be considered a symbolic representation of new beginnings. You can do this activity with just your kids, or involve their friends if you wish. A sunrise jaunt might be a wonderful opportunity to practice breathwork. Encourage the children to observe all the big and small changes in the sky at the time of sunrise, and to take note of the song of the birds. Ask them to reflect on their own feelings at the exact moment when the sun appears on the horizon. This is a fantastic mindfulness activity for the kids.
This is probably the easiest and the most fun activity on this list. It’s also the one that passes the summer vibe check most easily. Children love blowing bubbles. It can be converted into an exercise for cultivating mindfulness relatively easily. Teach the children to observe the shape, movement, and colors of each bubble. Ask them to take note of the wonder they feel. Let them pop some bubbles with their fingers and observe how that feels. They can also practice breathwork while blowing bubbles. Tell them to take a deep breath and blow as many bubbles as they can in a constant stream.
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Mindfulness, the simple technique of bringing a kind, accepting attitude to the present moment, can be helpful for kids of all ages. If you train the kids in mindfulness early, it will become habitual and will prove advantageous to them in all stages of life.
The mindfulness activities listed above can help foster empathy, compassion, focus, and curiosity. Practicing mindfulness can be enjoyable for the kids, but they need to be trained to be able to benefit from it and have fun along the way.
Kayla is the content creator over at motviationformom.com. She is a wife and mother who loves to share all of the tips, tricks, and life lessons that she has learned over the years with all of her readers. Her primary focus is on children’s education, motherhood, and healthy family relationships!