Tag Archives: focus

Growth Mindset Game

Teaching kids to have a growth mindset can be tricky.  After all just telling kids to have a growth mindset usually doesn’t work. Instead, teach them that the brain is a muscle that can get stronger and change with challenging tasks.   Emphasize the importance of hard work and problem-solving.

Games are a great way to teach tricky concepts to kids.  Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset adds yoga and a mindset twist on a classic game, Red Light, Green Light.  Before you begin the game, provide an explanation of a fixed and growth mindset.  A fixed mindset avoids challenges and assumes that abilities are fixed, frozen or unchanging.  A growth mindset enjoys a challenge and sees failures as a way to learn and grow. 

How to Play the Growth Mindset Game

Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset is best played with four or more players, ages six and older. The leader stands at the front of the room.  When she says, “Growth Mindset” players slowly move and grow toward the leader. When she says, “Fixed Mindset” players freeze in place in a yoga pose. The yoga pose can be predetermined by the leader or freestyle where players choose their own. The player who makes it to the leader first is the winner.

What are the Benefits?

Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset builds executive function through play. Executive function plays a fundamental role in emotion regulation and impulse control. It helps kids reflect before they react. The growth mindset game also provides yoga pose review and enhances focus.

In summary, games are a great way to build self-regulation skills. For more movement ideas to support your child’s social and emotional development sign up for an aerial yoga class or our Mindful Child Teacher Training.

Happy Mindfulness Game

Happy Mindfulness Game

Materials

  • Bingo stamper
  • Printed page of emojis

What is Happy Stamp?

Happy stamp is a simple visual scanning game. Google emojis on your computer.  Lots of images will come up.  Pick an image with multiple emojis and print it.  Emoji stickers are also available on Amazon. Put the stickers on a blank piece of paper or card stock and make copies of it. Then give your child a bingo stamper and ask them to find happy emojis.

What are the Benefits?

Happy stamp improves visual discrimination.  Children must be mindful or they may stamp the wrong emotion.  It also improves fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.

What to Say

We are going to find all the happy emojis on this page.  When you see a happy emoji we are going to stamp it. Remember we are only stamping the happy ones!

Mindfulness Challenge:

A variation of this game for older children is to color all the O’s on a newspaper page or poke holes with a toothpick through the O’s.

Want to learn more amazing mindfulness games? Join us for class or buy my book, Mindfulness for Children: 150+ Activities for Happier, Healthier, Stress-Free Children.

MindFOLD Origami Butterfly

Mindfulness

Materials

  • Origami Paper
  • Ambient Music

What is MindFOLD Butterfly?

Do you remember making paper creations as a child? Once you learned the initial folds the practice of folding the paper became calming and meditative.  Origami is a peaceful art activity that can promote mindfulness in the form of a focused attention meditation. Focus is required to fold the paper correctly and your child’s sense of touch is activated keeping him engaged as he makes the folds.   There is also the intrinsic reward of making something wonderful out of an ordinary piece of paper. 

What are the Benefits?

Mindfold Butterfly helps children build patience, focus, and concentration.  Mindfold Butterfly also enhances relaxation and eye hand coordination. This activity improves executive functioning skills and mindful awareness. 

What to Say.

Let’s make a mindfold origami butterfly. Origami is an art activity where you fold paper to make amazing mindful creations. Remember to breathe in and out through your nose and really focus on your folds.  Sometimes origami can be tricky if you haven’t done it before so we need to really engage all of our senses and be mindful. Remember to use kind words to yourself and keep trying even though it may be a little challenging.  I’m going to play some music while we fold. 

These are the steps to mindfully fold your paper:

  • Fold your origami paper in half (vertically). Then unfold it.  Make sure there is a crease
  • Next, fold the paper in half (horizontally). Then unfold it. 
  • Fold the top left point down to meet the bottom right point of the paper. It is a diagonal fold (making a triangle).  Then unfold it.
  • Fold the top right point down to meet the bottom left point of the paper. It is a diagonal fold (making a triangle).  Then unfold it.
  • Bring the two middle folds together (right and left middle of paper) and the paper will fold in to itself making a triangle.
  • Turn the triangle upside down.   
  • Take the right corner and fold it in to make triangle.  Take the left corner and do the same thing.  The straight edges from the top should line up to make a diamond.  
  • Turn it over so the triangle point is at the top and fold the bottom of the triangle up. 
  • Tuck the tip that sticks out over the top down to make the head, but only do the top piece of paper. Turn it over.   Unfold the triangle to make your bottom wings. 
Origami Butterfly

Behold your beautiful butterfly! Want to learn more ways to practice mindfulness? Sign-up for a Mindful Child camp! Camps are full of mindfulness and FUN!

Parents, if you need a visual step-by-step guide this YouTube tutorial will show you the origami butterfly folding steps.

Mindful Art with Blo-Pens

Blo-Pens Mindful Art

Mindful Art Materials

What is Blo-Pen Mindful Art?

Blo-pens combine mindful art and breathing all at once.   Blo-pens give art an airbrushed look and require extra focus and concentration to create pictures. In the middle of a poster board write the word mindfulness in big letters then let the creativity begin.   Allow your child to draw their mindfulness pictures with colored pencils and then color in the picture with the blo-pens.

Benefits

Art and breathing combined double the calming efforts.  Using blo-pens to color in pictures increases attention and decreases stress.    Creating art boosts creativity, self-esteem, and your child’s artistic ability.  Blo-pens enhance deep breathing and mindful awareness.

What to Say

  • We are going to make mindful art with our breath! Mindfulness is written in the middle of your poster board.  Using colored pencils write words and/or draw pictures of your favorite mindfulness activities. 
  • Then we will use the blo-pens to color in the pictures we are have drawn.  For example, I wrote relax and I drew a picture of myself laying in mummy pose.  I made a tree as it is one of my favorite yoga poses. I then wrote calm, balanced, and focused on the branches.  I made a yoga hammock with a heart since I love aerial yoga.  
  • Draw and/or write mindfulness activities that help you feel calm and happy.  Choose your colors mindfully and notice what it feels like to color with the blo-pens. 
  • Reflect on the activity, by asking, “How did using the blo-pens differ from drawing with the colored pencils? Was it harder or easier to focus?” 

Looking for mindful art ideas? Sign up for one of our “Mommy and Me” classes or check out our blog on Lavender Cloud Dough!

Brain-Focused Strategies for Focus

Kid’s Mindfulness and Aerial Yoga

Focus is defined as the center of interest or activity. Focusing your attention on what is happening in the moment is part of being mindful. A easy way for children to improve attention is by focusing on their bodies. Brain-based strategies encourage children to notice their breath and heartbeat, and pay attention to how it changes during and after movement. Learning to notice these internal changes will help enhance focus and resilience.

Four Brain-Based Strategies to Improve Focus

  • Breath Work. Teaching children to control their breath can help them become less reactive when feeling anxious or stressed. Paying attention to breathing also supports functioning in the higher brain regions responsible for cognitive processing, such as the prefrontal cortex. A one minute breathing practice can prime the brain for learning!
  • Yoga. Yoga poses, especially balancing poses require concentration and strength. Paying attention to the sensations in the body, whether active or moving, is an important step in enhancing mindful awareness.
  • Mindfulness. For children, mindfulness is defined as the practice of paying attention, with the senses. Mindfulness fosters the ability to become more connected to the body and mind, which improves awareness and focus.
  • Guided Relaxation. Relaxation stories calm the body and mind. They encourage a healthy imagination and develop body awareness. Not able to come up stories on your own? Stress Free Kids is a great website for relaxation stories.

In Summary,

At Mindful Child, we combine social and emotional learning with aerial yoga to teach children self-control. We use brain-based strategies to help children deepen their understanding of their own mental processes. When children are aware of their brain-body connection they are more resilient, confident, and focused. Neuroscience tells us that practicing brain-based activities will enhance receptivity to learning in both academic and social-emotional areas.

Mindful Nature Walk

What is Mindful Nature Walk?

Nature Walk is taking a walk with your child; however, he pretends he is walking in the wilderness. While on the walk your child will notice all the wildlife on the walk. The goal is to notice as many details about the birds, insects and other animals as they can. Giving your child a magnifying glass or binoculars really allows them to see bugs and birds up close and notice details they may have missed in the past.

What are the Benefits?

Nature Walk builds visual memory and visual observation skills. It helps children focus their attention and concentrate.Wildlife walk promotes mindful awareness and mindful movement.

What to Say.

  • Let’s go on a wildlife walk! As we walk through the wilderness we want to remain quiet and mindful. We will walk slowly so we don’t miss anything.
  • Turn your senses on high and notice all the birds, bugs and wildlife that you can. Remember we are always kind to our environment. Just notice the wildlife, don’t interact with it.
  • Use your magnifying glass or binoculars to watch the wildlife in silence and notice what it sounds like, how it moves, and what colors you see.
  • Afterward we will draw what we’ve observed so really pay attention and watch all the insects, animals, and birds that you find. Reflect on the Wildlife Walk by asking, “Was it hard to focus on just one thing? Which details were easier to remember? Did you notice something that you haven’t noticed before? What helped you keep your focus?”

Mindfulness Challenge

For older children, search for objects in nature to explore as well. Have them notice what it looks like, smells like, how it feels, and if it makes a sound. Ask them to remember as many details as possible. When you return from the walk ask your child to write down all the details they remember and reflect on the experience. Discuss ways mindful seeing connects to real life. You may ask, “How does mindful seeing help someone who has seen an accident? How does being mindful help you at school? What are jobs that require mindful seeing and memory skills?”

Want to learn more? Join us for our kid’s yoga and mindfulness teacher training this summer!

Finding Balance

Balancing poses help children focus, be mindful, and feel grounded.

What is Finding Balance?

Finding Balance is a flow between balancing poses. Before children engage in Finding Balance they need to be familiar with balancing poses such as tree and airplane pose. Balancing poses are an integral part of children’s yoga and are great for building focus in children. As children move through this balancing flow they experience a calm awareness in which attention and concentration are enhanced.

What are the Benefits?

Balance poses increase focus, strength, and help children feel grounded. Balancing poses require children to be fully present or they fall over, which makes them great for present moment awareness.

What to Say.

Let’s stand together in Mountain Pose. Take three deep balloon breaths. Now shift your weight into your right foot and come into Tree Pose. Take three deep breaths as a tree. Now, let’s gently kick our leg back into Airplane Pose. Try not to let your foot touch the ground as you move to Airplane Pose. Take three deep breaths. Let’s see if we can move back to Tree Pose without falling or touching the ground. Great! You did it! What amazing focus. Let’s do the same flow, but on the other foot. Ready?…

Mindful Yoga Memory

Mindful Memory is a fun way to enhance executive functioning, physical health, and mindfulness.

Materials

 Memory Yoga from Thinkfun or homemade yoga/mindfulness cards

What Is Mindful Memory?

Mindful Yoga Memory puts a mindfulness spin on a classic card game.   Mindful Memory is simply the original memory card game, but with yoga poses, breath work, and mindfulness. Yoga Memory card games can be purchased online or you can easily create your own.  To create your own simply buy colored index cards and write, draw, or paste a picture of mindful movement and breathing exercises on one side. Make sure you create two of each card. Place the cards face down in rows. Have each player turn over two cards, looking for two that match. When the match is found, the group should perform that pose or activity. The player gets to keep the match and the player with the most matches wins.

What are the Benefits?

Mindful Yoga Memory helps children develop breath and body awareness while boosting matching, taking turns, social, and memory skills. It also improves flexibility, coordination, executive function, and focus. Mindful memory is a fun way to review mindfulness concepts and poses.

What do I Say?

We are going to play Mindful Yoga Memory! I’m going to mix up the cards and lay them face down in four rows. When it is your turn, flip over any two cards. If the two cards match, keep them and we will do the activity on them. If they don’t match, turn them back over. Try to remember what was on each card and where it was. Also, remember during other people’s turns. Really be mindful and focus your attention on the cards. OK, we found all the matches! Lets count our matches.  The player with the most matches wins.

Mindful Sound Meditation

Mindful sound meditations improve mindfulness, listening skills, and attention.

It can be difficult to find quiet time in a child’s day. The following exercise will remind you to help children appreciate silencing themselves for a bit to better hear other sounds around them.

What Is Om Gnome?

Om Gnome is a mindful listening meditation.  In this exercise, children will pay close attention to the experience of listening. Play ambient music that includes nature sounds.  Children sit quietly like an Om Gnome and try to detect all the nature sounds in their enchanted garden. After some practice, children may find Om Gnome useful to help settle their minds before homework or any activity that requires sustained concentration.

What Are The Benefits Of Om Gnome?

Om Gnome builds listening skills, attention, and focus. It promotes mindful awareness and self-awareness.

What to Say.

kids mindfulness

Sit up tall in Easy Seated Pose. Place your hands on your knees and make the Focus Mudra also known as Gyan Mudra. Close your eyes. Begin to breathe slow calming breaths in and out through your nose. Imagine that you are an Om Gnome sitting in a tranquil spot in your enchanted garden. Listen to the sounds in the garden. If you listen closely and mindfully you will be able to hear all the magical nature sounds. Slowly open your eyes. What did you hear?

Want to learn more ways to help children be mindful?  Sign up for a Mindful Child Teacher Training or buy my book, Mindfulness for Children.

Reference

Daniel, T., Mindfulness for Children. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2018

5 Ways Mindful Aerial Yoga Improves Your Mental Health

Mindful aerial yoga decreases stress, increases happiness, and enhances focus.

If you think you are frazzled by over commitments, multi-tasking, and digital-age stress, imagine how your children must feel. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), teens are the most stressed out demographic in the United States.  Fortunately, teens and children are drawn to mindful aerial yoga and can reap a multitude of benefits from a consistent practice, especially when mindfulness is added in. Hmmm…I wonder what Kansas City aerial yoga studio is known for combining aerial yoga and mindfulness…

Here are some of the recognized benefits that mindful aerial yoga can provide for you and your child’s mental health:

  • Aerial yoga decreases stress. Research on the biological effects of meditation and yoga found that individuals that practiced mind-body activities, such as aerial yoga, had decreased inflammation in the body.  Even just 10 minutes of mindful aerial yoga can decrease stress and be beneficial to you and your child’s health.
  • Aerial yoga makes you happier. Aerial yoga releases “happy hormones.” Happy hormones are neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that play a major role in mood regulation. Science has found that the practice of activities such as mindfulness and aerial yoga triggers neurotransmitter production.  These neurotransmitters reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, while increasing overall happiness and well-being.
  • Mindful aerial yoga enhances focus. When you are in the present moment, you can not dwell on the past (depression) or worry about the future (anxiety).  When children unplug and experience the art of paying attention on purpose, they reap the benefits of the mindfulness and aerial yoga activities—they enjoy being present, aware, and in the moment, which are important life skills.
  • Mindful aerial yoga increases resiliency. Electrical changes have been noted in the left frontal portion of the brain following mindfulness training, which scientists believe is linked to enhanced resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope in challenging situations and bounce back from adversity. Mindful children can deal with difficult emotions without shutting down and are able to bounce back quicker from disappointment .
  • Aerial yoga and mindfulness change the brain for the better! The brain’s ability to adapt is called neuroplasticity, meaning the brain has pliability and can change with experience. A consistent practice of mindfulness and aerial yoga can create new pathways in the brain, resulting in improved mental health, physical health, and well-being. Way to go aerial yoga and mindfulness!

The evidence from science, indicates mindful aerial yoga is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety, and best of all there are not ANY side effects. It may also be considered preventive medicine.  This means, that with practice, mindful aerial yoga is a good defense against stress and mental health issues that may arise as the result of stress. It is highly recommended that EVERYONE, both adults and children, reap the benefits of a mindful aerial yoga practice.

Want to learn specific ways to introduce mindfulness and aerial yoga to your child? If you live near Kansas City, register for a mindfulness-based aerial yoga class.   For those outside of the Kansas City area, buy my book, Mindfulness for Children,  and begin your journey to happiness!

References

Daniel, T., Mindfulness for Children. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2018

Krishnakumar, D., Hamblin, M. R., & Lakshmanan, S. (2015). Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behavior and Anxiety-A Modern Scientific Perspective. Ancient Science2(1), 13–19. http://doi.org/10.14259/as.v2i1.171

Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, Brooks D, Alving J, Lou HC. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Cognitive Brain Research. 2002;13:255–259. [PubMed]