Tag Archives: mindfulness for kids

Mindfulness Exercises for Kids

Mindfulness at Mindful Child

As you know there are many ways to practice mindfulness. You can be mindful of what is happening on the inside of your body.  This includes noticing your breath, heartbeat, thoughts, and how you feel.  You can also be mindful of what is happening on the outside of your body such as what you hear, smell, see, taste and feel.  At Mindful Child we explore mindfulness on the inside and outside in all of our classes in many different ways. 

Here are three simple ways to explore mindfulness:

  1. Feel your breath. One of the most powerful mindfulness tools is our breath.  Our bodies can breathe in lots of different ways and how we breathe can affect how we feel.  Closing your eyes and noticing how you are breathing can tell you how you are feeling in your body. 
  2. Engage your senses.  Take a walk through your house. While you are walking pay attention to your five senses (touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing).  Notice the sounds you hear. Can you hear three different sounds? Take a deep breath, what do you smell? Can you find all the colors of the rainbow? Touch a few objects. What do you notice?
  3. Scan it.  A body scan can help you become aware of what is happening in your body and release stress.  Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath in.  Let it out.  Imagine a scanner is slowly moving up your body.  Let your body feel heavy and relaxed as the scanner moves gently over your body. Open your eyes.  What did the scanner notice?

Science tells us the more we explore mindfulness the more calming brain chemicals our body makes. Try different activities to determine which engage your child.  Need more ideas?  Join us for our Mindful Child Teacher Training this summer. 

Settle Your Glitter

Mindfulness Bottles at Mindful Child

Feeling a little unsettled, stressed, or upset? Grab your mindfulness bottle, give it a shake, and take deep breaths until the glitter settles. Mindfulness bottles are a wonderful addition to any mindfulness space.

Settle Your Glitter is a mindfulness activity that uses a bottle filled with glitter to help children center and relax. Children love to make their own bottle and choose their own colors of glitter.

Materials

How To Make a Mindfulness Bottle

Fill a clear plastic bottle with hot water, a tablespoon of glycerin, and a drop of liquid dish soap. Have your child choose three different colors of glitter. Pick one color to represent feelings, one to represent thoughts, and one to represent behavior. Sprinkle each color into the plastic bottle using a funnel.

Benefits of a Mindfulness Bottle

A mindfulness bottle is a fun visual prop to teach children how deep breathing can calm the body and the mind. The mindfulness bottle gives children a tool to calm down and focus their minds (settle their glitter) before they make a decision.

What to Say

  • We’re going to make mindfulness bottles. The glitter represents our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. When we are upset, nervous, or mad, our glitter is unsettled. What can you do to settle your glitter?
  • Start by finding a comfortable position.
  • Let’s go one by one, sharing an event that was difficult for some reason (such as giving a speech in front of your class, losing a sports game, watching a scary movie).
  • Shake the glitter bottle. When you are upset, your thoughts are chaotic, which means your feelings and urges are out of control, just like the glitter.
  • Set the bottle in front of you. Take ten deep breaths in and out through the nose. Feel the belly rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale.
  • Do your best to focus your attention on your breath. While you breathe, watch the glitter float down and settle on the bottom of the jar, just like our thoughts. Take a moment each day to practice settling your glitter.

Come Hang Out with Us!

If your child enjoys art, hanging upside, climbing and mindfulness. Join us for a kid’s aerial yoga class or camp! We practice settling our glitter and other evidence-backed ways to feel calm in every session.

More Ways to Settle Your Glitter

Yogi Says Game

Yogi Says game at Mindful Child

What is the Yogi Says Game?

For this game, gather a group of a least four players, the bigger the group the better. It is played similar to “Simon Says,” but you say “Yogi Says” instead of “Simon Says” and your commands are related to yoga poses, breath work, and mindfulness. Explain to children that a yogi is someone who practices yoga. The players must do whatever yogi tells them, but only when he says “Yogi Says…” before the exercise. Otherwise the player is out. Allow children to take turns being the yogi. Like the majority of our games, it can be played on the ground, in an aerial hammock, or both.

Benefits

  • Encourages yoga pose review & practice
  • Improves mood
  • Increases memory skills
  • Promotes focus and concentration
  • Enhances listening skills
  • Increase motor coordination
  • Helps with sequencing and executive function

What to Say

  • We are going play a game called Yogi Says!   
  • I am going to be “Yogi”
  • If I say “Yogi says” before an activity, you do the activity, but if I don’t say “Yogi says” you do not do the pose or activity.
  • For example, when I say “Yogi says do Goddess Pose!” climb up to Goddess Pose.
  • If I don’t say “Yogi says,” and you do the pose you will be out.

Games are an important part of any kid’s yoga class and some of our most beloved childhood games have therapeutic benefits. Yogi Says is a simple and fun activity that requires no materials. It is the perfect game to address a variety of skills such as sequencing and motor coordination to help with your child’s development. We have a variety of classes and camps full of therapeutic benefits. Come hang out with us!

Mindful Gift Ideas

Mindfulness

This holiday season shop thoughtfully and locally – give the gift of mindfulness!

Meddy Teddy

Holiday shopping can be stressful—especially if you don’t plan ahead. But the holiday season does not have to put such a heavy strain on your wallet and schedule. Consider these gift ideas this year — gifts that encourage mindfulness, promote relaxation and will have a positive impact on the your child’s well-being.

Here are a few handpicked gift ideas:

  • Mindful Gift Pick #1 – Mindful Child Aerial Yoga Hammock. Who doesn’t love hanging upside down? Our studio grade (this means they are high quality) hammocks are perfect Christmas gifts.  They are safety rated and come in a variety of colors. 
  • Mindful Gift Pick #2 – Meddy Teddy.  Best yoga mate to your kids. A playful way to get little ones into yoga and meditation. Meddy Teddy is a pose able bear who knows 100’s of Yoga poses.
  • Mindful Gift Pick #3 – Winter Aerial Yoga Camp.  We’ve added a mini camp over Christmas break.  Three fun filled days of spinning, climbing and hanging upside down.  Camp meets for two hours daily. 
  • Mindful Gift Pick #4 – Late Winter Aerial Yoga Session.  Our new session is online and ready for sign-up.  Best of all the price is discounted until December 4th!
  • Mindful Gift Pick #5 – Essential Oil Roll-ons. Young Living has an excellent selection of roll-ons that make perfect stocking stuffers. My personal favorites are Tranquil and Valor.
  • Mindful Gift Pick #6 – A Journal. Science tells us listing three things you are grateful for daily can make you happier and healthier. Big Life Journal has wonderful journals for all ages.
  • Mindful Gift Pick #7 – A Buddha Board. Write down your worries with a bamboo brush and watch them slowly evaporate while you take deep breaths.

These gifts are meant to inspire healthy living, allowing you to empower your little ones to learn healthy habits for life. What better gift to give this holiday season?

Elevator Breath

kids mindfulness

What is Elevator Breath?

This breathing technique is referred to as “three-part breath” because of how the breath enters the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. Children often breathe with only the top portion of their lungs, which means they are missing out on the benefits of using their entire lungs to breathe. Breathing in and out at full capacity provides a sense of balance and calm.

In aerial yoga, Elevator Breath pairs well with Fish Pose and Mermaid Pose.  However, it can be done in a seat position such as Bucket Seat Pose as well. 

What are the Benefits?        

Elevator Breath increases children’s awareness of their breath. Placing hands on the belly, helps kids to bring their breath all the way to their abdomen. It activates the brain’s relaxation system, which sends an instant calm feeling throughout the body. Placing the hands on the belly and heart allows children to feel their breath, which helps with focus, stress-relief and mindfulness.

What to Say.

  • Lay on your back, place one hand on the heart and one hand on the belly.
  •  Notice your breath and your heartbeat. Is it fast, medium, or slow?
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose. Feel your belly, rib cage, and the heart center rise beneath your hands.
  • As you breathe out, feel your belly, rib cage, and heart center fall. Do you feel the elevator going up and down with each breath?
  • Start to make your elevator go even slower by making your breath slower.
  • Repeat nine times. Notice your breath and heartbeat. Have they changed?

Elevator Breath is one of the breathing techniques we use in our aerial yoga classes. Mindful breathing can help children become more aware of their feelings, this awareness helps them to manage big emotions.

Meddy Teddy Mindfulness

Meddy Teddy Mindfulness

Materials

What is Meddy Teddy Mindfulness? 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is paying attention with our senses, with kindness.  Meddy Mindfulness requires your child’s full attention. Each child will mindfully focus on Meddy Teddy, a pose-able yoga teddy bear. Focusing on Meddy Teddy is fun and engaging, which helps children to slow down and focus on the present moment. 

What are the Benefits?

Meddy Teddy Mindfulness enhances mindful awareness and is calming.  When practiced regularly, mindfulness can improve attention, cognition, emotions, and behavior.

What to Say.

  • Mindfulness is focusing on what is happening, right now, with our five senses – seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. 
  • Meddy Mindfulness helps you pay attention to your senses so you can feel focused and relaxed. 
  • Place Meddy is front of you in Easy Seated Pose. 
  • Start by noticing what Meddy looks like.  What color is he?  Are his eyes open or closed?
  • Next, put Meddy on your lap. Is he soft or hard? Warm or cold? What else do you notice about how Meddy feels?
  • Bring Meddy up by your nose.  Take in a big breath.  What do you smell?
  • Place Meddy in your favorite yoga pose.  As you adjust him, listen very mindfully.  Does he make a sound? Do your favorite pose with him.  Notice what you hear.
  • We are going to skip taste since Meddy is not food.  Instead let’s use our mindfulness detective skills and see if we can notice one thing about Meddy we haven’t notice before. 
  • What did you notice?

Want to learn more ways to be mindful with Meddy Teddy? Sign up for a aerial yoga class or our online kid’s yoga teacher training! Module Three has Meddy Teddy breathing exercises, cards and games!

Three Ways Mindfulness Techniques Can Help Kids

kids mindful breathing

Mindfulness is a great tool for children during this unprecedented time.  With activities and schedules being turned upside down due to COVID-19, mindfulness techniques can help kids to reduce the stress and handle big emotions.  The best part about mindfulness is there are many different ways to be mindful – from mind-body practices like breathing exercises, yoga and mindful eating, to stillness practices like guided relaxations. There is something for everyone in the family to try. In these uncertain times, when we all truly need to feel supported and connected, I encourage parents to explore mindfulness and see how it might support them and their family.

Here are few mindfulness techniques to try at home:

  • Be mindful outdoors.  Take a ride your bike.  Research tells us that spending time in nature can change how we feel.  As you ride, pay close attention to what you see, hear, feel, and smell.  If you have a basket, maybe even gather objects such as rocks, sticks, and leaves to create an art project or mandala. 
  • Focus on the good. Every cloud has a silver lining, but sometimes it can be hard to find that silver lining when you are experiencing stress.  Encourage your child to use her breath, while thinking of a positive affirmation such as “I am happy.”  This will shift the negative mindset to a positive one.
  • Take deep breaths.  Breathing techniques are a useful tool for self-regulation.  Many children express how taking deep Elevator Breaths helped them to fall asleep at night or even in yoga! Taking ten deep breaths is a simple solution for big emotions that can be done anytime and anywhere.  It is truly an amazing tool for reducing stress. 

What makes an activity mindful, is if we pay attention to the activity while using our senses.  That being said, there are lots of ways to cultivate mindfulness. If you need a few ideas check out Mindful Child Online classes or my book, Mindfulness for Children, 150+ Activities for Healthier, Happier, Stress -Free Kids. When beginning a mindfulness practice, start small with a few minutes a day.  Also, try to pick a consist time to practice mindfulness to make it a habit.  If your children are doing schoolwork, add in a few minutes of mindfulness throughout the day.  Set time aside so that the whole family can practice together.  After COVID-19 is over, kids will think back fondly on the mindfulness activities they did as a family. 

Monkey Mindfulness

Organic Bananas

What is Monkey Mindfulness?

M

The ancient yogi’s thought we had monkey minds, with our thoughts randomly jumping from branch to branch. But they also recognized that even the wildest little monkeys can be mindful too. Monkey Mindfulness allows children to act like monkeys and then use the calming power of their breath slow down.

What are the benefits?

Monkey bites are a healthy, fun snack for children. Bananas are full of potassium. Peanut butter has protein and healthy fats, making this a great snack for little growing bodies. Introducing a little chaos and then using the breath to calm the mind teaches children to self-regulate.

What to say.

  • We are going to pretend to be monkeys.  Monkeys jump from branch to branch just like our thoughts sometimes do.
  • Stand up and jump across the room just like monkeys.  Let’s hop on one foot, now the other foot.  Wow, you were fantastic monkeys.
  • How can we calm our monkey minds?  Right, with our breath! Sit in Easy Seated Pose and take ten big balloon breaths. 
  • Mindfully eat some monkey bites. Look carefully at your banana. What do you see?  Smell?  What do you taste?
  • Now we are going to add something to dip our bananas in.  I’m going to put a little powered peanut butter on your plate.
  • Using your mindfulness skills, be a food detective and notice how the peanut butter changed your banana. 
  • Take a bite dipped in peanut butter. What do you see, smell, and taste?
  • How did it taste different from the first bite without the peanut butter?

Want your child to learn more ways to be mindful? Sign up for a camp or class!

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.

Peaceful Pigeon Pose

What is Peaceful Pigeon?

Peaceful Pigeon Pose is a yoga restorative pose that is a deep hip stretch for children.  If your child has tight hips, a gentler variation is doing this simple stretch on your back.  This is a pose that is usually done at the end of a yoga class when hips are more open; thus, it may be better for you child to begin with the modified pigeon on their back and then move to the full version.  Afterwards discuss the two versions of pigeon with your child and see which one resonated with them and why. 

What are the Benefits?

Peaceful Pigeon stretches the hips, glutes, hamstrings and groin.  Peaceful pigeon pose opens the hips.  Pigeon pose promotes inner peace.  It reduces stress and tension. 

What to Say.

  • We are going to be Peaceful Pigeons.  Lay on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee.  Making a figure four.  Flex your toes.
  • Now lift your knees up.  Thread your arms through the triangle between your legs and clasp your hands around the back of your leg.
  • Breath in and out for 5 breaths. 
  • Bring knees together and rock side to side for a moment before switching sides. Notice how you feel. 
  • We are going to be Peaceful Pigeons one more time, but in this version our pigeon is going to sit up tall and puff out his chest. 
  • Begin in Down Dog.  Bring your right knee forward toward your right hand.  Angle your knee to the right and slide your shin forward as much as comfortable. 
  • Extend your left leg out long behind you.  Try to not lean to one side or the other. 
  • Take a deep breath in as you sit up tall.  Breath in and out for three breaths. 
  • Tuck your toes and come into Down Dog for a moment before switching side.  Notice how you feel. 

Peaceful pigeon can be done on the ground, in a hammock, or even facing a friend! If your child has tight hips or just needs a little stress reduction sign them up for one of our aerial yoga + mindfulness 12-week session!