With everything that’s happening in the news, it’s no surprise.
But it’s not just adults that need their daily dose of mindfulness. Kids are also under heightened stress and anxiety, and when it comes to wellness, it’s never too soon to get started.
Learning mindfulness at a young age can help your kids live more balanced lives. When kids practice mindfulness, their thoughts tune into the present and they become more aware of their emotions.
By promoting mindful living, parents can also help their kids improve their ability to live in the present and lead more grateful lives.
So how do you get your little one to practice mindfulness when just getting them to sit still can be a herculean task? Pro tip: make it feel like they’re playing at the same time.
Here are some engaging mindfulness activities to start with for kids of all ages.
1. Calming Moments Glitter Jar: Ages 3+
Find a jar and fill it up with water, glittery glue, and your child’s favorite color food dye. Once the lid is on tight, shake the jar and have your little ones watch the glitter slowly float around the mesmerizing array of colors and patterns. Ask them to take long, slow breaths while watching the glitter drift around the jar.
You can encourage older children (5+) to imagine the glitter as their emotions, gliding around at first and then gently settling into a calm state.
2. Mindful Deep Breathing: Ages 3+
Deep breathing is a great way to help children de-stress and regulate their emotions, as well as connect with their bodies in the present moment. If your child suffers from anxiety, taking a few minutes each day to focus on mindful deep breathing can teach them self-control and lower their stress.
To get started, ask your little one to take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. Once they get the hang of it, encourage them to keep doing this over and over for 3 to 5 minutes. It sounds simple but the tricky part is getting young children to focus.
That’s where the Moshi app comes in. Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness has a bunch of audio content designed to guide kids through the process of deep breathing. In one of Moshi’s breathing exercises, kids can learn how to bring their bodies to a more restful state as they follow along with a lovable animated koala named SleepyPaws.
3. Relaxing Texture Walks: Ages 3+
This activity is perfect to do outdoors or in your backyard. Have your kids close their eyes and walk over different textures like grass or wet sand. Ask them what they feel: Is it dry? Is it cold? Is it soft?
By focusing on what they feel in one part of their body, it helps kids slow their thoughts down and improve their gross motor skills.
4. Kid-Friendly Yoga: Ages 5+
Yoga isn’t for everyone, but if you do enjoy your share of down dog, it’s a great activity to get your child involved in too. Yoga teaches kids focus and self-awareness and encourages them to relax and breathe. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out these fantastic illustrations of kids’ yoga poses from lifehack.org.
5. Guided Meditations: Ages 3+
Getting kids to settle their bodies and relax can be tricky, especially when they’re upset. Guided meditations allow kids to visualize a calm and safe space, and tune into multiple senses at once. By doing so, it helps their bodies to slow down and enter a more mindful and controlled state of being.
There are plenty of guided meditations out there but most of it isn’t age-appropriate for children; another great reason to try out Moshi. Moshi’s meditations are all set in a magical world of mesmerizing characters called Moshlings. From Peekaboo’s Relaxing Roots to Waldo’s Wondrous Washing Machine, the content is specifically designed to hold your little one’s (little) attention span.
6. Blindfolded Taste Tests: Ages 4+
Place a blindfold over your child’s eyes and have them put a small bite of food in their mouth, like a piece of chocolate or pineapple. Ask them to describe exactly how the food feels and tastes.
This exercise helps them build their descriptive skills and teaches them how to focus on one thing at a time. You’re sure to bring out some funny reactions, too, so make sure you have your camera ready.
7. Soothing Art Sessions: Ages 1+
You can never be too young to start practicing mindfulness activities. Drawing and painting helps kids of any age to express their emotions and develop their creativity and imagination.
To add a calming touch to your little one’s art routine, have them use soothing colors like baby blue and pale pink, and put on calming music in the background.
To learn more about mindfulness for kids, check out our guide on how to get started, where we cover the benefits of starting mindfulness at a young age, how to get started, and a few other mindfulness activities to try with your little one.