Looking for some calming, grounding, mindfulness activities you can guide you kids or students through at home or in the classroom? Given the opportunity and some simple instructions, kids can surprise you with their ability to slow down, be thoughtful, intentional and mindful in the moment. Try these 15 activities we’ve pulled together from our #mindfulmagicactivity series on our Instagram (we post a new Mindful Magic Activity every Friday! Follow us to follow along!) are great ways to guide your kids to be more mindful. These activities are equally great for kids and adults to do, alone or together!
Find a Tree and Hug it. Wrap your arms around it for a few minutes welcoming its strength into your own body. Let your fingers explore its texture and open your sense of smell to its wild aroma as you breathe deeply and slowly – in… and out… for a few minutes. Connecting very physically with nature in this way is a wonderful opportunity to be in the present moment.
Move to Music. Choose a piece that is peaceful and calm or just something that sings to you and encourage your kids to listen to the music and to move as the music makes them feel. We like to use scarves in our workshops as it is a visual manifestation of the movement they create – and kids love them! Join in and make it a family experience moving in whatever way you feel works for you!
Watch An Ant.
Teeny, tiny feet
Scurrying very fast
Let your eyes follow
As the ant runs her life like a race
Following its purpose
Take a few minutes to become engrossed in the pathway of an ant as she scurries here and there, searching for morsels. It’s a deep concentration exercise and despite all the ant’s activity, it’s surprising how calming you’ll feel just observing and noticing what happens.
Take a Gratitude Walk. We think this is best done in nature but it can happen anywhere really, even a walk around your own home. The idea is to mindfully notice what there is around you to be grateful for – the sun in the sky, a beautiful sound you may hear, a grateful sense of being with other family members as you walk, a beautiful smell wafting into the air. The list is of course endless but acknowledging our blessings with a sense of gratitude brings us into the present moment as we celebrate what we find.
Breathe. This is a technique we can all use to help us remain calm in a stressful situation or it can be practised regularly so we adopt a more wholesome, meaningful way to breathe naturally. Most of us routinely breathe shallowly into our chests but if we breathe more deeply we connect more easily with a calm version of ourselves. Remaining calm and feeling less stressed is a goal for all ages. Place your hand on your lower belly and breathe deeply into that space, feeling it inflate and deflate as we breathe. It’s a life skill to share with your kids so this week do a little practising with them.
Blind Contour Drawing. Using a pen or pencil and a piece of paper draw your own hand or foot without looking at the drawing or lifting the pen off the page. This activity helps us switch from thinking to feeling, from analytic thinking to creative thinking. It’s about getting into the creative flow rather than achieving a pretty picture. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and focus only on what you are seeing, surrendering the idea of what it should be. Draw what you see, following the lines, shapes, texture. This is a great exercise to begin a creative session for the young and young at heart.
Keep a Balloon in the Air. This involves a lot of mindful concentration as the aim of the game is to keep the balloon off the ground. Maybe some calming gentle music will help you to follow the natural gentle, flowing movements of the balloon.
Do a Guided Meditation. Experience the calm, peace and power of being in the present moment by playing a guided meditation. We have three guided kids meditations available for instant download – Connecting to Your Quiet Place Inside, Watch Waves (both available for AU$9.95 each) and Go Walking in Nature (free when you sign up to our newsletter here).
Gaze at Treetops. Stretch under the biggest, oldest tree you can find. Looking up to a maze of branches with leaf fingers. Eyes open wide as visitors come and go. Birds, butterflies, grasshoppers. You will without doubt find peace, quiet and a place in the present moment lying gazing at treetops. Check out our ‘Gaze at Treetops’ children’s art print in our shop here.
Have a Picnic. It doesn’t need to be on a grand scale - a small piece of grass is a good start, even your own backyard. Include your children in the preparation, encourage them to think about what they’ll need - not only food but the logistics like what we need to eat with, the place, what do we need to make us comfortable. When you’re there encourage your kids to think about the surroundings - the sights and smells and sounds and of course the tastes! And don’t forget to have fun!
Make a Nature Collage. Sometimes the simplest materials render the most satisfaction! All the better if you collect the materials together on a nature walk! All you need is paper (thin cardboard is good) craft glue and whatever you find in nature to use for your picture – leaves, flowers, bark, small stones, dirt, feathers … the list is endless!
Make a Sensory Box. For this activity you’ll need a small box. Make a hole big enough for a small hand but not big enough to see inside or use a tissue box that already has a hole. Gather some objects with interesting and differing textures and play the feely box game! Put in one object and encourage your child to describe what they feel. You can give prompts relating to hard/rough/smooth, size, shape – rounded/angular but only if they have trouble themselves. They may only want to guess what it is – that’s okay but the point is to concentrate on the sense of touch and to put all their attention on that one object, even if just for a short time!
Smell Flowers. We invite you to find a little time to spend in nature to smell flowers. Your sense of smell ignites a special inner glow when the beautiful aroma of flowers is inhaled.
Sit by Still Water. Find a spot by a river or lake, staring at the still water before you, let the peace and calm take you over. You might like to choose our verse as a further aid in sharing a mindful moment with your children.
Silence fills your ears
Calmness fills your heart
Stillness fills your mind
Try a little yoga. Really all you need to try a little yoga is a space, a few poses to do, maybe some calming music and a little time and watch the mindfulness and calm arrive. Read our blog post for some easy, kid-friendly poses you can guide them through here. We especially love pre-bed yoga, you can read about its role in our free ebook, 'Calm Nights' available when you sign up for our newsletter here.
You can see all our mindful activities on Instagram at the hashtag #mindfulmagicactivity (you can even follow it on Instagram so you never miss a new activity!) and we’d love to see your mindful activity posts so be sure to use the hashtag #mindfulmagicactivity! And check in each Friday on our Instagram for our weekly Mindful Activity!
And for even more mindful activities, check out our children’s book, Making Mindful Magic, full of activities for kids and adults to share together!