Are you looking for a coping method to teach stressed-out or disgruntled kids and teens? If so, you have probably heard of mindfulness and may be interested in exploring it more.
Though nothing new, mindfulness activities have gained ground as a popular way to help kids, teens, and adults cope. Why? Well, doing these can make us more aware of our inner self!
In this way, anyone who practices them can become better at dealing with triggering, stressful, and emotional situations. So, it’s definitely beneficial to learn about and practice these!
In this post, I will explain more about mindfulness and cover some effective activities. These fun mindfulness activities for kids and teens are easy to learn and put into practice, too!
What is Mindfulness?
To put it simply, mindfulness is a state of awareness of your feelings, thoughts, and everything happening around you. However, it is also a focused, objective, observant state of mind.
As the person practicing the mindfulness activity is aware, they can observe their emotions and thought patterns in an objective way. But, why is mindfulness actually useful, you may ask?
Being mindful allows us to analyze our emotions and any triggering information conscientiously. So, we can become better at dealing with these upsetting situations through mindfulness.
Though mindfulness may be difficult to grasp at first, especially for kids, it is a very useful tool to learn. Mindfulness activities for kids introduce them to the basics in a fun and easy-to-learn way.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness Activities for Kids & Teens?
There are many benefits to teaching mindfulness activities to kids and teens. Whether the person is a child, teen, young adult, or adult, the benefits are much the same, too.
Yes, you can also benefit from practicing some of these! In fact, doing mindfulness activities regularly yourself is one of the best ways to encourage kids to partake, too.
Here are some of the benefits of incorporating mindfulness into your life:
- Improves health and bodily functions by reducing blood pressure, stress, and tension.
- Makes us aware of our emotions, thoughts, and feelings, both conscious and subconscious.
- Teaches us how to detach and observe our thoughts and feelings objectively instead of reacting subjectively.
- Makes a habit of acting and reacting objectively and calmly instead of rashly.
- Enables us to find sound solutions to a problem instead of getting caught up in a stress response.
- Makes us aware of deeper issues that may be causing our stress, anger, sadness, or other emotions.
- Encourages us to be more observant of the world around us.
- Gets us to notice important details and information we may otherwise have missed if not being mindful.
- Teaches us how to take back control of our emotions, thoughts, and actions instead of them controlling us.
- Makes us aware of any internal issues we may need to work on.
- Allows us to consider other people’s reactions, emotions, and thoughts in an objective manner.
- Helps those with anxiety, anger, and depression to cope better with these emotions.
- Assists those with negative self-talk, negative thinking, and other negative tendencies or patterns to examine and deconstruct these habits.
15 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids & Teens
Now, we’ve covered what mindfulness is and the main benefits of doing mindfulness activities. So, let’s get into the best mindfulness activities to do with kids and teens!
These mindfulness activities for kids and teens are easy to learn and do. So, most children or teens should be able to follow along with you.
I’ve separated these activities into sections for young kids, kids, tweens, and teens, too. So, you can easily select an age-appropriate activity from the list below!
5 Easy Mindfulness Activities for Young Kids
Are you looking for some mindfulness activities to do with younger kids who may find some activities challenging?
If so, these are the perfect mindfulness activities for kids this age!
1. The Appreciation Game
When we rush around, we don’t always appreciate the small things around us. In this way, we can get stuck in a loop of not appreciating anything at all!
This appreciation mindfulness activity encourages kids to take note of and savor the small things! For this activity, give them food, such as fruit, nuts, or another healthy snack.
Then, tell them to eat the food as slowly as possible. You can even set a timer on the counter with the aim being for them not finishing the food before the timer goes off!
While they eat, encourage kids to observe the shape, taste, color, texture, smell, and other details of eating the food. Afterward, get them to describe the experience in detail.
Meditation is the ultimate mindfulness activity. In fact, it was around long before Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed his mindfulness program in the late 1970s.
In Asia, meditation has and still is practiced by many people as a way to become more enlightened, calm, and happy.
As such, meditation makes for an excellent mindfulness activity for kids, too! Get yours to sit in the lotus position (or any other relaxing pose), close their eyes, and meditate in silence.
During this silent time, kids can focus on their internal feelings and thoughts. Alternatively, you can also lead a verbal prayer or meditation with directions on what they should focus on.
Certain harmonic sounds can relax kids and make them more in touch with their inner self. As such, listening to these sounds also makes for an excellent mindfulness activity for kids!
Get kids to sit down in a relaxed pose and close their eyes. Then, ring a bell, cymbal, chime, medicine bowl, or similar instrument – you could also play pre-recorded music featuring these!
4. Take a Walk
Walking is in and of itself a mindfulness activity! You see, while we walk, we concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other while also taking in the world around us.
For this activity, you can take a walk around your garden, in nature, in the park, or on your street. While walking, take notice of and discuss the things you see around you with your kids.
You could also take the time to talk about their day, school work, feelings, or another topic. In fact, taking a walk is also an excellent family bonding activity to do together!
Taking kids for outdoor walks from a young age has many benefits beyond mindfulness, too. So, it’s an excellent habit to instill in them (and include in your routine) from a young age!
5. The Weather Report Game
Can you guess how your little one is feeling? Likely, you can, but they may not be able to grasp the concept of emotions as well.
Being mindful requires knowledge about our emotions. Therefore, teaching young kids about these and encouraging them to discuss theirs is an excellent beginner mindfulness activity!
The weather is the perfect acronym for emotions as kids often learn about the weather early on in school. As such, likening the two and turning it into a mindfulness activity is an excellent idea.
For this activity, get kids to make a weather report, except the weather describes how they feel. You can give some examples – like sunny is happy, overcast is sad, and rainy is emotional, etc.
5 Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Older kids will be more in tune with their emotions and feelings, as well as have more general knowledge of these. As such, you can do more complex mindfulness activities with them.
These fun mindfulness activities for kids require a bit more focus, concentration, and communication skills.
1. The Balancing Game
For this game, get kids to balance on one foot and talk to them at the same time. The object of the activity is for them to balance their body while also answering your questions.
Kids need to give energy to both activities without losing their focus or concentration. As such, this mindfulness activity gets kids to develop their body-mind coordination and focus.
2. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are excellent mindfulness activities for kids! Beyond this, these exercises are also a very effective coping method for stress, anxiety, and more.
Breathing activities can completely reset our body and mind, just like a sigh, yawn, or shudder does. In fact, it’s amazing how much of an effect simply breathing differently can have on us!
There are various breathing activities you can do with kids. However, the best way to introduce them to breathing activities is to get them to imagine an action and take a breath accordingly.
For example, get them to take a big breath in through the nose as if they were smelling a flower. Or, get them to exhale while imagining that they are slowly blowing a big bubble!
3. Making Poses
Aside from breathing, our posture can also have a huge effect on our mood. As such, getting kids to make poses is a fun and effective mindfulness activity for kids!
For this activity, get kids to make various poses and describe how they feel as they’re making them. They could curl up in a ball, make a superhero pose, or do a stretch!
As they’re doing each pose, they need to be aware of how it makes them feel in order to describe it later. In this way, they become more in tune with their own feelings and reactions.
4. The Senses Game
For his game, kids need to get in tune with the world around them. First off, they need to omit a few scenes from the game, though – like sight, touch, and taste!
To start, get kids to close their eyes and then focus on what they smell or hear around them. Leave them to take in these stimuli for a few minutes.
Then, get them to describe each smell or sound they noticed. This activity gets kids to focus on the senses and things they may often neglect or not notice.
5. The Swirling Jar
For this activity, fill a jar with glitter and water (or oil and water), then shake it vigorously. Tell kids to focus on one fleck of glitter or glob of oil.
Of course, this is almost impossible to do! Afterward, tell them that the flecks represent their thoughts and feelings, and the shaken jar represents a triggering situation.
Explain how an upsetting situation can unsettle us, making it impossible for us to focus on these thoughts and feelings. Ask them if they think that they will make the best decisions in this state.
Then, talk about how taking time to process thoughts and emotions, focus on them, and let them settle (just like the glitter or oil in the jar) leads to better outcomes and understanding.
5 Mindfulness Activities for Tweens & Teens
Older kids can grasp more complex concepts, emotions, and thoughts – and have better self-control. Therefore, they can understand how to do more challenging mindfulness activities!
Here are some excellent mindfulness activities for kids, tweens, and teens who’re a bit older!
1. The Coin Game
For this mindfulness activity, give your teen or each teen a coin to study. Give them a few minutes to study their coin in detail.
Then, take all the coins back, jumble them, and get the teens to try to guess which is theirs and explain why they picked it.
If you’re doing the activity with one child, you can mix up their coin in a pile of coins. This activity gets kids to observe the smallest details, thus developing their observational skills.
Stretching is an excellent activity to slow teens down and get them to relax, too. Plus, stretching also increases blood flow and releases endorphins – improving teen’s moods!
As such, any kind of stretch is also a good activity for teens to do practice mindfulness. Get them to do neck stretches, forward bends, cobra pose, or any other stretch for a few minutes.
During this time, they can take a break from their thoughts and focus on their body/mind connection. After doing the stretches, their mood and awareness should be much improved.
3. 5 Minutes of Silence
Silence is not something we’re as used to as we should be in this digital age. Every minute we have entertainment or stimuli on hand – be it from our phones, TV, or some other source!
As such, silence is an excellent way to reconnect with our subconscious and inner thoughts and feelings. For this activity, get teens to sit quietly in a low stimulus environment.
Encourage them to observe their current emotions, anxiety, and any feelings or thoughts they have going on behind the scenes. In this way, they practice awareness of these feelings.
4. The Gratitude Game
When we get overwhelmed, we often forget to notice all the good things. Just a few stressful occurrences can topple teens over into a state of sadness, depression, anger, or anxiety.
One way to improve our mood and practice awareness is to reconnect with all the good things. For this activity, get teens to sit in silence and think of all the things for which they’re grateful.
You could also lead them in contemplating whether a “bad” situation had a good impact or consequence. In this way, they can learn to find the good and bad in every situation.
5. The Forgiving Game
When someone wrongs us, it can be difficult for us to forgive them. Teens may feel cheated, betrayed, hurt, or wronged – and be unable to move on.
For this mindfulness activity, get them to focus on all those who have hurt them, and they have hurt. They don’t necessarily need to share this information – just visualize it in their mind.
Tell them to imagine they have an “I owe you” slip from each person. Then, get them to remember all the people they may have hurt and visualize the “I owe you” slips they have.
Lastly, get teens to imagine that the people they hurt are willing to rip these slips up as long as they rip up theirs first. The idea is that in order to get forgiveness, we must first give it to others.
Dealing with all that life throws at us can be hard! This is especially true for kids or teens who’re just learning how to process the thoughts and emotions involved!
Hopefully, these mindfulness activities for kids and teens will help them cope better. And, become more aware, mindful, and relaxed in the face of stressful situations, too!