Last Updated on July 21, 2023 by Bilingual Kidspot
30+ Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Teens, Ultimate Guide
Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Teens, your guide to nurturing calm minds. Nurturing mindfulness in kids and teens has a range of benefits. In this guide, we will explore the meaning of mindfulness, its benefits for fostering a growth mindset, and 30 mindfulness activities for kids and teens designed to help children develop these essential life skills.
Cultivating Calm Minds: Mindfulness Activities for Kids & Teens
In the fast-paced and technology-driven world that we are now living in, teaching children to be mindful can be a valuable gift.
Mindfulness empowers children with the ability to be present, acknowledge their emotions, and approach challenges with a growth mindset.
As a parent or teacher, I have seen the amazing benefits of mindfulness activities for kids of all ages from pre-school to teenagers. Mindfulness exercises and activities on a regular basis can instil a great mindset for children as they grow up.
What is Mindfulness?
All this talk of mindfulness, but not everyone knows what it actually means for the mindset.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and present in the current moment without judgment.
It involves paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the environment around them.
This state of awareness enables children to better understand their emotions, thoughts, and reactions, ultimately leading to a stronger connection with their inner selves and the world.
How Mindfulness Benefits a Growth Mindset
Mindfulness and a growth mindset go hand in hand.
A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work.
When children practice mindfulness, they learn to observe their thoughts and feelings without attaching negative judgments to them.
This non-judgmental attitude fosters resilience, adaptability, and the willingness to embrace challenges.
Mindfulness also encourages a growth mindset by promoting curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Any activity can be done with a sense of mindfulness but here are some examples of great mindfulness activities for kids. Make sure to try some of these mindful exercises for children with your own kids.
1. Mindful Breathing
One of the easiest mindfulness activities for kids is to practice breathing. Sit in a comfortable position and guide your child to focus on their breaths, breathing in and out. Encourage them to notice the sensation of air entering and leaving their nostrils or the rise and fall of their chest.
Mindful breathing calms the mind, reduces stress, and improves concentration. It is a simple technique that can be practiced anywhere.
2. Nature Walks
Take a leisurely walk with your kids in a natural setting. It could be a nearby park, forest, or even out to the farm. Encourage them to notice the sounds, colours, and textures around them.
Immersing in nature enhances mindfulness, reduces anxiety, and encourages children to appreciate the beauty of the world.
3. Yoga for Kids
Yoga is a fantastic mindfulness exercise for kids of all ages. Introduce your child to child-friendly yoga poses and encourage them to practice gentle stretches and breathing exercises. Yoga is great for flexibility, mindfulness, and it also teaches kids to be in tune with their bodies and breath.
4. Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is a really popular mindfulness activity for kids. Have your child maintain a gratitude journal, where they write down three things they are thankful for each day. There are so many benefits of journaling, it promotes positivity, shifts focus towards the good in life, and cultivates a sense of appreciation.
5. Mindful Listening
Go outside and listen to the sounds in the environment. Encourage your child to focus on each sound without labelling or judging them. Mindful activities for kids like listening to sounds enhances auditory awareness, attention, and deepens a child’s connection with their surroundings.
6. Breathing Buddies
Have your child lie down with a stuffed animal on their belly. Ask them to breathe deeply, observing how the stuffed animal rises and falls with each breath. This mindfulness exercise for kids helps to develop deep breathing techniques to manage stress and anxiety effectively.
7. Body Scan
Another great mindfulness exercise that promotes relaxation is the body scan. Have your child lie down and close their eyes. Guide them to bring attention to each part of their body, starting from the toes and moving upwards.
8. Mindful Storytelling
Mindful storytelling enhances creativity, emotional intelligence, and cognitive skills, as children learn to express their thoughts and feelings through storytelling. Get your child to make up a story using their imagination, focusing especially on the details and emotions of the characters and plot.
9. Five Senses Exploration
This is a really fun mindfulness activity for kids. Encourage your child to identify and explore five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. This mindfulness exercise is great to enhance sensory awareness, grounding the child in the present moment and thinking about their immediate environment.
10. Mindful Eating Activity
During a meal or snack time together, have your child really concentrate on what they are putting into their mouth. Encourage them to eat slowly and savour each bite mindfully. Ask them to notice the taste, texture, and aroma of the food. This type of mindfulness exercise encourages kids to have gratitude for food, and helps children develop a healthier relationship with food.
11. Mindful Gratitude Walk
Take a gratitude walk with your child, where you both express gratitude for the things you notice during the walk. The gratitude walk is great for your child to learn appreciation for the present moment, and strengthens your parent-child bond.
12. Mindful Emotion Jar.
If you are into arts this is a fun one. Create an “emotion jar” with coloured slips of paper representing various emotions. Ask your kids to choose a piece of paper and discuss the emotions associated with it. The emotion jar activity encourages emotional intelligence, communication, and helps children better understand and manage their feelings.
13. Cloud Watching: Activity
One of our family favourites that we do often is cloud watching. Lie down on a clear day and watch the clouds pass by. Encourage your kids to notice the shapes and formations of the clouds without judgment. You can even try to make different shapes out of them using your imagination. Cloud watching fosters imagination, helps kids to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature.
14. Mindful Puppet Play
A great mindfulness activity for little ones playing pretend. Use puppets or stuffed animals to act out scenarios that provoke emotions. Encourage your child to observe and discuss how the characters are feeling. Puppet play allows children to explore emotions and social situations, enhancing empathy and emotional regulation.
15. Mindful Art Creations
Engage in a creative art activity with your child such as colouring or painting. Encourage them to focus on the process of creating the piece of art rather than the end result. This mindfulness activity for kids enhances self-expression, creativity, and provides an opportunity for children to appreciate the process and be in the moment.
16. Mindful Silence Game
A really relaxing mindfulness exercise for kids of any age. Set a timer for a minute or two and invite your child to sit in silence without talking or making any noise. Afterward, discuss their experience. Benefits: The mindful silence game improves focus, patience, and encourages children to appreciate moments of stillness.
17. Loving-Kindness Meditation
Teach your child a loving-kindness meditation where they send positive thoughts and well-wishes to themselves and others. Loving-kindness meditation helps kids to understand empathy, compassion, and a sense of connection with the world.
18. Glitter or Sensory Mindfulness Jars
Create sensory jars with your kids, these oil and water sensory jars are perfect. Sit and concentrate on the water and glitter in silence for a few moments while concentrating on breathing. This mindfulness activity is perfect for younger kids and older kids, it improves focus and helps kids appreciate the little things.
19. Blindfolded Taste Test
Taste is a powerful sensation, and this mindfulness activity can be especially helpful for teaching students to analyse different sensations. Have your kids touch and taste different foods while wearing a blindfold. Encourage them to savour the moment. With their sight temporarily switched off by a blindfold, the other senses are heightened which helps them to focus their attention even more in the moment.
20. Heartbeat Exercise
Ask your child to stand up and start jumping around for one minute do get their heart racing. At the end of the minute ask them to place their hand on their hearts to feel it beating, encouraging them to pay attention to how their heartbeat and breathing feels.
This mindfulness exercise for kids allows them to focus on the body’s sensations and is perfect in times when your child is feeling stressed or anxious.
Mindfulness Activities for Teenagers and Pre-Teens
If you have older children, here are some more mindfulness activities for teenagers and preteens especially.
21. Mindful Journaling
Similar to the previous mention with younger kids, mindful journaling can be a great mindfulness activity for teens especially. Encourage your teenager to keep a mindful journal, where they can freely express their thoughts, emotions, and reflections. Journaling provides a healthy outlet for emotions, and can actively help to reduce stress during hard times, which we know is especially important during teen years.
22. Mindful Digital Detox
In our digital world, a mindful digital detox is a great way to promote mindful use of tech. Encourage your teen to take designated breaks from digital devices, engaging in activities like reading, drawing, or going for a walk. A digital detox is great for improving attention span, and reduces screen-related stress.
23. Mindful Listening to Music
Ask your teenager to listen to their favourite music with full attention, not just listening to the tune as a whole, but paying attention to each note and the emotions it evokes. Mindful music listening helps teens connect with their emotions and enhances the appreciation of art and creativity. Listening to music mindfully can also help to reduce stress.
24. Mindful Walking Meditation
Suggest your teenager try a walking meditation, focusing on the sensation of each step and the connection with the ground. Walking meditation helps kids enhancing their mindfulness during everyday activities and can be especially beneficial for restless or active teens.
25. Mindful Gratitude Practice
Gratitude practice promotes a positive outlook, enhances resilience, and fosters emotional well-being. Gratitude activities are the perfect mindfulness exercises. Have your teen create a weekly gratitude list, noting three things they are thankful for each day. At the end of the week go over what they have written together (or alone if they prefer).
26. Mindful Time-Outs
Being a teenager is not always easy, with so many new emotions taking over. Encourage your teenager to take mindful time-outs during stressful situations, focusing on their breath and regaining composure. Mindful time-outs help teens manage intense emotions and make thoughtful decisions.
27. Mindful Body Scan Mediation
Guide your teenager through a body scan meditation, where they systematically pay attention to each part of their body from head to toe. The body scan meditation helps teens release physical tension, promote relaxation, and develop body-mind connection.
28. Mindful Communication
Engage your teenager in a conversation where they actively practice listening without interrupting and respond mindfully. Benefits: Mindful communication fosters empathy, deepens relationships, and improves conflict resolution skills.
29. Mindful Study Sessions
A good study routine is essential for teenagers. Try to encourage your teen to incorporate mindfulness into their study routine by taking short breaks to stretch, breathe, and refocus their attention. This will help to enhance focus, memory retention, and overall academic performance.
30. Mindful Self-Compassion
Self-compassion exercises are great mindfulness activities for teens. An example of this is getting your teen to write themselves a kind and encouraging letter during difficult times. It can help them cultivate a positive self-image and cope with challenges in a gentle and nurturing way.
Activities to Encourage Mindfulness for Kids and Teens
Encouraging mindfulness in children and teenagers offers lifelong benefits, as they grow into compassionate, emotionally resilient, and open-minded individuals.
By introducing these mindfulness activities to teenagers especially you empower them to cope with the pressures of adolescence, build emotional resilience, and navigate life’s ups and downs with greater clarity and compassion.
Remember that cultivating mindfulness is a journey, and as parents we need to be patient, and lead by example, showing our kids the beauty and significance of living mindfully.