25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens

kinds laying in grass - Mindfulness Activities for Children And Teens

Mindfulness can boost the quality of our lives in numerous ways.

In today’s rush, we all think too much—seek too much—want too much—and forget about the joy of just being.

Eckhart Tolle

What does mindfulness do to spark “the joy of just being” that Tolle references? And, how can we teach kids to start benefiting from its practice?

This article delves into both of these questions and includes plenty of activities for you to start using today. 

Research confirms that for children, mindfulness can:

  • Mitigate the effects of bullying (Zhou, Liu, Niu, Sun, & Fan, 2016);
  • Enhance focus in children with ADHD (Zhang et al., 2016);
  • Reduce attention problems (Crescentini, Capurso, Furlan, & Fabbro, 2016);
  • Improve mental health and wellbeing;
  • Improve social skills when well taught and practiced with children and adolescents.

It’s also important for caregivers and educators to provide age-appropriate mindfulness practices to children. 

For example, fostering mindfulness in preschoolers with tools like pictures, objects, food, simple movements, and music, can help them develop an ability to better focus their attention and stay present.

In a study by Flook et al., (2015), kids were asked to engage in an activity called “Belly Buddies”, in which they listened to music while also noticing the sensation of a small tone on their stomachs rising and falling with each breath. 

The kids became more attune to their bodies, breath and to the music.

Ultimately, simple activities like these can have long-lasting developmental benefits when practiced regularly. 

Want more? We have 25 mindfulness activities designed specifically for children. Plus, they are fun to do.

But, before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Mindfulness Exercises for free. These science-based, comprehensive exercises will not only help you cultivate a sense of inner peace throughout your daily life but will also give you the tools to enhance the mindfulness of your children, students or young clients.

4 Fun Mindfulness Activities and Exercises for Children

Let’s start with these simple ways to attune children with their bodies. At a young age, humans naturally curious about the strength and flexibility of their bodies. It’s a great age to introduce body-mind awareness as a valuable way to take care of themselves.

 

Mindful Posing

One easy way for children to dip their toes into mindfulness is through body poses. To get your kids excited, tell them that doing fun poses can help them feel strong, brave, and happy.

Have the kids go somewhere quiet and familiar, a place they feel safe. Next, tell them to try one of the following poses:

  1. The Superman: this pose is practiced by standing with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out to the sky, stretching the body as tall as possible.
  2. The Wonder Woman: this pose is struck by standing tall with legs wider than hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips (Karen Young, 2017).

Ask the kids how they feel after a few rounds of trying either of these poses. You may be surprised.

 

Spidey-Senses

While on the subject of superheroes, this can be a related “next step” to teach kids how to stay present.

Instruct your kids to turn-on their “Spidey senses,” or the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him. This will encourage them to pause and focus their attention on the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses bring in (Karen Young, 2017).

This is a classic mindfulness exercise and encourages observation and curiosity—great skills for any human to practice.

 

The Mindful Jar

This activity can teach children how strong emotions can take hold, and how to find peace when these strong emotions feel overwhelming.

  • First, get a clear jar (like a Mason jar) and fill it almost all the way with water. Next, add a big spoonful of glitter glue or glue and dry glitter to the jar. Put the lid back on the jar and shake it to make the glitter swirl.
  • Finally, use the following script or take inspiration from it to form your own mini-lesson:

“Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you’re stressed, mad or upset. See how they whirl around and make it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you’re upset – because you’re not thinking clearly. Don’t worry this is normal and it happens in all of us (yep, grownups too).

[Now put the jar down in front of them.]

Now watch what happens when you’re still for a couple of moments. Keep watching. See how the glitter starts to settle and the water clears? Your mind works the same way. When you’re calm for a little while, your thoughts start to settle and you start to see things much clearer. Deep breaths during this calming process can help us settle when we feel a lot of emotions” (Karen Young, 2017).

This exercise not only helps children learn about how their emotions can cloud their thoughts, but it also facilitates the practice of mindfulness while focusing on the swirling glitter in the jar.

Try having the kids focus on one emotion at a time, such as anger, and discuss how the shaken verse settling glitter is like that emotion.

 

Safari

The Safari exercise is a great way to help kids learn mindfulness. This activity turns an average, everyday walk into an exciting new adventure.

Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari: their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them, especially the little ones (Karen Young, 2017).

A similar exercise for adults is the mindfulness walk. This exercise provokes the same response in children that a mindful walk elicits in adults: a state of awareness and grounding in the present.

If you’re interested in more information on how to encourage the practice of mindfulness in children and teens, you can check out the other exercises from this website. Otherwise, head on to the next section where we lay out key tips for teaching these concepts.

 

15 Tips for Teaching Mindfulness to Kids and Teenagers

When you are trying to teach your kids or young clients about mindfulness and its benefit, we recommend you begin with a few guidelines:

  1. Make sure they are ready to give mindfulness a try; if they are full of energy and itching to run and play, it may not be the best time for practicing mindfulness for the first time.

  2. Explain what mindfulness is and what it is not; give examples of what seems similar to mindfulness but is not (i.e., introspection or chasing thoughts down the “rabbit hole” versus listening to our bodies).

  3. Say it in an age-appropriate way, with words they will understand.

  4. Offer to practice mindfulness with them; sometimes having a model makes all the difference.

  5. Assure them that it’s okay to get off track, and how to gently guide themselves back to mindfulness when they realize they lost focus.

  6. Finish the practice by doing something they enjoy with them to ensure they have a positive experience.

7 Tips To Help Children Practice Mindfulness Successfully

Megan Cowan, co-founder, and co-director at the Mindful Schools program in Oakland, also has some tips on how to teach mindfulness to kids (2010):

  1. Keep the purpose of mindfulness practice in mind. Be sure to engage in mindful practice with children in positive situations, and never use it as a disciplinary tool.

  2. Make sure you practice mindfulness yourself!

  3. Set a daily routine for practicing mindfulness to make sure you incorporate it.

  4. Prepare the environment for successful practice; move the furniture around or have everyone switch positions.

  5. Involve students in the process; perhaps designate a different child each day to alert the class when it’s time to practice mindfulness or help set up any tools or props.

  6. Share your own experiences with the kids; this will help them understand how mindfulness is applied and practiced in everyday life. Feel free to share how you redirect yourself when you feel distracted during a mindfulness session.

  7. Encourage the children to share their experiences as well, whether they were good experiences with mindfulness or experiences in which they got distracted. Maybe each session can end with a few students sharing how it went for them.

  8. Practice every day. The more you embed mindfulness into the daily routine, the easier it is to engage.

mom and kid meditating - Teaching Mindfulness to Kids and Teenagers tips activities

Cowan (2010) also includes a short script if you’d like to use her mini-lesson.

Relay the following instructions to your kids:

  • Please get into your mindful bodies–still and quiet, sitting upright, eyes closed.”

  • Now place all your attention on the sound you are about to hear. Listen until the sound is completely gone.”

  • Ring a “mindfulness bell,” or have a student ring the bell. Use a bell with a sustained sound or a rainstick to encourage mindful listening.

  • Please raise your hand when you can no longer hear the sound.”

  • When most or all have raised their hands, you can say, “Now slowly, mindfully, move your hand to your stomach or chest, and just feel your breathing.”

  • You can help students stay focused during the breathing with reminders like, “Just breathing in … just breathing out …

  • Ring the bell to end.

For more in-depth tips and ideas on teaching mindfulness to children, check out the book Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community.

The website from editor and children’s book author Annaka Harris also provides some great ideas for exercises that teach mindfulness to children.

 

8 Mindfulness Games, YouTube Videos, and Apps to Support Your Teachings

Technology offers learning and development for these practices. To ensure that you are using technology to your advantage when it comes to teaching children mindfulness, give some of these resources a try.

 

Mindfulness for Children: Meditations for Kids

This is an application that can be downloaded through the Android app store, iTunes, Google Music, or the Apple app store. Multiple versions are available. There are a few versions that must be purchased and one free version, which offers fewer conveniences than the paid versions.

This app is centered around guided meditation. It is designed to help children relax before bed. Nature sounds and instructions start the sessions. The app can guide the user through a body scan, visualizations, and breathing exercises.

Reviews for this app have been positive and the developers report that parents have seen a reduction in ADHD symptoms by using this app.

For more information or to give this app a try, visit the website.

 

Smiling Minds App

Another application that is popular for children as young as seven is the Smiling Mind app. This app is available through the Apple app store as well as the Google Play store. It is free to download and use.

This app offers similar features to the Mindfulness for Children app, including a body scan activity. There are dozens of modules with hundreds of sessions available, each customized for well-being, education, and the workplace (for adults).

If you’d like to check out the reviews for this app or learn more about it, visit the website.

 

Still Quiet Place

If you’d like to use a video to help your kids learn how to practice mindfulness, the “Mindfulness Exercises for Kids: Still Quiet Place Video” is a great resource. This animated video can help students learn how to go to a “still quiet place.”

Check out the video here, and scroll down to the link below the video to see more activities from GoZen.com.

 

Mindfulness Games for Kids

Several interactive games are available on the Kids Activities Blog. Here are just a few:

  1. Blowing bubbles. Have your kids focus on taking in a deep, slow breath, and exhaling steadily to fill the bubble. Encourage them to pay close attention to the bubbles as they form, detach, and pop or float away.

  2. Pinwheels. Use the same tactics from blowing bubbles to encourage mindful attention on the pinwheels.

  3. Playing with balloons. Tell your kids that the aim of this game is to keep the balloon off the ground, but have them move slowly and gently. You can tell them to pretend the balloon is very fragile if that helps.

  4. Texture bag. Place several small, interestingly shaped or textured objects in a bag. Have each child reach in and touch an object, one at a time, and describe what they are touching. Make sure they don’t take the object out of the bag, forcing them to use only their sense of touch to explore the object.

  5. Blindfolded taste tests. Use a blindfold for each child and have them experience eating a small food, like a raisin or a cranberry, as if it was their first time eating it.

If you want to know about more games you can play with children to teach them about mindfulness, check out the book Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness and Meditation with Children, Teens, and Families by Susan Kaiser Greenland.

 

3 Mindfulness Training Classes For Children with AnxietyMindfulness For Children Improves Their Levels Of Happiness

Mindfulness practice can be an especially important component of a child’s life if they suffer from anxiety. Learning about mindfulness and how to engage in mindfulness can help a child realize that worrying is normal, and there are useful coping methods when we are worrying too much.

Aside from the Mindful Schools program mentioned earlier, there are classes and programs designed especially for children, and even a few that are structured for children with anxiety.

  1. The “Wellness Works in Schools” course is one such class, which has been shown to result in increased self-regulation and executive function (Garey, 2017).

  2. The Hawn Foundation’s MindUP curriculum is also a useful tool for teaching mindfulness to children (Garey, 2017). These courses can help children learn how to manage their stress as they grow up.

  3. There is also a popular course called “MonkeyMind and Me: A Mindfulness Course for Children.” Children learn how to meditate and practice mindfulness over eight one hour sessions held over eight weeks. The lessons are delivered through stories about MonkeyMind, a friendly puppet who has trouble with self-regulation (“MonkeyMind and Me”, 2017). The course includes lessons, opportunities to practice, design of a homemade project, and a graduation ceremony.

The structure of these lessons and exercises transforms teaching mindfulness into an experience everyone might enjoy—and benefit from.

 

The Basics: Teaching Essential Mindfulness Practices and Skills

Before you delve into the classroom, review these basic skills and you may have better success with students and clients learning mindfulness.

 

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is a staple of practicing mindfulness. It is the foundation of many other exercises. To help kids learn how to engage in mindful breathing, you can use a video like the one below:

This video guides children through a breathing meditation by instructing them to imagine a sailboat that rises and falls as they breathe; with each inhale and exhale, the boat moves gently on top of the water.

They also get an opportunity to visualize their breath with a color and focus on the experience of their breath moving through their nostrils. Lastly, the video ends with the exercise of the children imagining (with their eyes closed) that they used to be a fish and paying attention to how it would feel to breathe through their lungs for the first time.

 

Body Scan

kid doing body scan in grass - Teaching Essential Mindfulness Practices and Skills body scan kids The body scan is a key practice in mindfulness, and an easy one to teach to children.

  • Have your kids lie down on their back on a comfortable surface and close their eyes;
  • Then tell them to squeeze every muscle in their body as tight as they can.
  • Tell them to squish their toes and feet, squeeze their hands into fists, and make their legs and arms as hard as stone;
  • After a few seconds, have them release all their muscles and relax for a few minutes;
  • Encourage them to think about how their body is feeling throughout the activity (Roman, 2015).

This simple exercise gets kids to be more aware of their bodies and helps them find a way to be present in the moment.

 

Heartbeat Exercise

Paying attention to one’s heartbeat has a role in many mindfulness exercises and activities. To begin, tell your kids to jump up and down in place or do jumping jacks for one minute.

When they have finished, have them sit down and put a hand over their heart. Instruct them to close their eyes and pay attention only to their heartbeat and, perhaps, their breath as well (Roman, 2015).

This exercise teaches children to notice their heartbeat, and use it as a tool to help their focus. These skills will come in handy as they start engaging in more advanced mindfulness activities.

 

Mindfulness Meditation for Very Young ChildrenMindfulness For Children Improves Their Relationships

You might be thinking that these tips and exercises are great for elementary or middle school students, but less realistic for young children. This section focuses on children who are toddlers through kindergarten graduates.

One mother explained laid out her five strategies for teaching young children mindfulness—starting with her three-year-old child learning mindfulness.

Her strategies are:

  • Teach kids to recognize and identify their own emotions. Children need to associate the word or term for an emotion with the actual experience of feeling that emotion. Encourage them to think about how each emotion feels in their body. Does anger feel like they’ve got steam coming out of their ears? Does love make them feel like their heart is going to burst open?

  • Validate their emotions. Children often respond with frustration or sadness when told that their pain, however trivial it seems to us, is “not a big deal.” When teaching mindfulness, let kids feel their feelings without fear of judgment. Focus instead on teaching them tools to listen to their emotions.

  • Teach kids mindful breathing strategies. As we noted above, mindful breathing is a building block in all mindfulness practices. Children benefit from focusing on their breathing when confronted with emotions that are hard to manage.

The author of the blog laid out three techniques she has put to use with her children:

1. Noticing the breath: this involves simply paying attention to what breathing actually feels like.


2. Five-finger starfish meditation: this breathing technique has kids holding up one hand in a starfish position (fingers spread wide) while they gently trace up and down each finger with the other hand, focusing on regular breathing at the same time.


3. Counting the breath: this technique is what it sounds like: have your children pause and count their breaths. One breath in is “1”, the next breath out is “2,” etc. You can have them count to 10 if they’re very young, or slightly higher depending on their abilities.

breathing kid - mindfulness activities

  • Lead them in a guided meditation. Use a script or an exercise or app like the ones described above for this meditation.

  • Practice what you preach. As we mentioned earlier, it is so important to actually “do as you say.” Kids are intuitive and human nature encourages mimicry, two advantages we can harness when trying to teach (Beach, “Baby Buddhas.”)

Guide your kids every step of the way, but make sure you are taking those steps yourself as well. It will make everyone’s practice richer.

 

The Benefits Of Mindfulness In Schools (K12) + Videos

Mindfulness For Children Improves Their Executive Function

Childhood and adolescence are important developmental stages that will construct the groundwork for mental health in the adult developmental stage.

In recent literature, mindfulness-based school programs have demonstrated a range of social, cognitive, and emotional benefits for elementary and middle-school students.

 

Cognitive Benefits

Teaching mindfulness in schoolsExecutive function is a set of mental skills that constitutes attention, switching focus, planning, organizing, and remembering details.

Research in education suggests that mindfulness practice can lead to improvements in executive function in children.

For instance, in the study of Flook et al., (2010) conducted on 3rd graders, students who went through an 8-week mindfulness program showed improvements in behavioral regulation, metacognition, and focus compared to the control group who did not have the mindfulness program.

In another study, students who had a 24-week mindfulness training scored higher in attentional measures in their elementary school (Napoli et al., 2004). Additionally, a study on preschoolers emphasized that children who went through a mindfulness curriculum for 12 weeks earned higher marks on academic performance measures. They also showed greater improvements in areas that predict future success (Flook et al., 2015).

 

Social Benefits

A social skill is any skill that we use to interact and communicate with others.

Deficits and excesses in social behavior can affect learning, understanding, and classroom climate. Recent research on lower-income and ethnic minority elementary school children highlighted how a 5-week mindfulness curriculum can lead to better participation in activities, as well as nurture a classroom culture of mutual respect and care in 9th-grade students (Black et al., 2013).

 

Emotional Benefits

Emotional health, which is a positive sense of well-being, is an important component of child and adolescent development. Emotional problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression can affect self-esteem, performance, and social interactions.

Mindfulness practice may facilitate the ability to manage stress, and also lead to deeper well-being in students.

According to one study by Schonert-Reichl and his colleagues (2010), mindfulness practice leads to higher scores on self-report measures of optimism and positive emotions in elementary school students.

Moreover, in a study conducted by Wall (2005), self-reported findings showed preteens feeling calmer, with an enhanced experience of well-being—and improved sleep—after a 5-week modified mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

 

Videos on Mindfulness in Schools

These four videos can help students open their minds to the benefits of mindfulness. We recommend pairing any of these segments with a discussion.

Questions for after the selected clip can include, “Has anyone practiced mindfulness, and how has it gone for you?” or “What do you think is the reason most people do not practice mindfulness, and how can we start changing this?”

 

A Take-Home Message

Research confirms that mindfulness can improve mental health by aiding well-being, attention, self-regulation, and social competency. It just needs to be practiced—and encouraged.

Mindfulness-based programs in schools can have a life-long impact on the psychological, social, and cognitive well-being of children and teens. Even at home or with clients, how can you incorporate mindfulness into your teachings and own schedule?

Do you have kids or work with kids on a regular basis? Try these tips and activities out, and let us know how they worked in the comments section below.

Good luck, and remember this old saying:

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our 3 Mindfulness Exercises for free.

If you wish to learn more, Mindfulness X© is our 8-module mindfulness training package for practitioners which contains all the materials you’ll need to not only enhance your mindfulness skills but also learn how to deliver a science-based mindfulness training to your clients, students or employees.

  • Beach, S. R. “Baby Buddhas – Five strategies for teaching mindfulness to children. Retrieved from www.leftbrainbuddha.com.
  • Cowan, M. (2010, May 13). Tips for teaching mindfulness. Retrieved from www.greatergood.berkeley.edu
  • Crescentini, C., Capurso, V., Furlan, S., & Fabbro, F. (2016). Mindfulness-oriented meditation for primary school children: Effects on attention and psychological well-being. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 805.
  • Daigneault, I., Dion, J., Hébert, M., & Bourgeois, C. (2016). Mindfulness as mediator and moderator of post-traumatic symptomatology in adolescence following childhood sexual abuse or assault. Mindfulness, 7, 1306-1315.
  • Karen Young. (2017). Mindfulness for children: Fun, effective ways to strengthen mind, body, spirit. Retrieved from www.heysigmund.com
  • Garey, J. (2017). Mindfulness in the classroom: How it helps kids regulate behavior and focus on learning. Retrieved from https://childmind.org.
  • Harris, A. “Mindfulness for children.” Retrieved from www.annakaharris.com
  • “MonkeyMind and me: A mindfulness course for children”. (2017). Published by MeetTheSelf and YesCreative. Retrieved from www.meettheself.com/classes
  • Roman, K. (2015, April 2). 7 fun ways to teach your kids mindfulness. Retrieved from www.mindbodygreen.com
  • Zhang, D., Chan, S. K. C., Lo, H. H. M., Chan, C. Y. H., Chan, J. C. Y., Ting, K. T., Gao, T. T., Lai, K. Y. C., Bögels, S. M., & Wong, S. Y. S. (2016). Mindfulness-based intervention for Chinese children with ADHD and their parents: A pilot mixed-method study. Mindfulness, 8, 1-14.
  • Zhou, Z., Liu, Q., Niu, G., Sun, X., & Fan, C. (2017). Bullying victimization and depression in Chinese children: A moderated mediation model of resilience and mindfulness. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 137-142.

Mindfulness in Schools references:

  • Black, D.S., & Fernando, R. (2013). Mindfulness training and classroom behavior among lower income and ethnic minority elementary school children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-5.
  • Flook, L., Smalley, S. L., Kitil, M. J., Galla, B. M., Kaiser-Greenland, S., Locke, J., … & Kasari, C. (2010). Effects of mindful awareness practices on executive functions in elementary school children. Journal of Applied School Psychology26(1), 70-95.
  • Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., & Davidson, R. J. (2015). Promoting prosocial behavior and self-regulatory skills in preschool children through a mindfulness-based kindness curriculum. Developmental psychology51(1), 44.
  • Napoli, M., Krech, P. R., & Holley, L. C. (2005). Mindfulness training for elementary school students: The attention academy. Journal of Applied School Psychology21(1), 99-125.
  • Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Lawlor, M. S. (2010). The effects of a mindfulness-based education program on pre-and early adolescents’ well-being and social and emotional competence. Mindfulness1(3), 137-151.
  • T, K. A. (2014). Kinder kindergarten: Mindfulness tips for preschoolers and their families. Retrieved here.
  • Wall, R. B. (2005). Tai chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction in a Boston public middle school. Journal of Pediatric Health Care19(4), 230-237.
  • Wisner, B. L. (2014). An exploratory study of mindfulness meditation for alternative school students: perceived benefits for improving school climate and student functioning. Mindfulness5(6), 626-638.

About the Author

Courtney Ackerman, MSc., is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion.

Comments

  1. Gail Mantel

    Working with young children…
    The activities are very easily adaptable to Early Years Education. I am able to utilise and adapt most of the above ideas for the wellbeing of very young children. Simple and effective

    Reply
  2. eeunknown

    Hi there, using this page as a resource to share with others. Children are already so mindful, its when we lose it we have to take a moment. I will definitely be practicing this myself!
    Thank you for you work.
    ee.unknown

    Reply
  3. Jonna Bacon

    This Mindfulness project is an awesome assit to help our population of children world wide
    Thank you for the information of a newer way to help our student’s at school and home.
    Thank you for helping staff to remaine healthier together in our work place.

    Reply
  4. Ayaan rahman

    All are fhysical activity are very helpful to burn extra calories.

    Reply
  5. Cheryll E.

    Loved the ideas! Look forward to using with my students.

    Reply
  6. Cristina

    Loved the ideas to be used with my little students. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  7. Brian

    Post more! Seriously, I am really digging what you have written so far. I’ve scanning your blog right now for more things to read.

    Reply
  8. Siobhan

    Thank you, Amy! When I see you’ve written an article I go straight to it. Easy to read, concise, informative. You are gifted and I really appreciate you taking the time to research, write and share. May your generosity come back to you tenfold.

    Reply
  9. Asma Jarrar

    Thank you so much ,this was a helpful article ! May god reward you for your kind efforts.

    Reply
  10. Kristen Dykeman

    Such an easy, FREE way to help students and educators…just breathe! These idea are very accessible and need to be implemented into our classrooms. The resources show how simple it would be to make a large, positive impact.

    Reply
  11. prachi sarode

    Wonderful article for students in schools.

    Reply
  12. aliy

    wonderful ideas and easy to follow and clear language

    Reply
  13. aliye

    Great ideas. I found it very easy to read and have been inspired a lot better than some other therapy websites.

    Reply
  14. nazima

    Interesting ideas which can be used in a classroom.Loved the article.

    Reply
  15. Mary Jane Thompson

    Printed articles today. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Roxanne Reichow

    Very interesting.

    Reply
  17. Cheryl Szott

    Great article!

    Reply
  18. Margaret Rodgers

    Hi, I am Margaret Rodgers. Thanks for your great article. I think If you’ve read CanDo Kiddo for long, you know I LOVE activity gyms and frequently recommend strategic toy placement from them to help promote head turning in babies (to help prevent Flat Head Syndrome / Plagiocephaly and Torticollis). Three to four months is a great time to start hanging toys over your baby’s belly and feet. Not only will she be motivated to practice the new skill of tucking her chin, she’ll also likely start working on bringing her hands together and kicking her feet – other important skills of this age range. Learn more about activity gyms and how to choose the best one for baby.

    Reply
  19. Maria Teresa G. de Guzman

    I find it very interesting. Congratulations!

    Reply
  20. Phill

    heloo thereeeeeee

    Reply
  21. Katherine McKenzie

    Thank you!

    Reply
  22. Kim Adams

    Awesome!!

    Reply
  23. Brandi

    Interesting information, will have to try.

    Reply
  24. Annette Schiano

    wonderful ideas

    Reply
  25. Annette Schiano

    thank you!!

    Reply
  26. luke

    thanks website

    Reply
  27. Lea

    Hi,
    I currently work in a school with teenagers with autism, learning disabilities and behavioural issues. Can you direct me to anything that is specifically aimed at autism research? I am going to adapt and try the great things you have mentioned above. Looking forward to it!

    Reply
  28. Urvi Shah

    Thank you for creating this wealth of knowledge and easy to use skills for sharing the mindful pathways with kids and adults! Much Appreciated!

    Reply
  29. Holly Burt

    Our school is implementing high school reform this year and have added an activity period. I have minimal experience in mindfulness and have just been assigned to teach mindfulness to a class of high school students on a weekly basis during the school’s activity period. Do you have special pricing for schools who have limited resources, or for teachers like me who are expected to provide a quality program without financial help from the school? Unfortunately, the $450 price is not in the budget at this time. Do you have any other resources that would be less costly that would be appropriate for my situation? Thank you.

    Reply
  30. Julie McMahon

    I shared this on my Facebook page a few months before I began an Education topic on teaching Mindfulness to children. It was then that I discovered that Mindfulness can also have adverse effects for some children, particularly those who have experienced some kind of trauma. As traumatic experiences are common in our society, I learnt that it is very important to seek feedback from children on how they experience different Mindfulness practices. I learnt that practices that focus away from the inner body, where emotions are felt, such as the soles of the feet meditation are safer to practice. https://psychcentral.com/lib/book-review-trauma-sensitive-mindfulness/#.W1me6w9HyFg.linkedin

    Reply
  31. Tiffany Strong

    love

    Reply
  32. Debbie Atkinson

    Thanks for pointing it out.I also really believe in the benefits of mindfulness for youngsters.

    Reply
  33. Anne Gallien

    Merci Courtney

    Reply
  34. Kimberly J. Hartnett

    Thank you, Courtney, for your very helpful article and links. I teach 5th grade in Carmel, CA and will be co-leading a staff workshop in June, 2018 on mindfulness for children and for teachers. I wonder if you have any recommendations, links or resources for teaching mindfulness at the middle school and high school level, AND resources for teaching teachers to practice mindfulness themselves. Thank you!

    Reply
  35. Gina Agostini

    Interested in mindfulness with children, please add to your list for subscription, thanks

    Reply
  36. susan kelly

    Pre-School thru 12th grade educators need Social Emotional and Mindful curricula with common core outcome connections for every subject area, especially the Core4. Peace…

    Reply
  37. nay

    Hi Courtney, these are great tips. Thanks so much. I was hoping you could fix the link to the how and why infographic. It’s coming up at the tips and tricks one. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Jessie van den Heuvel

      The link is fixed, thanks for pointing it out! 🙂

      Reply
  38. Rina Reddy

    Great article…I really believe in the benefits of mindfulness for youngsters

    Reply
  39. Beverley Knight-Davis

    some fantastic strategies to use with children to reduce anxiety
    I interested in developing mindfulness as part of Nurture practice in school.
    B.Knight

    Reply
  40. Sue

    Thanks for the article, Courtney.
    These are great tips

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      No problem, Sue! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      That’s great to hear your kids enjoy the body scan! It’s never too early to start kids on a regular mindfulness practice. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  41. Sapna Jain

    Hi cortney, amazing list and great ideas. For today’s generation these mindful activities are really needed. Parents should escape one or two hour from their busy schedules and take good care of their children for their healthy upbringing.

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      I agree, Sapna. I think mindfulness can have great benefits for children, but the most important thing to do when raising a child is simply to be present for him or her.

      Reply
  42. Cassie Nguyen

    This is such a great collection of activities. Thank you for collating them! I was just going to suggest that rather than referencing “Excite Media, 2017” (who are a web-development company) that Karen Young, the author of the Hey Sigmund website be referenced as the source. Particularly given that there are direct quotes here from her website.

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Good idea! Thanks for the suggestion, Cassie!

      Reply
  43. david danforth, MS

    Hi!
    I started making exercises that world teach Chi a long time ago. My research started while I was trying to find out why my body was able to heal its self after years of abuse. An exercise that I created was able to do just that. I called it DMA which stands for Designed Mechanics of the Anatomy. It lubricates the body by allowing healing fluids to flow along the muscles, to rejuvenate heal.
    I wrote a book to pass on what I learned to share with others. The book is called, The Secrets of Chi, The Chi Book.

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Hi David, congratulations on your book! Thanks for the recommendation.
      If I might ask, what are these healing fluids?

      Reply
      • david

        Today, Mindfulness Studies offer an early childhood Self- Awareness programs for early enlightenment. Check out the Secretes of Chi Book by David D Danforth, on Amazon for exercises on how to develope a true state of Consciousness. And, other interesting facts about ourselves.
        Why is Mindfulness so important?
        Mindfulness is the beginning Step To Awareness
        Mindfulness can add to the quality of our lives in numerous ways, from nurturing a sense of inner peace to improving the quality of a workout, from enhancing self-confidence to facilitating deeper and more meaningful relationships with others.
        In children specifically, Mindfulness has been found to: mitigate the effects of bullying (Zhou, Liu, Niu, Sun, & Fan, 2016)
        Enhance focus in children with ADHD (Zhang et al., 2016)
        Reduce attention problems (Crescentini, Capurso, Furlan, & Fabbro, 2016).
        Improve mental health and wellbeing
        Improve social skills when well taught and practiced in children and adolescents.
        It’s important for caregivers and educators to provide age-appropriate Mindfulness practices for children. Fostering Mindfulness through small tools such as pictures, objects, food, simple movements, and music for preschoolers can help them develop an ability focus attention at a great level.
        For instance, in a study by Flook et al., (2015), they had an activity called ‘’Belly Buddies’’ in which kids listened to music while being asked to notice the sensation of small tone on their stomachs rising and falling as they breathe. Simple activities like these can have long-lasting developmental benefits when practiced regularly.
        15 Tips for Teaching Mindfulness to Kids and Teenagers
        When you are trying to teach your kids or young clients about what Mindfulness is and how it can benefit them, it’s best to start off with a few simple guidelines:
        1. Make sure they are ready to give Mindfulness a try; if they are full of energy and itching to run and play, it may not be the best time for practicing Mindfulness for the first time.
        2. Explain what mindfulness is and what it is not; give examples of what might be similar to Mindfulness (i.e., introspection, chasing thoughts down the “rabbit hole”), but is not truly Mindfulness.
        3. Say it in an age appropriate way; put it in words they will understand but take care not to make them feel like you are talking down to them.
        4. Offer to practice Mindfulness with them; sometimes having a model makes all the difference.
        5. Assure them that it’s okay to get off track, and share with them how to gently guide themselves back to Mindfulness.
        6. Afterwards, finish the practice by doing something they enjoy with them to ensure they have a positive experience.
        Relay the following instructions to your kids:
        • “Please get into your ‘mindful bodies’ – still and quiet, sitting upright, eyes closed.”
        • “Now place all your attention on the sound you are about to hear. Listen until the sound is completely gone.”
        • Ring a “Mindfulness bell,” or have a student ring the bell. Use a bell with a sustained sound or a rainstick to encourage mindful listening.
        • “Please raise your hand when you can no longer hear the sound.”
        • When most or all have raised their hands, you can say, “Now slowly, mindfully, move your hand to your stomach or chest, and just feel your breathing.”
        • You can help students stay focused during the breathing with reminders like, “Just breathing in … just breathing out …”
        • Ring the bell to end
        Awareness and its importance to Mindfullness
        Why? Meridians of the body and Awareness act as one. They affect every organ and physiological system inside of us. They are invisible to the human eye, yet without them we could not sustain life. In the same way that arteries carry blood, meridians carry energy, often referred to as chi, qi or prana. Meridians are our body’s “energy bloodstream”; they bring vitality and balance, and remove energy blockages, stagnations and imbalances. They also adjust the metabolism, determine speed, and control cellular change.
        Their flow is as critical as the flow of blood; your life and health depend on both. Meridians of the body affect all major systems including: immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and the lymphatic system. If a meridian’s energy is obstructed or unregulated, the system it feeds on is jeopardized, and disease results.
        There are 12 major Meridians in the body;
        Lung meridian Large intestine meridian, Spleen meridian, Stomach meridian, Heart meridian, Small intestine meridian, Bladder meridian, Kidney meridian, Pericardium (Circulation/Sex) meridian, Triple Warmer meridian, Liver meridian, Gallbladder meridian. These major meridians of the body are responsible for nourishing their corresponding organ and the other organs around them, fueling and feeding them with energy. Each meridian plays a specific and integral role in their organs health. Deficient meridian energy and excess meridian energy are both problematic and can cause damage to that meridian’s organ system.
        There are certain places along the meridians where energy pools, making the chi, qi or prana more accessible there than elsewhere. These “energy hotspots” are more familiarly referred to as acupuncture points and at these specific points energies can be manipulated – either increasing or decreasing the flow.
        When energy flowing through the meridians becomes blocked or stagnant, or, when too much energy is overwhelming a meridian these acupuncture points can be accessed to clear blockages and remove unwanted excess or stagnant energy. Often acupuncture and acupressure techniques are used to relieve energetic imbalances in the meridians; the ancient Chinese practice of Qi Gong is often employed as well.
        Acupuncture and acupressure both use the same meridians and points in their healing, the difference is that acupuncture uses needles while acupressure uses both soft and firm touches on the points to generate the flow of energy. Qi Gong is somewhat different. Qi gong uses breath work, gentle movement and meditation to cleanse and strengthen the meridians and the energy running through them. All three techniques of cleansing and balancing the energy flow through the meridians are forms of preventative medicine.
        This does not mean acupuncture, acupressure and qi gong cannot be used as treatments, in fact this is quite the contrary. These are the traditional techniques used in Chinese Medicine (TMC) to cure people suffering from all types of diseases and many westerners have begun turning to these treatments as well. This is Eastern medicine. It’s Medicine that has been around for thousands of years. I’m not denying that sometimes it is necessary to go the Western route, and that surgery and antibiotics have saved millions of lives. But, living a joyful, healthy existence is at the core of every human being; it is part of our birthright. Why suffer through emotional and physical pain when a life of joy and health is as easy as balancing your meridians and refocusing your energy?
        What is Advanced Applied Physiology (AP)
        Applied Physiology combines the entire nature of human existence into just one controlling factor. It is when knowledge, physical interaction, and total Awareness functions as one. This creates a very important tool; one that allows us to communicate our needs to our bodies, without having to tell them what to do, which it already knows. This tool is called being Will Driven. And! Only then is it possible to tap into the full potential of our minds knowledge and strengths, to use our true inherited right “Universal Power “.
        There are many things that we can learn from Applied Physiology, here are just a few:
        1) The concept of 7 States of Stress of a muscle
        2) The expansion of the Chinese 5 Element system
        3) DMA (Designed Mechanics of the Anatomy) and its 5 Keys, which integrates the physical with the metaphysical.
        4) Three-dimensional approach to the body based on holographic theory, as well as unique approaches to other methodologies.
        5 AP’s own 7 Chi Keys, a proprietary system of balancing the 7 major chakra centers using acupuncture points, Meridian tuning forks (Brainwaves ‘Neuroscience’), and crystals.
        The idea that the physical world is but a holographic image is astonishing and even disturbing, but was pioneered quite a long time ago by two of the world’s most prominent scientists: American-born British physicist David Bohm (1917 – 1992), widely considered one of the best quantum physicists of all time and protégé of Albert Einstein a quantum physicist, and a neurophysiologist at Stanford University, Austrian-born, Karl Pribram, who, in fact predicted the holographic nature of perception and memory.
        They were the main supporters of this great theory; they worked independently and from completely different directions, but they reached the same conclusions. Both scientists were dissatisfied with standard theories that could not explain diverse phenomena encountered in quantum physics and puzzles related to neurophysiology of the brain. This allows the practitioner to gain information not just about a specific, but how a meridian relates to each of the other meridians.
        The Holographic Principle:
        The Holographic Principle is a property of quantum gravity and String Theories that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a boundary to the region—preferably a light-like boundary like a gravity national horizon. First proposed by Gerard’t Hooft, it was given a precise string—theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind who combined his ideas with previous ones of Gerard ‘t Hooft’s and Charles Thorn’s. As pointed out by Raphael Bousso, Thorn observed in 1978 that String Theories admits a lower-dimensional description in which gravity emerges from it in what would now be called a Holographic Way.
        In a larger and more speculative sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as a two-dimensional information structure “painted” on the Cosmologic logical horizon, such that the three dimensions we observe are only an effective description at macroscopic scale and at low energies. Cosmologic logical Holography has not been made mathematically precise, partly because the Cosmological Holography Horizon has a finite area and grows with time.
        The world around us looks so real, and to proclaim that it is only an illusion may seem sheer nonsense. How can it be? Yet, it is possible to accept this idea. It is made up of a combination of materials, but it functions as a unit. Can you say confidently that you are just a body? Are you the hair that is cut and thrown away when you go to the hairdresser? Are you your fingers nails, nose, legs or thighs? The body changes through the years, and many thoughts pass through the mind every day.
        Then who are you? The answer comes when you can transcend your mind. Spiritual traditions and experience say that you are an inseparable part of the eternal, impersonal consciousness that created the world and infused life into everything, including this conglomeration of body, feelings and thoughts that you call “me”. This Life Principle – Consciousness, is the only real thing, and every manifestation is created by it, and therefore is dependent on it.
        Can you become aware of this Consciousness? When you develop some inner detachment and inner peace, you will be able to turn your attention within you, instead of to the external world, and then you will become aware of the Consciousness that is beyond the mind. Silence of the mind is the prerequisite for becoming Aware of this Consciousness. Only when the mind is silenced (see exercise one, ref. Secretes of Chi page 31, listed on Amazon) and there are no thoughts, you realize who you really are – the vast, eternal Consciousness.
        If you watch a movie with inner detachment, you can still enjoy it, yet you are not agitated by what happens in it. You know it is just a movie, the projection of light and color on a screen. After gaining inner peace and silence, and becoming aware of your real self, you see the world and live in it, but, at the same time you understand that it is not real. This helps you stay calm and detached in all kinds of situations.
        When you are Spirituality Illusion, nothing can affect your mind and moods. You may still need to work and interact with other people and the world around you, yet you will do so while remaining uninvolved in Consciousness, as if outside of the world. The mind and its thoughts create your world – the illusion you are living in. Though thoughts and imagination create the mold and affect our world, but as your thoughts are, so is your world.
        When you becom aware to your real Consciousness, you will be able to master your mind and thoughts, and therefore if needed, be able to change your illusion – your world, through the creative power of your mind. By focusing your mind on the thoughts, you choose, you can affect your “reality” accordingly.
        You might say that after Spiritual Awakening you will be beyond the world’s illusion, and material things will not matter anymore. This is true, but, the illusion must be lived. You must eat, pay bills and take care of the body. It is true, you will approach these matters in a completely different way, but you will still need to take care of them. Even an enlightened master must eat, drink and sleep. Going beyond the mind, beyond the illusion of the world, puts a great power and responsibility in your hands, for then you have the power to affect the world. Your awakened Awareness is an immense power that can stimulate the spiritual awakening in others. As all Consciousness is one, calming down your mind, going beyond it, and becoming conscious of your real being, and to some extent, affects the whole world.
        This Awareness exists twenty-four hours a day without any interruption. Everything takes place, happens and arises within this Consciousness. To understand and experience it, we do not have to create it, travel anywhere or arrive somewhere. There is no such thing as reaching or developing this Awareness. It is not an outside thing or state that one has to strive to reach. All we must do in order to be aware of it is to silence the mind and its constant chatter of our senses (see exercise one, page 31).
        We are so completely immersed in our thoughts and sensations that we can’t sense our true state of Awareness. This is because our inner consciousness is on a much higher plain than the brain, and it does not participate in it processes or know anything about it. Though the brain is a great instrument it has limitations. But! Only without our demanding thoughts and senses, can we experience a different kind of Awareness; one where our inner Consciousness is at the background of everything and is present in everything.
        The stronger the silence the more a person becomes aware of this state. It may seem to come and go, but it is the mind that arises and subsides over it, that covers and uncovers it. The coming and going is of the mind, not the Consciousness. In time, this state may be experienced not only occasionally, during meditation or in a retreat, but always, everywhere, and under all circumstances.
        The silence of the mind that one experiences, while being aware of this inner world is a not the silence of lifelessness. In this silence there is power, life and light. When it is experienced, inner happiness, joy, and a sense of power arise. We feel that we are in contact with everything in the universe, and that all Consciousness is one.
        The fact is that during sleep the world around us is non-existent to us. Dreams seem very real, but upon awakening, we realize that they were just Dreams. Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great Indian sage, has said that the difference between add ream while sleeping and the dream we call wakefulness is only of duration, one short and the other one long. A world is created, based on our interpretation of what we see, hear, and perceive through our five senses. But! What if we can decide how we want to interpret the illusion we call reality? Will it be real? Or will it just be another illusion?

        Reply
        • Sue

          Hey David
          Why have you copied half of what you’ve written from the article above?

          Reply
          • Sue

            Couldn’t find your book on line, by the way: could you please send a link?

  44. Lilly

    So glad i came across this reading. It will help me build a mindful program for middle school children, and to start practicing with my own children. I’m so excited to start my research.. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      That’s so great to hear, Lilly! I’m glad this piece has been helpful for you.

      Reply
  45. Jorge

    Incredible

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Thank you Jorge! I’m so glad you enjoyed this article.

      Reply
  46. Francesca

    Great work. These practical, tools and tips are sorrely needed by parents today, and I say this as a mother and someone finishing a Ph.D. In mindfulness!

    Reply
    • Jessie van den Heuvel

      Glad you enjoy it Francesca and thanks for leaving a comment!

      Reply
  47. Bindi

    Absolutely amazing

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Thank you Bindi! Happy to provide 🙂

      Reply
  48. Bikash shrestha

    Wow great work … thankx for sharing

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Thanks Bikash!

      Reply
  49. My love from Athens

    Thank you for sharing and mostly practising to kids!! I hope one day we Greeks do it here , too. I’ ll start with my students????????

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Great idea – sometimes we have to start things up ourselves! Good luck to you in Greece!

      Reply
  50. Linda Maurice

    Thank you so much for sharing – wonderful resources and information and perfect timing as Im delivering a mindfulness workshop for early years teachers in March

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Perfect timing! I hope your workshop went well Linda!

      Reply
  51. Gráinne Magee

    Love these tips!! Im soo interested in mindfulness for both children and their parents as i feel its soo much more beneficial when the family practice mindfulness together!! Please keep me updated i work with children and ive 4 children of my own thanks a mill x

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Hi Grainne, thank you for leaving a comment! I agree – the family that practices mindfulness together is better prepared for stress and difficulty. Make sure to check in with this blog for regular doses of mindfulness info!

      Reply
  52. Shahida

    Wonderful post thank you

    Reply
    • Seph Fontane Pennock

      Thanks Shahida! Courtney and Jessie are doing amazing work over here to make these resources available to everyone 🙂

      Reply
  53. Farzana Nur

    I am very much interested in your Mindful exercises for adults and children . Please keep me update . Thanks

    Reply

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