In simple terms, mindfulness is all about noticing what’s happening right now. It’s about being calm and connected to your five senses: sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste. When life gets busy, your brain can sometimes get lost in worries. The TV, iPad, and phone can be pretty distracting, too. That’s why mindfulness activities are important for kids. Practicing mindfulness can help you focus and feel better.
Why is Mindfulness Important for Kids?
Mindfulness is your one of your body’s superpowers! Your 5 senses give you clues on how to be safe and happy.
When you turn the page of a book, your skin feel the crisp edges of the paper. As you walk on the street, your ears hear the “zoom” of a motorcycle zipping by. These sensations gives your brain information. Then, you use that knowledge to avoid the sting of a paper cut, and you stay on sidewalk until the street is quiet and safe to cross.
Mindfulness also brings joy and comfort, like when you smell your favorite food, or look at a beautiful flower.
Benefits of Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Here are just a few ways that mindfulness can help your body and mind:
How Mindfulness Helps your Body
- Slow a racing heart beat
- Lower blood pressure
- Calm fast breathing
- Relax tense muscles
How Mindfulness Helps Your Mind
- Boost attention span
- Listen and communicate better
- Feel less stress
Simple Mindfulness Activities for Kids
These easy exercises can help you practice mindfulness. Remember, everyone is different! Explore these mindfulness activities, and see which ones you like best.
The 5 Senses Countdown
- What do you see? Name and describe 5 things that you can see with your eyes.
- What can you hear? Name and describe 3 sounds you hear with your ears.
- What can you feel? Name and describe the texture of 3 things you can touch with your hands.
- What can you smell? Name and describe 2 things you can smell with your nose.
- What can you taste? Name and describe 1 thing you can taste in your mouth.
Slow Down at Snack Time
Imagine grabbing a huge bag of chips, plopping down on the couch, and turning on the TV. After the show ends, you realize that you somehow ate the whole bag! When your busy watching a video or doing something else, you can accidentally eat too much. Your hand can keep feeding your mouth mindlessly.
The opposite happens when you focus on your food: your brain and body can communicate better! You can notice if the smell is rancid or see if there is fuzzy mold – signs that you should not take a bite. If the meal is fresh and delicious, you can notice that your stomach feels full – a sign that you should probably box up the leftovers.
If you want to get in the habit of eating mindfully, ask yourself these questions at snack or meal time:
- Sight: What is the color, shape, and texture outside and inside the food?
- Touch: What do your fingers feel as you hold the food? What does your mouth feel as you chew and swallow the food? As the food travels down the esophagus and stomach, do you feel any changes in your chest and belly?
- Sound: What do you hear when you open, peel, cut? What do you hear when you bite and chew the food?
- Smell: What odors do you notice when you open, peel, or cut the food?
- Taste: What flavors – salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami – do you notice?
Study the Sky
What do you see in the sky? Look out the window or go outside and lay on the grass.
Use your eyes to notice the colors in the sky and the puffs of clouds. Do the shapes of the clouds remind you of anything? A cuddly cat or piles of poop? Get creative with your imagination!
Try this mindfulness activity at different times of day. Have you noticed the pink, purple, and orange colors that show up at sunrise and sunset?
Stroll for Sounds
Go for a walk outside. What sounds do you hear? If you’re surrounded by nature, how many animal sounds do you hear? If you’re in a busy city, how many honking horns can you count?
If you aren’t able to go outside, what sounds do you notice at home? Do you hear the hum of the heater, fan, or air conditioner? Can you hear the soft tick of a clock?
Have a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt
Walk around and see how many things of each color you can see. Go through the colors of the rainbow in order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Write down what you see or draw them in a journal.
Younger kids can have a lot of fun going on a rainbow scavenger hunt, too!
Teens and grown-ups can also bring a camera and take photos of what they see.
Read Books about Mindfulness Activities
Reading out loud is one of the best mindfulness activities for kids. When you use more senses, you can be more focused during reading. In addition to touching the page and seeing the words, you can hear the words you are seeing. Some people even love the smell of books which means they are using four senses during reading time!
Books can also give us reminders and tips for being mindful. Check out these great children’s books about the senses and mindfulness.