It is normal to experience a range of emotions and feelings. Giving children the skills to understand and recognize their emotions can help them when they need it most. Whether you are a parent, educator or someone who has a role in a child’s life, this list of mindfulness activities for kids may have positive effects on mental health and help to calm and relax the mind and body.
Mindfulness activities do not only need to be given to children when they are stressed or close to a breakdown. Make the activities available to children throughout the day to use when they simply need, or want, to take a minute to calm their bodies and minds.
Doing mindful activities when children are already calm, can give you a chance to encourage children to reflect on how their mind and body feels when they are relaxed and happy.
Being mindful encourages children to stop, or slow down, and pay close attention to their breathing and feelings. Taking a moment to calm their bodies and minds. This can be done in many ways including through a hands-on activity or simple breathing/calming technique.
Ways to calm down can include a relaxing activity with no other distractions, talking about emotions and feelings, using a hands-on sensory material to focus on and relax the body and even physical movement to calm the body and mind.
Personally, I like to offer different mindful activities to children. It gives them choice and it also allows them to have options depending on the different emotions they are feeling.
Using Mindfulness Activities
When doing mindfulness activities for kids, remember that what may work for one child may not work for another. Try different things for different children.
Take a look through the 50 Mindfulness Activities for Kids below and choose activities that you think your children will enjoy. Try different ideas on a regular basis and revisit when you are looking for something new to try.
Click the title/link below each image for a full activity description.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids – Crafts
Creating simple crafts can be calming for children. Many crafts can then be used for simple relaxation exercises afterwards. Try one of the mindful crafts below.
These mindfulness stones were a huge success when I created them with over one hundred kindergarten children. Each child can create a stone with clay and mark it with their fingerprint. They are very smooth, and calming to touch and rub.
Use two materials from around the house to make these simple mindfulness sticks. Children can calmly and quietly move the beads as they control their breathing.
A simple art project can be a great way to calm down. For kids, painting can be very calming and relaxing especially when the purpose for painting is to simply enjoy and relax.
Using aluminum foil for the background creates a uniquely smooth surface. Let children paint and create whatever they want.
Create a calming atmosphere and start a scribble art collage. Enjoy the environment and process and be free as you create.
My children would love creating these! If you have ever done felt art before you know that even the feel and look of the felt can be calming. Create something beautiful with this unique material.
Sitting with friends, quietly, mindfully creating friendship bracelets is an activity that I remember from my childhood. Check out this post for clear, step by step instructions on how to create various beautiful designs.
Create a miniature peace garden for children to quietly and mindfully play and create with. Use simple materials to create one of these beautiful gardens.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids – Activities
There are lots of mindfulness activities that you can do with children. Whether you are working with a large group of children, such as in a classroom, or simply with your own child(ren) at home, you can try a few of the mindfulness activities below to keep reinforcing kindness and calming strategies.
I always use this as a back to school activity, but it is a great activity any time of year. Communicate and discuss with children some of the things they can do to be mindful and kind and think about what nice things others do for them.
Crystal grids are a great, hands-on mindfulness activity that encourage children to slow down, and relax as they create. To learn more about this mindful activity, click here.
Although these are intended for children, who wouldn’t love creating and relaxing with one of these? A DIY Zen garden is an easy activity to create and is a great calming activity to have available to children.
Looking for a mindful activity that you can take on a car ride or use in a quiet corner in a classroom? These No Sew I Spy Bags are easy to make and calming to use.
Trying different strategies for different children to try as they cope with their emotions and process different events, is a great idea and strategy. Try putting your thoughts on ice with this hands-on activity.
Finding quiet activities for even young children can be challenging. Try creating a DIY quiet book filled with calming, engaging activities to keep children relaxed and playing for hours. Quiet books are even ideal for car rides and travel.
Mindfulness Activities – Fidget Toys
Get kids involved in creating a calming toy for them to use. Try a DIY fidget spinner with instructions in the post below. Free printable available.
Fidget toys are very popular today, but did you know you can make your own? Use simple materials such as clay or sand to create an assortment of calming fidget toys.
If you have seen marble mazes in stores, you know they are very popular right now. Create your own, unique, marble maze for children. I love how soft and calming this one would be to hold and relax as you push the marble through.
For young children, create a zipper toy for them to play with and keep them busy and calm as they play. This is also an easy toy for kids to take with them when they leave home.
Stress balls are a great way for kids to relax. Since fidget toys are so popular right now, kids are likely to enjoy making and playing with homemade stress balls. Try this super cute mermaid stress ball using simple materials.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids – Printables
Having a printed visual to help remind children some strategies to stay calm and what they can do when they need to manage their breathing and calm their body helps even young children. Try printing some of these pages to have on hand for kids to use.
Click the image below for a few printables for mental health and well being. Children can trace their hand on the printable as they learn the breathing strategy.
This is a great strategy to use and think about the five senses. Print the free printable to help children regulate their emotions.
Download the free printable finger labyrinth to calm and relax as you trace the winding path.
Kids love scavenger hunts! Go on mental health scavenger hunt with these free printable scavenger hunt pages.
Give a quiet moment for children to look around them and find objects that start with different letters of the alphabet. This also encourages children to be mindful of things around them.
Add some mindfulness to your child’s art with these free Under the Sea drawings. As children trace and draw, the lines are calming and smooth. A few short sentences on each direct children to be mindful as they trace. Fall and Under the Sea pages available.
Drawing and coloring can be very calming for adults and children. Download these free printable mindful pages to create a journal, bookmark and even a card.
Mindful Activities – Sensory + Scents
Incorporating smell and touch into a child’s play is another easy way to encourage mindfulness. Children tend to love hands-on activities so adding scents and unique textures to their play is a great way to increase calm and relaxation as they play.
Kids love to make slime. Take your slime recipe to another level with this aromatherapy lavender slime. This is fun to make and as children play with the slime the calming lavender scent will fill the air.
Sometimes the most simple ideas are the most engaging for children. Create some soap foam to entertain children and calm them, like a warm bubble bath.
Get a little messy with this lavender sensory soap for kids to play with. Kids will love the feel of the soap foam and relax with the lavender scent.
The look, smell and feel of these would be amazing. Easily dye and add scent to beans to create this fun sensory activity.
This would be a great summer mindfulness activity for kids! Add a whole new level to bubble blowing with these scented bubbles in calming lavender. Even blowing and watching bubbles float through the air can help create calm.
Create sensory bags filled with fun materials kids can’t help but touch. Walk on the sensory bags or touch them with your hands to get the full experience.
As much fun as Jello is to eat, it also makes a great calming, sensory activity. Add in some alphabet letters to make it a learning activity that would also be great in the classroom.
If you have ever handled moon sand before, you know that it has an amazing, soft and calming texture. With just two ingredients you can create moon sand for your little ones.
Try a twist on regular painting with this sensory color wheel activity. Add some texture to the paint to make a whole new sensory experience for children. Free printable included.
Mindful Activities – Sensory Bottles
Sensory jars, or bottles, are a popular, go-to mindfulness activity for kids. They are easy and inexpensive to make. Whether you are a teacher creating with your whole class or a parent looking for an easy, hands-on calming activity for your child(ren), a sensory jar is a great place to start.
Below you will find a variety of sensory jars. Each filled with something different. Look through the ideas and choose one that you think your child would most enjoy. This is also a great opportunity for children to create their own calming object.
Read about some of the ways to use sensory bottles, ideas of what to fill them with and some of the benefits.
I definitely know some kids who would love this sensory bottle! Add some googly eyes to your sensory bottle to create a monster eye sensory bottle.
Water beads are incredible to play with and get your hands on. Even adults won’t be able to help themselves when they see the beads. Create a rainbow water beads sensory bottle.
Sensory bottles are easy to make and can provide hours of calming activity. If you have never held or turned a sensory bottle, they are worth creating.
Try an outer space themed sensory bottle. When all of the glitter inside is swirling around you can’t see the other pieces inside, but as it settles all of the outer space themed pieces inside become visible. Kids will love watching as everything is the bottle is revealed.
Easily create calming bottles for children to use when they need support to relax their bodies. Even adults will be mesmerized watching the glitter fall.
This is a creative twist on a regular sensory jar. As beautiful as the fall is with the colorful leaves, you can capture these moments in a sensory jar. This is simple to make and calming to watch.
Allow children to create their own mindful, meditation jar. It is a great art project and gives children a calming jar to use when they need or want it.
How beautiful are these galaxy in a jar sensory containers? Create something beautiful with, and for, children.
Rustling waves, the calming waters, who doesn’t love watching the ocean waves? Create your own little ocean in a bottle with this ocean in a jar sensory bottle.
Wouldn’t this make a beautiful gift? There are lots of ideas for sensory jars. Take pieces of each that you love to create one personalized for you, or your child. This jar has a beautiful label on it and is filled with calming colors to make an ideal sensory jar.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids – Lessons
I am always looking for lessons that I can try with a large group. However, the activities and lessons below can even be used for one child. Sometimes having an adult teach and model mindfulness and relaxation is necessary for children new to calming strategies.
Talk to children about making priorities and focusing on the things that matter most. This mental health lesson is ideal for teachers or parents as a visual for why it is important to not get distracted and focus on things that are not of value.
Take some time to S.T.O.P and reflect on emotions and feelings. When things are overwhelming, give kids the tools they need to S.T.O.P and process their feelings.
Help children regulate their bodies with something familiar – traffic lights!
Yoga is a great way to help children relax their minds and bodies. Click below for videos and yoga activities for kids. From babies to teens, it is easy to incorporate yoga into your day and mindfulness routine.
I remember when one of my kids were upset and they took a deep breath and started doing some mindful breathing strategies they had learned in school. I was so impressed and happy that they had been given this tool and knew when and how to use it.
Check out this post about different types of mindful breathing techniques for anyone to try.
Teaching children about mindfulness and mental health isn’t expensive. If children are given the tools they need at an early age it can help them throughout life. Mindfulness in early childhood environment is important and meaningful. Find some tips and strategies in the post below.
Mindfulness and Calm Down Kits
Create a kit filled with activities and strategies for children to use when they feel they need to calm down. Include simple things for kids to keep on hand. I love this idea as a teacher to give children at the beginning of the year, or on the last day of school to have over the summer.
I love the idea of a calm down kit. Even to have it stored in my classroom ready to be used by children, when needed. I have included this second calm down kit idea because when making a kit I like to include as many things that I feel would benefit my children. Combine the above kit with this one for the ultimate calm down kit.
Free Mindfulness Choice Board
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To tie in with all of the mindful activities above, you will find a Mindfulness Choice Board in the library. The choice board gives children options for mindful, relaxing activities that they can try. Ideal for classroom or home use.
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Social Emotional Learning
Mindfulness is a very important skill to teach children. Whether in the classroom or at home, there are lots of activities you can do to help support your child and their emotional needs. If you are looking for center ideas and hands-on printable activities for your child to engage in, below is my popular Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness package.
More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you like the mindful ideas and activities, check out the collection below of more hands-on activities and lessons for children.
From homemade paint made from things found in nature and outdoor learning activities to social emotional math lessons and worksheets to nature art activities, there is lots to keep kids busy, and learning.