Is your brain on overload the way mine is? And your kids’ too? This is why I am looking into mindfulness. To help me with the mental clutter. I’m pretty vigilant about not over committing us to things and I limit the activities that my kids can be enrolled in.

Still, sometimes we’re on overload and could benefit from mindfulness. And mindfulness activities are something that the whole family can do. Here are some free mindfulness activities for kids.

A little girl practicing mindfulness, sitting in the grass and gazing at the sun.

Mindfulness Activities for Kids

It’s hard to believe, but there are actual studies showing that it can help kids with various disabilities too. I’ve been interested in this for a while but am just now getting around to reading about it.

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It fits in well with the Blue Zone and minimalist lifestyle we are trying to adopt. And, since I read it helps with anxiety, and I have anxiety issues, I’m in!

          A beginner's guide to mindfulness: A hand holding a dandelion at sunset.

Origins of Mindfulness

Mindfulness has ancient roots and is derived from Buddhism. The modern day version is about achieving a mind-body balance. Today we are so fast-paced, asked to do so much with so little, and we have so much information coming at us constantly.

By taking a few minutes each day or each week to do some mindfulness exercises, you can bring about a sense of calm, lower your blood pressure and achieve greater focus.

When we hear the word mindfulness, many of us assume that we’re going to have to go to some yoga or meditation class, right? While yoga and meditation classes are some examples of mindfulness exercises, you can get started today–in your own home, just by reading and practicing a few exercises.

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.

When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

A beginner's guide to mindfulness for a group of people walking down a hallway.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Some of the many benefits of mindfulness and conditions it can help:

  • help relieve stress
  • treat heart disease
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce chronic pain
  • improve sleep
  • alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • anxiety
  • depression

That’s pretty cool, right? And, this isn’t just some bunk I picked up on the website. The studies came from Harvard.

Ok, so like me, you’re sold! How do you get started?

It’s really not that hard. The hard part is staying committed and really getting into it. Not just sitting there, if that makes sense.

Mindful Activities for Teens

I know, I know. Teens are tricky and peer pressure factors in. They don’t want to be perceived by their peers as doing stuff that is stupid or dorky.

First, you can remind them that no one has to know what they are doing. They can do these activities in the privacy of their own bedroom. Or, if they need a break for some mindful breathing, go to the school bathroom for a minute or two.

It can be as easy as doing some mindful listening and observing.

  1. Mindful breathing for 30-60 seconds. (or take 10 deep breaths)
  2. Use imagery and focus on a goal or aspiration for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Finger tracing calming cards (free PDFs in that post, good for all ages)
  4. Notice 5 things you see or hear around you and talk about them.
  5. Coloring pages or “color your feelings.” And yes, there are many coloring pages for adults or teens.
  6. Draw your feelings.
  7. Think of 3 people you wish you could see or talk to right now, discuss.
  8. Mindful eating at meals. Need something to talk about while eating? Talk about what you’re eating.
  9. Yoga of course. And, I have some free printable yoga cards that are perfect for beginners.

Is coloring a good mindfulness activity for kids?

Yes! Kids, teens, adults, anyone!

There are many benefits of coloring.

Coloring offers a wide range of benefits for both children and adults. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Creativity and Self-Expression: Coloring allows individuals to express themselves creatively by choosing colors, patterns, and designs. It encourages imagination and originality as individuals make artistic decisions.
  2. Focus and Concentration: Engaging in coloring activities requires concentration and attention to detail. It helps individuals practice staying focused on a task, which can be beneficial for improving concentration skills in other areas of life.
  3. Stress Relief and Relaxation: Coloring has been shown to have therapeutic effects, promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety. It can serve as a mindful activity, helping individuals to focus on the present moment and unwind from daily stressors.
  4. Self-Confidence: Completing a coloring page provides a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-confidence, especially for children who may take pride in their finished artwork.
  5. Social Interaction: Coloring can be a social activity, fostering communication and collaboration when done in groups or with family and friends. It provides an opportunity for bonding and sharing creative experiences.
  6. Emotional Expression: Coloring can be a non-verbal way for individuals to express their emotions and feelings. It provides a safe outlet for processing emotions and exploring creativity.

Coloring is a versatile activity that offers numerous physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits for people of all ages. Whether as a recreational pastime or a therapeutic practice, coloring can contribute to overall well-being and development.

Coloring Mindful Activities for Kids

I have many sets of free coloring pages here on the site, perfect for all ages.

I also have free coloring pages for almost every holiday, so you can do a search on this site if you want to find more free coloring pages.

Mindful Breathing for Kids

I have several other printable mindful breathing activities. Usually these are for a younger child. Or for a teen whose skill set is such that they cannot visualize moving their finger in a specific pattern, and need a worksheet to follow.

Three little girls practicing mindfulness on the grass next to a lake.

Mindfulness at School

If you’re a teacher, there are ways to encourage calm and mindfulness at school.

You can have the entire class take a break for 5-10 minutes and do one of the breathing techniques above.

Make sure that you have calming classroom decor, and maybe even a calm down corner. Neither of these options has to be expensive. There are many free and cheap ideas in those posts.

Make sure your classroom is free of visual clutter, as that can create the opposite of calm.

An empty classroom with desks and a chalkboard, providing a serene environment suitable for beginners to explore mindfulness.
It may look boring, but for many students this is actually preferable because it is free from distractions and sensory overload.

Mindfulness Music for Kids

I’ve been into mindful music for a long time and I didn’t even know it. Back when CDs first came out, we bought a few nature sounds CDs that we would use when trying to not freak out about college exams.

And remember Enya? Hello, the GenX early version of mindful music.

When Kevin was a baby, we were introduced to the Putumayo Music, and we still listen to it often. Turns out, it is fantastic music for mindfulness.

Introducing mindfulness through music to children can be a wonderful way to help them develop emotional regulation, focus, and relaxation skills. Here are some activities kids can do with music for mindfulness:

  1. Deep Breathing with Music: Play calming music and guide children to take deep breaths in sync with the music. Encourage them to focus on the sensations of their breath as they inhale and exhale slowly.
  2. Body Scan with Music: Guide children through a body scan meditation while listening to soothing music. Encourage them to focus their attention on different parts of their body, noticing any tension or sensations, and then consciously relaxing each body part.
  3. Musical Mindful Movement: Invite children to move their bodies mindfully to the rhythm of the music. They can engage in gentle stretching, swaying, or dancing, focusing on the sensations and movements of their bodies in the present moment.
  4. Listening Meditation: Encourage children to listen mindfully to a piece of music, paying attention to the various instruments, melodies, and rhythms. Encourage them to notice how the music makes them feel emotionally and physically without judgment.
  5. Sound Exploration: Provide children with different musical instruments or objects that produce sounds (e.g., bells, chimes, drums). Encourage them to explore the sounds mindfully, noticing the pitch, volume, and duration of each sound they produce.
  6. Creating Music: Allow children to express themselves creatively by creating their own music using instruments or their voices. Encourage them to focus on the process of making music rather than the end result, allowing for free expression and experimentation.
  7. Guided Imagery with Music: Play calming music while guiding children through a guided imagery or visualization exercise. Encourage them to imagine themselves in a peaceful, serene place, using the music to enhance the sensory experience.
  8. Emotion Exploration: Use music to explore different emotions with children. Play a variety of songs with different emotional tones (e.g., happy, sad, calm) and discuss how the music makes them feel. Encourage them to notice how their bodies and minds respond to each type of music.
  9. Mindful Singing: Engage children in mindful singing by singing simple songs or chants together while focusing on the rhythm, melody, and lyrics. Encourage them to sing with intention and presence, using their voices as a tool for self-expression and connection.
  10. Gratitude Music Practice: Encourage children to reflect on things they are grateful for while listening to music. Create a playlist of uplifting or inspirational songs and invite children to think about the people, places, or experiences they appreciate as they listen.

These activities can help children cultivate mindfulness skills while also fostering a deeper appreciation for music and its therapeutic benefits.

It is less about the books and equipment you buy, more about making the commitment to making it work for you.

A woman listening to music while practicing mindfulness.

Now, go forth and be mindful! I’m anxious to get started.

Mindfulness

  1. Free Kindness Coloring Pages (PDF sheets)
  2. 26 Free Coping Skills Coloring Pages (PDF sheets)
  3. 23 Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Teens
  4. 16 Free Finger Tracing Calming Cards
  5. Ocean Themed Finger Tracing Cards
  6. Valentine’s Day Yoga for All Ages: Free Printable Yoga Cards
  7. How to Calm Yourself Down: 5 Activities for Any Environment
  8. Triangle Breathing: A Simple Stress Relief Technique for All Ages (free worksheet!)
  9. Positive Self Talk: 10 Free Worksheets for Kids and Adults
  10. Do Chair Bands for ADHD work?
  11. 15 Affordable Calm Down Corner Ideas for School or Home
  12. What is the Star Breathing Technique for Kids?
  13. What is the 5 Finger Breathing Technique to Calm Kids?
  14. 115 Morning Meeting Questions and Ideas for All Ages
  15. Does mindfulness work?

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