Here is the ultimate guide of mindful activities that take 5 minutes to keep your kids engaged and productive.
I have a son with the determined energy of a caffeinated squirrel.
Ohmygoodness! He is crazy fast!
Personally, I LOVE this high, natural energy of his, but there are often times when his energy works against him and overwhelm sets in.
He’s a bit grouchy and quick to anger when these times come. But having a natural, high energy kid teaches you a few things about dispelling this energy (especially in their toddler years).
Recently we started focusing on mindfulness, especially now that he’s getting a bit older.
Mindfulness is the art of living in the present and being consciously aware of ourselves and our surroundings. This Buddhist tradition is like a breath of fresh air in these increasingly fast-paced times. It is easy to get entangled in daily routines, lose your focus, and worry about yesterdays and tomorrow.
If we, as adults, find it hard to bring our focus to the present moment, we can only imagine how hard it would be for our children. No doubt they get overwhelmed by the cascade of complex emotions that life hurls at them.
As parents, we can help them deal with their surroundings and situations in a more innovative and productive way.
Simple mindful activities for kids can help instill in them a sense of calmness, positivity, improved behavior, and better self-esteem, as well as the ability to focus and really take control of life.
Self-love is a never-ending journey, so it’s best to start early on because if your child can self-soothe, it’s a huge accomplishment in terms of their mental health. Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, an uncle or aunt, or even just a babysitter, here is the ultimate guide of 20+ mindful activities that take 5 minutes to keep your kids engaged and productive.
Mindful Coloring Time
Coloring has proven to help kids slow down and process the world around them. They’re able to intentionally select their colors, pages, and connect to their environment in a more focused way.
The best part is coloring is an activity you can do with your child. You can grab this adult Easter coloring book, which has 50+ black and white pages ready for you to color, reflect on the last week of Christ’s life, and focus your heart on Him. And as a thank you, you will also be sent our kids Easter coloring book (10 pages) to help your children focus their hearts on Christ this year!
You will find these coloring books HERE.
Spot the Red Car
When you’re traveling with a small army of restless kids, you can have your littles be on the lookout for red cars. It obviously doesn’t have to be a red car; and each child can pick their own color. My children are big fans of this game. It’s a great way to keep the kids focused on the present.
I Spy With My Little Eye
Observation is an essential aspect of mindfulness, and that’s exactly what this game is all about. Basically, you need to select a certain object in the vicinity, let’s say it’s a pair of glasses, and say ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter G.’ Take turns to spy and guessing to keep your child focused on the task at hand.
Bubble blowing is another breathing exercise and one that your child will be happy to do. We love these bubbles in our house.
Feel Your Heartbeat
Have your child place their finger on their arm and count the number of times they feel their heart beats in a minute. Then have them jump 20 times and count again. Ask them if there’s anything different this time around.
Prepare your child’s favorite meal and have them savor every bite by having them assess the colors, flavors, and textures of the different components. Ask them questions like, ‘Is it sweet or salty?’, ‘How many different colors can you point out?’ or ‘Can you name the vegetables or fruits?’, etc. You can even do this activity with your child blindfolded to help them process taste and texture.
Nature is therapeutic and often strongly associated with meditation and yoga because it really helps us slow down and live in the moment. You can arrange a trip to a park or any recreational place and task them with observing the sights and sounds and recollecting them afterward. If they’re old enough, you can even have them write down their experience as a report.
Ask your child who inspires them most in the world and why. Give them your full attention and tell them about someone you find inspirational as well. This will inculcate the skill of listening.
Are you looking for more intentional questions to ask your kids?
The Tantalizing Talkfest Questions will give you 250+ questions to jumpstart any conversation you have with your child. These questions include a variety of topics including, memories of family events, personality questions, likes/dislikes, religious/faith based questions, and more!
Studies have proven that remembering and recalling happy memories is one of the most important ways to significantly decrease depression and counteract stress.
You can find all these questions (and more) HERE.
Go to a quiet, comfortable place, either sitting or lying down, keep your eyes open or closed depending on how your kid feels most at ease.
Inhale and exhale with your child and help them take a step back and feel the breath enter their body. Help them observe how it enters and exits their lungs, making their chest rise and fall in response to the breath.
Yoga for Kids
Yoga for kids is a form of yoga specifically adapted for kids that target key areas like flexibility, coordination, and strength training. Don’t expect your kid to follow instructions or get it right the first time because even adults can’t do that.
Some poses for kids include the Boat Pose (wherein you stretch your legs and balance yourself on your buttocks and rock like a boat in the water), the Cat Pose (sit like a cat with your chin tucked in and meow), the Cobra Pose (lie flat on your tummy with your palms flat on the ground, press down on your hands and lift your head and shoulders and hiss like a snake), the Badger Pose (sit on your heels and cup your eyes with your hands to make them look like a badger’s eyes) and well as many other creative poses.
Playfulness and exercise is a fundamental feature of any activity involving kids, so let them change it up a bit if they feel like it. There is no hard and fast rule for anything when it comes to kids.
Guided meditation is a great way to reduce anxiety, let go of the chaos within, and even fall asleep. This can be especially helpful if you’re new to meditation. If you lose track and your mind wanders off elsewhere, bring back your attention and re-focus.
Most children are inherently restless, so it will take them a bit of time to adjust to the feel of meditation. Don’t expect them to follow you instantly, and don’t demand it from them. We know our children don’t like to be bossed around, especially during playtime.
One of my personal favorites is Simple Habit, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking for guided meditation resources.
Kids always look forward to bedtime stories, and you can give their imagination a boost by stimulating visualization. Start story time by telling them to close their eyes and imagine they are a character in the story. Some days you can make your kids do the storytelling to really keep them involved, but don’t force it.
If your child is frustrated, agitated, or just stressed, tell them to count backward from 10 and take a deep breath to calm their nerves. This is a psychologically proven relaxation technique. Your child is learning, and you want them to learn and adopt positive coping mechanisms.
Reprimanding Negative Behavior The Right Way
Asking your kid what they did the wrong is not going to get you anywhere; neither is making them stand in a corner or write a bunch of lines.
You should ask them what happened because of their choices. Then ask them what they could have done differently and what would have happened in that scenario. Every child is different, and your child might need a little help to realize what you’re trying to ask, so don’t get defensive.
Asking your children these processing questions allows them to think deeply about their choices. Don’t be afraid of silence while they think. Sometimes kids “react” to situations before realizing the choices they make have negative (or positive) consequences in their lives.
Constructive Catharsis – Mindful Sharing Emotions
If your child feels anxious or down, you can have them channel their emotions into writing or drawing about how they feel. But this kind of activity is better suited for kids that are at least 6-7 years old. If they feel up to it, you can even have them write a diary but don’t read your child’s diary – it’s not a good idea. Respect their privacy!
If your children are preschool/kindergarten age, you will want to use The Ultimate “I Feel…” Emotions Bundle!
Inside you’ll find 15 pages that help your child learn, identify, and express their emotions through,
- Daily Feelings Chart
- Emotion Word Cards
- I Feel Chart
- Lined writing paper to share their feelings
- Matching Picture Word Game
- And Today, I Feel coloring pages
You’ll receive simple instructions to create a powerful impact in helping your child identify how they’re feeling, why they’re feeling this way, and help them see these same emotions in others. You can grab this bundle HERE!
Show Your Gratitude
As part of your daily regime, ask your kid to maintain a journal where every night they are supposed to write all the good things that happened throughout the day as well as everything they are grateful for. Encourage them to read through this diary whenever they are upset.
Who Are You?
As part of this activity, ask your child, ‘Who Are You?’ three times and prompt them to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. This would obviously facilitate self-awareness, and that’s what mindfulness is actually about- a non-judgmental awareness of one’s self.
What Should You Do?
You can give your child various situations and ask them how they should respond. Ask them what kind of a reaction a certain act (both positive and negative) is likely to elicit. This is one of the best mindful activities for kids since it would make them realize that their actions affect the people around them, and they need to be mindful of everyone.
Every once in a while, have your child write kind words for a friend, sibling, or another relative. If your little one had an argument with a friend or sibling, telling them to move on is not going to solve the issue at hand. Prompt them to think of at least three positive things about them. This would hopefully evoke reconciliation, and forgiveness is healing.
Everyday Playtime Can Be Mindful Too
Color and shape identification toys can also be a great activity in terms of mindfulness for kids. I have personally experienced playtime with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) kids, and such activities actually help them stay focused. They generally have a hard time concentrating, but such activities can keep them busy for a while, at least.
If all else fails, you can try investing in mindful toys like the Breathe With Me Barbie,
BE Buddy®: Weighted Stuffed Animals Kids Toys
These cute animal toys are an excellent calming tool to help kids practice belly breathing and relaxation This sleep pillow is a great bedtime tool or sensory bin item for your home or classroom. You can find them HERE.
Mindfulness is undoubtedly a very valuable quality – whether in children or adults.
You should try different activities and see whatever works best for you and your child. Just make sure any of these activities you pick is age appropriate and fun for them, so they want to do this with you again and again.
Don’t forget to praise your child because this will induce positive reinforcement and promote a growth mindset.
No matter which activity you prefer, it’s important to incorporate some sort of mindful activity for kids’ in your routine. Mindful kids grow up to be mindful adults and we could sure use some more of them in the world!
Micah Klug is a wife, homeschooling mother to five children, and author. She teaches time-tested solutions to help parents remember what matters most in life, including strengthening their home, faith, and family relationships. To learn how a child who grew up in an authoritarian home is now creating an environment of peace and joy in her own home visit this page. If you want to contact Micah, send her an email here or email [email protected]