What is mindfulness and why it matters for children — these 10 mindfulness activities for kids are easy, low/no prep, and effective! Plus, a free template to make mindfulness cards using your Cricut Maker or Explore! Sponsored by Cricut.
How often have you found yourself rushing out the door and jumping headfirst into your day without even thinking about it? Before you know it, something has rubbed you the wrong way, and you’re feeling impatient, frustrated, or even enraged without really meaning to.
This happens to kids too!
Sometimes our lives get so busy and so filled with activities and responsibilities that we lose track of the essential things and the life we want to live. You don’t have to be stuck in this constant flow of frustration and feeling stressed all the time.
Taking some time to pause during your day to practice mindfulness, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, can help your days be better and more in line with the life you want to live.
Keep reading for our favorite mindfulness activities for kids, plus a free template to create mindful kids activity cards with your Cricut Maker!
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being present in the moment and aware of thoughts and feelings. This allows us to be less reactive and negative affected by things around us or out of our control.
Mindfulness is commonly associated with meditation because during meditation, we are often more aware of what we’re experiencing through our senses, thoughts, emotions, and our state of mind.
When we practice mindfulness in our daily lives, we practice our ability to create a space for ourselves to breathe, think, and create a space between ourselves and our reactions.
Why Should Kids Practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a simple way to calm emotions and anxiety. It’s also a way to teach kids and teens how to be aware of daily activities and stay present in the moment.
10 Ways that Kids Benefit from Mindfulness Activities
- Improves ability to focus
- Boosts attention span
- Assists in learning to recognize emotions
- Develops self-regulation
- Lowers stress
- Improves moods
- Builds a more positive outlook
- Strengthens communication skills
- Grows gratitude
- Helps kids get along better with others
Keys to a Successful Mindfulness Practice
These tips apply to anyone — kids and grown-ups alike — to maximize the benefits of learning mindfulness.
- Practice Daily — Mindfulness is a habit you have to work on each day to make it a strong one. Practicing mindfulness for even a few days or a few minutes each day can help you see drastic improvements in your life.
- Be Present — When working on your mindfulness practice with children, it’s important to remove all distractions. Turn off the television, put away cell phones, and get away from anything that can take your attention away. distracts you and put your eyes, ears, and attention on what is going on around you.
- Listen Actively — Being an active listener is key to being present around those who are trying to communicate with you. Slow down and stop what you’re doing to give the person speaking your full attention. There is a difference between hearing something and actually listening to them speak.
- Slow Down — Life may feel as though you’re in a rush, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Take each day for what it is and slow down and “smell the roses.” Mindfulness is is a journey, not a race.
10 Mindfulness Activities for Kids
We’ve created a template to make mindfulness activity cards using your Cricut. You can put the activity cards in a box or a jar and draw one at random. This makes the practice less predictable and something that kids look forward to each day!
1. Take a Nature Walk
Nothing is more calming than nature! On you nature walk, take time to fully soak in the sights, smells, and feelings experienced. Make it a regular habit and notice the changes on each walk, new things in the neighborhood, temperature, etc.
Birdwatching is a surprisingly effective mindfulness activity for kids! First, kids must slow down and take care with their movements, so as to not frighten away the birds. They also much pay close attention to small details. It’s also fun to get out and explore and learn about their birds native to the area!
Gardening is not only a way to enjoy nature, but it helps kids learn about where food comes from (not just the grocery store!)
Gardening can also be a way to practice “grounding,” which is connecting to the earth’s surface/soil through physical touch. Grounding is said to produce a calming effect and lower stress.
4. Create a Sensory Jar
Sensory jars, or mindfulness jars, are an effective calm down tool for kids. Watching the swirling glitter or confetti is soothing and can be a distraction from the outside world.
Mindfulness jars can also be used as a way to talk with children about emotions. When the glitter is swirling, it represents agitated emotions, frustration, or even anger. As the jar is allowed to sit still, the glitter slowly settles, revealing clear water on top. A demonstration of how if we take time to sit still and just breathe, we can have a clearer mind.
5. Write in a Gratitude Journal
Ask your kid(s) to stop and think about the positives in their life. These can be small things that make you smile, to huge events that impact your day.
Keeping a gratitude journal makes it easier for kids to remember and recall these positive experiences. On tough days, reading back through their happy moments can help lift spirits.
6. Read a Book
At first, reading seems like it would be an escape. However, we can be mindful readers by allowing ourselves to become fully immersed in a story.
Instead of rushing through to finish a book as fast as possible, encourage kids to take time to read every word, every detail. Give your child a set time to read, without any distractions. Afterwards, you can discuss what they read and how it made them feel.
7. Family Yoga
People around the world have practiced yoga for centuries for its therapeutic benefits. Think your kids won’t want to slow down and patiently follow a yoga routine? Think again!
Yoga is meditation through movement and can help kids improve focus, balance, flexibility, and strength. Start small with 5-10 minutes a day and build your practice from there.
8. Deep Breathing
Purposeful, deep breathing can have an almost instantaneous calming effect. It can even slow the heart rate!
TIP: Make it fun! Grab a bubble wand and solution and head outside — blowing bubbles is an excellent way to develop deeper breathing, without feeling like work.
9. Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is a great way for kids (or anyone!) to get started with a meditation practice. Instead of simply sitting in silence, with guided meditation the listener is led by a teacher. This helps prevent a wandering mind and the listener to stay focused.
TIP: Start with short sessions, maybe 5-minutes. From there you can work up to longer meditation sessions as kids get better at maintaining focus.
Prayers are part of our bedtime routine — my kids find them calming. We take time to express gratitude and ask for guidance. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up the day!
How to Make Mindfulness Cards with Your Cricut Maker
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- Cricut Maker (This one comes with a bundle of handy supplies to get started)
- Light Grip Machine Mat
- Ultimate Fine Point Pen Set (30 colors!)
- White Cardstock
- Cardstock Sampler (We used the “Suburbia Disturbia” sampler which has a variety of fun colors)
- Mindfulness Cards Template on Cricut Design Space (I’ve shared it so you can use it too!)
Open Cricut Design Space and follow this link to access my pattern. Click “Make It.”
Place one sheet of white cardstock on your machine mat. I recommend using a light grip mat so the paper does not tear when you try to remove it.
Ensure your machine is connected, load the mat into the machine, and press GO.
Follow the on-screen prompts to switch pen colors. You’re welcome to use any color you like, use the suggested colors, or use only one color.
After all of the cards have been drawn, the machine will automatically cut the white cardstock into individual cards.
When prompted, unload the mat, peel back excess cardstock, and carefully remove the cut cards.
Load a sheet of cardstock, any color you like. Your Maker or Explore will cut out three cards in that color. Unload, peel away excess cardstock, and carefully remove the cut cards. Repeat until you have 12 colorful pieces of cardstock.
TIP: If you’d like to only use one color of cardstock, you can customize the project in Design Space and edit the color of the background cards so that they are all the same color. You machine will then know to cut them all out of one sheet.
Take one white card and glue on top of one of the colorful cards. Repeat with all cards.
You’ll notice that there are two blank cards — you can make your own additional mindfulness activities! Maybe you have some that we didn’t think of (feel free to let me know in the comments!)
We hope you love these mindful kids activity cards as much as we do! Here are some more of my favorite Cricut projects: