Mindfulness can seem like a lofty concept, even to adults. It may seem inherently connected to mental health and psychological therapy. So how are you to explain or teach it to your children? It’s not as hard as you may think.
In fact, Now Cow in Kelly Caleb’s mindfulness books for children teaches mindfulness for children in a down-to-earth, fun, rhyming way. In addition, you can do fun mindfulness activities with children that help them tune into their “now” naturally and intuitively. The following 3 mindfulness activities will help your child learn mindfulness while having fun.
Sensory Snack Time
Food is an irresistible way to introduce the concept of mindfulness. After all, what kid doesn’t love snacks? Explain to your child that you’re going to place a blindfold over their eyes to make sure they’re not scared. Then place the blindfold and present them with a variety of small nibbles like fruit, cheese, nuts, etc. Ask your child to describe each one with three words. Then ask them to guess what the snack is. Not only does this help your child deliberately focus their attention, but it’s a fun way to eat healthy snacks.
I Spy, Enhanced Version
Everybody knows the game where you start with, “I spy with my little eyes…” but did you know you could play it with all of your senses? How about, “I spy with my little ears?” Or, “I spy with my little fingers?” You can have your child spy something with any of their senses and then describe the object using that sense.
They don’t have to actually be tasting (for example) the food if they choose to “spy with their little mouth,” but they would describe the food item using how it tastes. For example, if they spy a cherry, they could spy it in any of these different ways:
I spy with my little eyes something red
I spy with my little ears something silent
I spy with my little fingers something rubbery
I spy with my little nose something delicious
I spy with my little mouth something sweet
They don't have to use all of these for each object, of course. Encourage them to use different senses for different objects around the room and do the same when it's your turn.
This has so many applications. Start out by telling your child you’re going on a mindfulness safari (walk) and then task them with noticing a certain thing or category of things. You might ask them to notice everything blue that they see. You might ask them to notice every bird that they see. You might ask them to notice every bug or other creepy crawly they see.
Tell them to focus all their senses on noticing every possible thing that fits in the category, but to stay silent during the safari. If they do shout out during the walk, quietly remind them it’s a silent safari—don’t punish or chastise them.
When you come back in the house, ask them to tell you what they noticed. They won’t remember everything, but the more safaris they go on, the more they will learn to engage their senses and block out other thoughts, and the more they will remember.
Mindfulness and Fun With Children
Mindfulness is an important skill for children to learn. It has so many benefits, including helping children to be able to control their emotions, earn better grades, get along better with other people of all ages, and many more. Therefore, it’s something you want your children to want to accomplish. By making it fun as early in their life as possible, you can end up with a child who enjoys practicing mindfulness naturally.
Another way to help your child enjoy practicing mindfulness is to snuggle up with them and read Kelly Caleb’s Now Cow books about mindfulness. They have a pleasant rhyming pattern and interesting stories focused on the struggles characters face until they learn mindfulness.
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