Child meditating

15 Mindfulness Activities in the Classroom

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Mindfulness in the classroom child meditating

These mindfulness activities are the perfect addition to any classroom! Our children spend the majority of their time at school, so as educators, we can use this valuable time to nurture their intellectual, emotional and mental well-being. While schools were once a place that focused on academics predominantly, there has been a shift in recent years towards mental health and social emotional learning. We are starting to see the benefits of giving children the skills they need to nurture their well-being and strategies for dealing with big emotions. 

Having a mindfulness practice in the classroom, in addition to encouraging social emotional learning, can show kids that they already have a built-in tool kit that they can access to help them manage stress and anxiety.

Kids crossing their legs

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15 Mindfulness Activities in the Classroom

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a technique that Western Psychology has borrowed from the buddhist tradition of mindful meditation. The Art of mindfulness resides in the ability to bring your attention to what is happening in the present moment; being aware of both your internal experiences as well as what you experience in the world around you. 

While establishing a mindfulness practice in your classroom takes repetition and consistency, the benefits for your students are worth the effort. 

Many psychological studies have shown that there are measurable health benefits when children practice mindfulness on a regular basis. These benefits include improving their memory, attention skills, increasing compassion, and managing anxiety and depression. 

To learn more about some of the amazing benefits of mindfulness for kids, check out this blog post!

Why is Mindfulness Beneficial in the Classroom?

Benefits for Students

According to mindfulschools.org, studies find that children benefit from learning mindfulness in terms of improved cognitive outcomes, social-emotional skills, and well being. Some other benefits include:

  • More attentiveness and focus
  • Improved behaviors in school
  • Improved social skills
  • Increase in self-regulation
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety levels
  • Increased awareness and understanding of one’s feelings and emotions

Benefits for Teachers

The benefits of mindfulness in the classroom also extend to the educators. When teachers learn mindfulness, they are less prone to stress and burnout. In randomized controlled trials, teachers who learned mindfulness experienced:

  • Reduced stress and burnout
  • Greater efficacy in doing their jobs
  • More emotionally supportive classrooms
  • Better classroom organization

List of Mindfulness Activities in the Classroom

Now that you understand the benefits, I thought I would share with you 15 mindfulness activities that can be used in the classroom. 

1. Zentangles

I’m a huge fan of zentangles! I’ve been using this beautiful art form for years with my students and at home with my own children. Children are often amazed by the masterpieces they can create with just a few simple lines. There is no right or wrong way of creating Zentangles. If you don’t like the look of a line, it is an opportunity to create something different. It can often be a great life lesson as you can always make changes if things are not right. 

This activity is suitable for…

Children of all ages can enjoy Zentangles.

How to complete the activity

Zentangles are created with five different basic strokes. A dot, circle, curve, line and s-shaped line. You can take a basic outline of a picture, and then fill the spaces with a repetition of one of the five basic strokes. Each masterpiece can be different, but being in the present moment, while drawing intentional lines, makes this an effective mindfulness activity. 

You can read more about Zentangles here

Beginner Zentangle Patterns

2. Glitter Jars

Sensory bottles can be used to reinforce math concepts, language skills, and social skills and engage children in science exploration. They are perfect in the classroom as creating them can be just as mindful as using them. The glitter jars are colorful and mesmerizing, which makes them perfect for finding a moment of calm and enabling children to take those important minutes for themself. 

This activity is suitable for

All children 🙂 

How to complete the activity

You do need a few different ingredients to make the glitter jar, but essentially it is a bottle, the glue or oil you choose to use, some colors and glitter. Children can make the jars with adult help and supervision and then use them freely when they need that moment of calm. Glitter jars are particularly effective in calm down bins or mindful centres in your classroom.

You can read more about how to make a glitter jar here

Sensory Bottles

3. Using Playdough to Help with Emotions

Playdough is something that many younger children enjoy playing with. Not only is it a fun activity, but it also strengthens muscles in children’s hands and wrists that can be beneficial for when they hold their pens and pencils and write for longer periods. However, you can also use playdough to help with mindfulness and emotions. These play mats encourage children to highlight their feelings by using playdough to describe them. It is a great way to help younger children understand big emotions and how they can cope. 

This activity is suitable for

Children under the age of 5. 

How to complete the activity.

You need to print off the mats and task cards and have a good selection of playdough. Children can use not only the mats to help them identify their feelings by creating those emotions, but they can also use the colors. Darker colors could mean sadness whereas brighter colors could be associated with happier feelings. 

You can print off the mats and task cards here

4. Mindful Eating

You can create a mindful moment in your classroom through mindful eating! Below is a sample script that I used with my students when we were learning about the season of Fall. We drew and ate apples as part of our learning.

This activity is suitable for

Children ages 3 and up.

How to complete the activity

Mindful eating can be completed with any food. Simply replace the word apple in the script with anything of your choice.

  • Have your students start by observing the apple/apple slice. What do they notice visually?
  • Ask them to smell the apple carefully. What do they notice?
  • If applicable, do they notice any sounds?
  • What do they feel with their fingers? Is it warm or cold? Is it smooth, rough, or sticky?
  • Have them put a piece of apple in their mouth or take a bite. Ask them to just leave it on their tongue and notice how it feels in their mouth. What activity do they notice in their mouth?
  • Get them to start chewing it, very slowly, just one bite at a time. Ask them to notice how the tastes change as they chew.
  • Get them to notice when they swallow, and see how far they can feel the apple in their body.

Mindful eating is a great exercise for practicing patience. Some children might have the first few bites very quickly. that’s okay! See if you can encourage them to make their next bite more mindful. It might take a few tries but it’s worth the effort.

Check out this beautiful story below about mindful eating! Your kids will love it.

No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully is a fun way to introduce mindful eating to kids. On an otherwise ordinary day, Elliot discovers something extraordinary: the power of mindfulness. When he asks his neighbor Carmen for a snack, he’s at first disappointed when she hands him an apple – he wanted candy! But when encouraged to carefully and attentively look, feel, smell, taste, and even listen to the apple, Elliot discovers that this apple is not ordinary at all.

5. Drawing Meditation

Drawing is another mindful activity that can be done in the classroom and when you add the art of meditation to it, you will find that it is transformational for children. It is simple but very effective and promotes calm in children of all ages. 

This activity is suitable for

This sort of activity will work for children of all ages. Meditation can be taught to very young children, and drawing promotes fine motor skills in younger children. 

How to complete the activity… 

This is all about drawing your breath so make sure the environment is quiet so that children can concentrate on the task. You simply need a piece of paper and a pencil. 

You can read more about the activity here

Draw your breath

6. Mindfulness Coloring

Coloring is something that many children enjoy doing and it has been well known that coloring can be a great mindful activity. Doing it in a classroom environment can only emulate that moment of calm. This inspirational coloring activity takes it to a different level. The words are inspiring and can be used as affirmations, which helps to encourage positivity and happiness. 

To learn more about the benefits of coloring on your mental health, check this out!

This activity is suitable for

Children of all ages will enjoy this word coloring exercise. This particular exercise I have found is great for older children, given the intricate details of the coloring. But anyone will benefit from it. 

How to complete the activity

You can simply print these off ready for children to enjoy coloring. It can be an activity you leave out for them to naturally find, or use as part of a quiet time in the classroom. The inspirational words can be discussed as a class and reflected on during the coloring process.

Just click here or on the image below to download your free mindfulness coloring book.

7. Yoga

Yoga is a mindfulness activity many adults are aware of but it is also extremely beneficial for children as well. Yoga poses and focusing on breath and stretches can be an excellent way to encourage children to take that moment of calm, and also deal with any big emotions they may be facing. Yoga can be an exercise that takes place anytime throughout the school day. 

This activity is suitable for

All children! Kids can learn yoga poses from a very young age. Children as young as three can follow simple instructions and pose in safe ways. 

How to complete the activity. 

You can seek out many activities that will help you encourage children to start yoga. There are many themes you can follow as well. Cosmic Kids has a huge selection of yoga videos organized by age, length and skill level.  

You can visit their website here.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

8. Nature Walks

We all know that being outside and amongst nature is a great way to be more mindful. As adults, we are encouraged to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and great outdoors. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that this sort of activity is one that can be hugely beneficial to children. A nature walk can be done in different ways. You can take children for a nature walk and encourage them to be more aware of their senses, or even use it as an opportunity to seek out different natural elements. 

This activity is suitable for

A nature walk can be encouraged for children of all ages. Even babies enjoy being outside, but children who can walk or at an age of understanding how they feel will feel the benefits much more from a mindful perspective. 

How to complete the activity.

This is an activity that doesn’t require too much preparation. You can decide where you are going and then take the children there. However, if you do want to make it structured and more focused on mindfulness you can look at discussing senses and seeking out different elements of nature. 

verywellfamily.com has some great tips for taking nature walks with kids. They have detailed information to help get you started.

Mindfulness Activities For Kids

9. Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is another great way to encourage mindfulness. Many of us are aware of the power that gratitude can hold in our lives. Being thankful for the things in our life allows us to focus more on the positive aspects and less on the negative. A gratitude journal is a physical way of being grateful. It gives you the opportunity to write those things down. Teaching children all about gratitude is a great way to encourage mindfulness and can easily be done in the classroom. It can form part of a routine of the school day or be a complete task. 

This activity is suitable for

A gratitude journal is all about drawing or writing things down that you might be grateful for at that time. So, it is suitable for children who are old enough to write, draw or articulate those things. That being said, gratitude as a whole can be taught from a young age simply by being aware of the word “thank you”.

How to complete the activity.

You complete the activity by taking a notebook or even a piece of paper and asking children to describe the things they are grateful for. These might be small things they have experienced that day or larger aspects of their lives like their homes, for example. They can be grateful for anything. Part of the exercise is to express how that gratitude makes them feel. You can also use proms and questions to help.

I found a free printable gratitude journal for kids and you can download it here

craft activity for kids mono

10. Paper Love Heart Trees

Mindfulness is all about positive feelings and letting them encapsulate you. So, not only can you focus this on yourself but you can also look for the good in others. This is a great activity for children to understand that their words can have power, and to use them in a mindful and more positive way. I have found an exercise called the paper love heart tree. You can use it to encourage children to write positive attributes about others. Having them there on the tree, once they have been stuck together, is a great visual aid for using kindness and being mindful of others as well as themselves. 

This activity is suitable for

This activity is a creative way to be mindful of others. Children aged 7 and up will understand the concept of their words and benefit most from this activity. 

How to complete the activity.

Give the children heart-shaped pieces of paper and assign them a member of their class to write something meaningful and positive about. This way every child will have something positive to hear. You then place them on the love heart tree and proudly display it somewhere. 

You can read more about how to make the paper love heart tree here.

art activity for kids

11. Observe the Seasons

When it comes to finding classroom activities that naturally embrace mindfulness, a great tip is to look at the seasons for inspiration. They can provide you with opportunities to encourage children to focus on their senses, the natural changes that happen, and the beauty within. I have found a post dedicated to mindfulness activities you can enjoy in the Fall, but there are many other posts for the other seasons as well. 

This activity is suitable for

Children of all ages. 

How to complete the activity.

Take a look at the blog post below. One of them in particular focuses on the changes that the fall presents. The colors, the smells, the difference in temperature and how it can make you feel. It is these moments of calm that help a child to understand what mindfulness is all about. 

Check out the blog post here

mindfulness activities for kids orangeville

12. Incorporate Themes

Another thing that you can consider doing would be to choose a theme for the mindfulness activities that you do. Having a theme helps children to engage with the subject much more, and they find certain topics useful to make a connection to mindfulness later. I have found a blog post all about mindfulness activities connected to the sea. The beach and the water are two great ways to approach mindfulness, for a child, and an adult. So it can be a very engaging theme to embrace. 

This activity is suitable for

Children of all ages. 

How to complete the activity 

Take a look at the blog post to find out more. The activities vary in different ways but some focus on sounds, feelings and other senses connected to the water and beach environment. 

Read more about the activities here

Beach Theme Mindfulness

13. Utilize Technology

There are so many wonderful apps that are centered around mindfulness that can be very useful. Many schools use devices in the classroom, and for good reason. We live in a world where technology plays a huge role and it is only going to get bigger. These apps can help children to engage with the subject of mindfulness more. 

This activity is suitable for

Children of all ages! There are mindfulness apps that can be used for children of all ages. Whether it is guided meditations, using online platforms for gratitude journals, or even apps that have calming sounds. 

How to complete the activity.

It is all about finding the right app. This blog post has a huge selection of relaxation and mindfulness apps that you can incorporate into the school day. 

You can find out more about it here

Mindfulness Apps

14. Body Scans

The body scan is one of the most effective ways to introduce mindfulness meditation and it is a concept that will help children understand meditation much more. The purpose of this activity is to tune into your body. Children are aware of their body parts and can follow simple instructions, so this can be an easy classroom activity where you start to focus on the different areas of the body. 

This activity is suitable for

Children who can follow simple instructions and are aware of the names of the parts of the body you may refer to. School-age children should be able to grasp this from as early as five. 

How to complete the activity.

You will encourage the children to either sit comfortably or lie down. Taking deep breaths you will ask them to notice how their body feels right now. Starting with the head, ask them to notice how that particular area of the body feels. Encouraging deep breaths and relaxation. Mindfulness is all about calming your mind and having the power to make positive choices with your reactions, and this is a great way to help a child bring calm. 

This website has a lovely body scan script that you can use with your children or students.

Body Scans

Step 15 - Make Time to Enjoy the Present Moment Together

Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment. Your feelings right now, your emotions and what you notice around you when it comes to your senses. Activities based on the present moment are a great way to introduce a child to mindfulness in the classroom. You can focus on things such as how they feel today.

This is an excellent exercise that can take place first thing in the morning. It also helps to highlight moods so that people are aware that perhaps someone isn’t feeling that great today. You can also ask the children to write down things at certain points of the day. Focusing on their senses, you can take them outside and ask them to write down things they see, things they smell, things they hear, etc. 

This activity is suitable for

You can make any of these activities suitable for children of all ages. For example, with the how I feel today activity, you could ask them to point out or draw their feelings rather than write them down. The same principles can be applied to other in the present moment activities. 

How to complete the activity.

It is all about focusing on how they feel right now. So you need to create an environment where a child can focus. If you are wanting to focus on their senses then a quiet space outside, or a place free from obvious distractions like traffic or other classes could be advantageous. 

mindfulness activity for kids

Final Thoughts

I hope that these 15 mindfulness activities in the classroom will help you to embrace mindfulness with your own children and the children that you teach.

If you’re looking for more activities designed to encourage mindfulness and spark creativity, check out the printable resources in my shop!

If you try any of these activities, please let me know! I’d love to add your pictures to our gallery, so upload your photos or send them directly to me at: [email protected] Thank you!

Don’t forget to download our FREE 15 page Mindfulness coloring book to help add a few mindful moments to your child’s day. Just click here or the image below!

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