Mindfulness activities for kids and adults can help us feel calmer, increase attention, and improve well-being.
In this guide, we’re sharing 12 mindfulness activities anyone can try.
In short, mindfulness means paying attention to the exact moment. Instead of thinking about the past, the future or something else, you’re focused in on each moment. That might seem simple, but in practice, it’s often very difficult. More often than not, our thoughts drift and aren’t in the present.
When we practice mindfulness, we’re open to a variety of benefits. Research has shown that practices can improve our psychological health. This has driven people to add mindfulness into their day-to-day routines.
Since staying in the present moment is difficult, there’s practices we can use to help “train” our brain. Most commonly, people practice mindfulness meditation.
However, there’s smaller mindfulness activities for kids and adults that you can use throughout the day.
In doing mindfulness activities, two main things happen:
Becoming aware of our thoughts is key. It’s normal for our thoughts to drift and think about other things. But if we’re aware when it happens, we’re able to redirect our thoughts back into the present moment.
Mindfulness is growing in popularity because of the benefits it has on our well-being.
Not only do people report feeling better from mindfulness, but science backs it up. From improved emotion to increased attention, there’s a variety of reasons people add mindfulness to their day-to-day routine.
Here’s the benefits of mindfulness activities for adults:
The majority of the research on mindfulness activities has been done on adults. However, several studies show similar advantages for children.
Here’s the benefits of mindfulness activities for kids:
Mindfulness is simply the act of being in the present moment. Your thoughts are focused on what’s happening right at this exact moment. You’re completely focused on your present experience.
Getting used to being in the present moment is difficult. Many times, your thoughts will drift and you won’t even know it.
Mindfulness is like a muscle: the more you practice it, the better you get.
The most common way to practice mindfulness is to meditate. It’s important to not that most of the research on mindfulness revolves around some sort of mindfulness meditation.
You can see an example of a guided mindfulness meditation below.
You can also try a guided mindfulness meditation for kids
It’s a good idea to try to add meditation into your day or week. Start off small and work your way up to longer sessions. Even if you can only manage a few minutes, it’s a good start!
While there’s many physiological benefits of meditation, it’s important we recognize that it’s not for everyone. Some people can’t manage to sit still and aren’t calmed by the practice. People are different, and if you can relate, know that there’s other forms of mediation.
Even if you do meditate, you might be looking for ways to add mindfulness throughout your day. This is where mindfulness activities come into play.
Short bursts of mindfulness are quick to do, feel calming and help build your present-moment muscle.
Since they don’t require the time commitment of a meditation, you can do these activities whenever you need a little more calm.
Consider adding mindfulness activities into your daily routine:
These mindfulness activities are suitable for both kids and adults!
This is a great mindfulness activity for kids because it’s so simple. However, it’s also a great idea for adults because it only requires your hands—meaning you can do it anytime!
Trace your hand with the opposite index finger. Breathe in while tracing up the side of one finger. As you go down each finger, breathe out. Repeat on your other hand.
Getting in touch with your senses is another classic mindfulness activity for kids and adults. Getting into your body helps free up your mind.
Take a moment to focus on your senses. In your mind or our loud, name:
Choose an object near you. It could be anything: a cup, bottle of lotion, pillow, key, etc.
Place it near you and notice everything about it. Take 2 minutes to focus on it. In your mind, describe its:
Sometimes we think we can’t meditate if we’re in a busy environment, such as the middle of a bustling city. That’s not true though. We just need to focus in on whatever sound is available to us. This is a great mindfulness activity for adults or kids who are uncomfortable with silence.
Find a place to sit and devote the next 3 minutes to this practice. Simply focus your attention on what you hear. Each time your thoughts drift, start naming what you can hear. Don’t discount any noise (bird’s chirping, cars, honking, sirens, talking, wind, etc.).
This quick mindfulness check is like a mini-meditation with no expectations.Find somewhere to sit down. You can either close your eyes or fixate on an object. For 3 minutes, sit and observe your thoughts without judging them. Let each one pass as it moves onto the next.
This mindfulness activity involves physical tension and release, hopefully leading to a release of emotional tension too!
With one hand, make a fist. Squeeze it tight. Focus on the tension. Then release it. Focus on the relaxation.
This is a great mindfulness exercise for adults who have a short break throughout the day. Not only is moving beneficial for your physical and mental health, but adding a mindfulness increases the benefits.
Go for short walk with one goal: focus on a specific type of object. For example, aim to notice all the front doors, gardens or decks or plants on your walk. When another thoughts creeps in, switch your thoughts back to focusing on your object of choice.
This can be a good practice if you need an emotional pick-me-up to see the brighter side again. It can help attune us to the good things.
Give yourself one minute to notice all the beautiful things around you. Name as many as you can.
If you’re in your living room, that could be a family photo, favorite mug, soft carpet, your pet, your favorite decor, etc.
If you’re outdoors, the beautiful things are limitless—birds, flowers, kind smiles, the look a mother gives her baby, etc.
This mindfulness activity involves counting to 10—but it’s not as easy as it sounds!
Close your eyes and count to 10. Try to focus on each number, visualizing it in your head or hearing it in your mind. Every time another thought pops up, start back at 1.
In this practice, you’re going to zoom into each bite. This is a great mindfulness activity for kids or adults at the beginning of a family meal. It’s also ideal for those who may have trouble overeating. Mindful eating may have a variety of benefits, including helping you recognize fullness, increasing satisfaction and decreasing the number of sweet treats you eat.
For at least the first 3 bites of your meal, focus on your experience. Notice the taste, texture, smell, and appearance.
Coloring books can be great for improving our mindfulness if we’re intentional about it!
Take out an adult (or kid) coloring book. Choose a color and focus on filling in the design. Notice the strokes of the pencil and how the color builds as you color. You don’t need to finish the whole page, even just a few minutes can be calming.
This activity combines the benefits of gratitude with the benefits of mindfulness focus.
Set a timer for two minutes. Write down what you’re grateful for. Challenge yourself to find as many things as you can within that time frame. When your mind drifts, bring it back to what you’re thankful for.
Mindfulness activities for kids and adults are small ways you can add the practice into your day. You can do these activities when you’re in a stressful moment and need to inject some calm. Or, you can add them into your daily routine—such as choosing one every morning.
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