Categories: Brain

12 Best Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Adults: Quick Break

Being mindful isn’t as easy as it sounds. But with a few practices, it gets easier.

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.

 

What is Mindfulness?

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:

  1. We get used to staying in the present moment
  2. We become aware of times we’re not in the present moment

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.

 

Benefits of Mindfulness

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:

  • Can help treat people with problems with pain, smoking and addiction (2018 study)
  • Can improve physical heath (2019 study)
  • May reduce fatigue and pain in those with chronic pain (2015 study)
  • Can significantly reduce relapse in people with previous major depressive episodes (2017 study)
  • May Reduce prejudice (2014 study)
  • May lead to happier and healthier parenting experiences (2016 study)
  • Lessens depression and anxiety in parents of children with disabilities (2014 study)

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:

  • Decreases anxiety and increases cognitive performance in school (2014 study)
  • Mindfulness-based interventions for kids may improve cognitive performance and resilience to stress (2014 study)
  • May help boost students’ attention skills and help them develop stress coping mechanisms (Harvard and MIT partnership research)
  • Can improve the mental, emotional, social and physical health and well-being of young people (The Mindfulness In Schools Project)

 

Why Practice Mindfulness Activities?

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:

  • Before you leave for work/school
  • When you’re alone in the washroom
  • When you’re sitting at your desk
  • When you’re riding on public transit/school bus
  • When you’re waiting in your car in the school pickup line
  • Before you lay down for bed
  • As a transition from school/work life to home life
  • Before a big presentation or test

 

12 Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Adults

These mindfulness activities are suitable for both kids and adults!

#1 Trace Your Hand

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.

#2 The Senses

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:

  • 3 things you can hear
  • 3 things you can see
  • 3 things you can physically feel

#3 Focus on Object

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:

  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Color
  • Patterns
  • Size

#4 Sound Focus

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.).

#5 Quick Mindfulness Check

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.

#6 Make a Fist

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.

#7 Object Walk

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.

#8 Eye Spy Beautiful Things

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.

#9 Thoughtless 10

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.

#10 Bite Zoom

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.

#11 Color

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.

#12 Grateful Challenge

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.

 

Summary: Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Adults

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.

 

YoHumanz

YoHumanz is a blog dedicated to helpful and inspirational content about being human today—written in a non-bullshitty, (hopefully) more approachable way. We focus on 3 main areas: Heart, Brain and Soul.

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