The first step in introducing mindfulness to children is to introduce simple awareness practices.
The first awareness practice I typically introduce is awareness of the breath. Ask children to put
their hand on their belly and to feel their belly move as they breathe in and out. Other breath
practices include, hot chocolate breathing, ask children to imagine that they have a cup of hot
chocolate in their hands. Ask them to breathe in smelling the hot chocolate and breath out
cooling it down. You can also ask children to practice hand breathing, ask children to hold out
their hand and breathe in as they trace their pointer finger up the length of their thumb and
breathe out as they trace their thumb from top to bottom towards their next finger, ask children
to continue doing this until they have completed their whole hand. Props also work well when
teaching children how to bring awareness to the breath. You can use a Hoberman sphere and
instruct children to bring in and out in synchrony with the sphere as you move it in an out. A fan
can be used in a similar way, encourage children to breathe in as you fold the fan in and out.
Children also love using windmills, straws and bubbles as they do their mindful breathing.
A nice way to introduce mindful listening to children is to ring a bell and ask children to listen
and raise their hand when the sound is gone. Long resonating sounds work best for this
practice, Tibetan singing bowls work particularly well. You can be creative with this asking
children to wave their hands when the sound is gone or ask them to close their eyes and open
their eyes with then sound is gone. Another nice practice is to ask children to close their eyes
and notice how many sounds they can hear from themselves, inside the room they are in and
from outside the room they are in.
You can also help children connect to their sense of touch, sight, smell and taste. Nice items for
this activity include feathers, material, objects from nature, such as stones, shells and
pine-cones, or small pieces of food such as raisins, orange segments or grapes. Give each child
an object and ask them to notice how it feels in their hands, ask them to notice whether it is
smooth or rough, what shape is it? What size? Does different parts of the object feel different?
What temperature is the object? You can also engage other senses by asking children to notice
what the object looks like. Ask them if there is any patterns? How many colours does the object
have? Can they notice the light and shadows. You can also ask children what the object smells
like. If the object is edible such as a raisin, piece of mandarin orange or apple you can ask them
to notice what it tastes like.
Another great awareness practice for children is the 54321 practice. Ask children to identify 5
things they can see, 4 things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can
smell and one thing they can taste.
When we introduce awareness practices like these to children we are helping them bring their
attention into the present moment. We are helping them connect with themselves and the world
around them. Each time children practice mindfulness they are strengthening their capacity to
connect to the “here and now”.