Here are some quick, simple, mindful games you can get your children involved in, without much preparation:
- Touch: Put a bunch of mystery items in a paper bag and take turns feeling one object at a time and guess what it is as you describe the texture and shape.
- Sight: Look around the room in silence for one minute, and point out all of the things you never noticed before.
- Sound: Set a timer for one minute and count how many different sounds you can hear with your eyes closed, and then share what you heard with each other.
This mindfulness tool is basically a homemade snow globe, using glitter glue and water.
Shake the Mind Jar. Imagine the swirling glitter as the swirling thoughts in your mind. Then watch the glitter slowly settle as you calm down and focus.
When the glitter settles at the bottom of the jar, the water is clear, like the clarity in our minds. Now we are calm and can focus again.
Mindfulness techniques can be used to help you calm down and focus: try mindful breathing, mindful listening, or simply mindfully looking at the glitter settling to the bottom of the jar.
The swirling thoughts can also represent the way our brain can feel when the amygdale has been triggered by stress or anger.
1. To make a Mind Jar – add 2 cups of hot water to about 2 tablespoons glitter glue in a pint-sized mason jar. Add an extra tablespoon or two of regular fine glitter.
2. Shake until the glue is dissolved and there are no glitter clumps.
3. Add food colouring if desired or leave it clear.
You can also play around with the proportion of glitter glue to water if you’d like the glitter to settle more or less slowly. Alternatively, you can make a small mind jar using a spice jar.
In school, we have a Trick Box session twice a week that aims to develop our positive mindset.
Can you remember any tricks?
Here’s a list of 22 different activities that promote mental well-being. Some are quick activities, others require a little more input. Pick one each day and give it a go.
22 Simple Mindfulness Activities
- Practice kind thoughts by prompting thinking of 5 people you’d like to send kind wishes to
- Bang on a pot/pan and signal when you no longer hear the sound ‘hanging’ the air
- Blow bubbles ‘slo-mo’ style, emphasising a big deep breath in through the nose to fill the bubble… and out through the mouth as slow as possible
- Squeeze and let go, tensing different muscles in the body for 5 seconds and then slowing releasing
- Tune into the body by getting down on your parent's chest and feeling each other’s heartbeats
- Focus on breathing by building ‘Elsa’ ice sculptures’ by taking in a deep breath (don’t forget to smell the ‘chocolate fountain on coronation day!) and then slowly blowing out to create amazing ice creations
- Have a ‘mindful’ snack by describing the smell, texture and taste of the food.
- Explore textures in nature, take a walk in your garden to collect several different objects and observe/describe how each feels
- Have your child give you the ‘weather report’ on how they’re feeling, “I’m dark and cloudy with some raindrop tears coming out”
- Find shapes in the sky by laying down together and choosing different objects to search for in the clouds
- Practice noticing with art. Choose several different utensils and describe how they all feel different on the paper
- Take a mindful walk in your garden pointing out sights and sounds.
- Explore touch by choosing several objects, then comparing the difference in how they feel dry vs. wet
- Slow down by having a snack in ‘slow motion’ and taking notice of the taste throughout
- Explore smell by inviting your child to help you cook a meal while taking notice of each smell present
- Try ‘buddy breathing’ and invite your child to grab a toy/stuffed animal to place on their tummy while they lay down and take slow breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth
- Explore emotion by prompting your child to scan their body when experiencing a feeling, and describe where they feel it the most.
- Use a happy moment to ‘soak in the good’ by pausing with your child to observe the pleasant physical and emotional feelings present
- Sit down with your child and ‘colour your feelings’ together depicting each emotion with a new colour.
- Listen to some music and see how many different instruments you can each hear
- Try a body scan together at bedtime
- Explore gratitude by going back and forth with your child (for as long as you can!) to name as many things possible that you are grateful for.