Relaxation Activities for Children
NSPCC library service has put together a reading list of books you can use to support children who are experiencing stress and anxiety at this time.
What is mindfulness, and why is it important?
Mindfulness is about focusing on the present, and being aware of what is going on both inside and outside, in a non-judgmental way. It’s about noticing physical sensations and emotional responses, as well as your connection to other people and to your surroundings.
Below are some exercises you can try to promote positive mindfulness:
1. Describing emotions
Sit in a circle and describe different emotions. How does it feel when you are angry, happy or worried? Try and visualise your emotions as colours, or types of weather.
2. Texture bag.
Place several small, interestingly shaped or textured objects in a bag. Reach in and touch an object, one at a time, and describe what you are touching.Don’t take the object out of the bag, use only your sense of touch to explore the object.
3. Looking at clouds
Keep an eye on the weather for this activity, as ideally you need partial cloud cover and a good breeze. Lie down outside and look up at the clouds (taking care not to look directly at the sun). Look out for shapes and notice how the clouds change as they move along. Could you draw what you see?
4. Worry Stones
This is a 'focus object' that can allow you to release their worries and connect with your inner mindfulness of calm and peace. Have a collection of smooth stones to hand. If you become anxious, have them rub the stone, while focusing on the feel of the stone, and taking deep belly breaths. You could decorate them with colours that make you feel happy.
Try body poses. These are fun poses which can help you feel strong, brave, and happy.
Make sure to go somewhere quiet and familiar, a place you feel safe.
Next, try one of the following poses:
- The Superman: this pose is practiced by standing with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out to the sky, stretching the body as tall as possible.
- The Wonder Woman: this pose is struck by standing tall with legs wider than hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips.
How do you feel after a few rounds of trying either of these poses?
6.Safari- to complete with parents/carers.
The Safari exercise is a great way to help learn mindfulness. This activity turns an average, everyday walk into an exciting new adventure.
Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari: their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them.
Mindfulness for Children: Meditations for Kids
This is can be downloaded through the Android app store, iTunes, Google Music, or the Apple app store. Multiple versions are available. There are a few versions that must be purchased and one free version, which offers fewer conveniences than the paid versions. This app is centered around guided meditation. It is designed to help children relax before bed. Nature sounds and instructions start the sessions. The app can guide the user through a body scan, visualizations, and breathing exercises.
Smiling Minds App
This app is available through the Apple app store as well as the Google Play store. It is free to download and use. This app offers similar features to the Mindfulness for Children app, including a body scan activity. There are dozens of modules with hundreds of sessions available, each customized for well-being, education, and the workplace (for adults).