10 Fun Mindful Breathing Exercises for Kids!
Breathing is one of those things that we as humans take for granted. Our breath is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used for all sorts of purposes. Mindful breathing, in particular, is one of the easiest ways to befriend your breath.
By learning a few breathing techniques you can: reduce stress, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and better regulate your body's reaction to stress and fatigue.
Mindful breathing is especially beneficial for children who find themselves up against big emotions. Deep breathing is a great way to get children to focus on something else other than what is making them sad, mad, or frustrated.
Additionally, breathing can help children physically slow down and take a step away from an emotional situation. Below I have listed some fun and simple breathing exercises for kids that can be used anytime and anywhere:
1. Smelling Flowers
Have your child imagine that they are smelling a flower, breathing in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth. This is one of the easiest breathing exercises to master and a great starting point for kids who are new to mindfulness!
2. The Bunny Breath
The bunny breath is another simple and easy breathing exercise for kids. Just like a bunny in a garden, encourage your little one to take three quick sniffs in through the nose and one long exhale out of the mouth.
3. The Snake Breath
Tell your child to pretend they are a snake and hiss, inhaling deeply through the nose and blowing out through the mouth with a soft hissing sound. This one is perfect your little animal lovers!
4. Five Finger Starfish Breathing
The five-finger starfish method of breathing is a really great grounding exercise. Have your child hold out their hand like a starfish with their fingers spread wide. Have them gently trace up and down each finger with their other hand while simultaneously breathing in and out. As they trace up the finger they inhale through their nose and as they trace down they exhale out of their mouth.
5. Box Breathing
This breathing exercise is a little more advanced but still a great technique. Have your child trace an imaginary box in the air as they breathe. Starting in the bottom left corner trace the line up, breathing in through the nose for a count of four. Then trace the top line across, holding the breath for a count of four. Now, as they trace down the other side of the box, have them exhale for a count of four. Finally, as they trace the final line closing up the box have them hold the exhale. Repeat as many times as needed!
If your child is not comfortable holding their breath, they can inhale on the sides of the box and exhale on the top and bottom.
6. Candle Blow Out
Have your child blow out the candles on an imaginary birthday cake, drawing a deep breath in through their nose and blowing it out strongly through the mouth.
7. Bumble Bee Breath
Have your child inhale through their nose, keeping their mouth closed. Next, with their mouth still closed, have them make a humming or buzzing noise (like a bumblebee) as they exhale.
8. Deep Belly Breath
Have your child sit comfortably in an upright position. Have them place their right hand on their belly and their left hand on their chest. Take a deep breath in for four counts then exhale through their nose for four counts. Have them observe the rise and fall of their chest and belly.
9. Blowing Bubbles
Pretend you are outside blowing bubbles. Remind your child how softly they need to blow to get a nice big bubble. Encourage them to take a deep breath and blow it out softly, extending the exhale as if they are a balloon that is deflating.
10. Dragon Breaths
The key to dragon breaths is having your child sit comfortably with a nice long spine. Have your little one take a deep breath in through the nose. Then open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue and breathe out forcefully through your mouth, like a dragon breathing fire!