10 Mindfulness Activities That You Can Do With Your Kids This Summer
We all know that kids can benefit from some sort of structured routine or schedule that keeps them occupied. Summertime, however, can be a much-needed break from our overly scheduled lives.
This summer, your kids may do better with a calmer, more relaxed routine. Instead of overbooking your child, allow for free and open time. If boredom strikes, you can try some fun mindfulness exercises!
Below I've compiled a list of engaging mindfulness activities that can help kids to slow down and be more present throughout the warm summer months! Not only are these activities fun, but they also help kids learn to pay attention and to better understand their feelings.
Outdoor Summer Mindfulness Activities
1. Sky Study
Lay a blanket down on your lawn or at a nearby park to spend some time staring at the clouds. Ask your child - What shapes do you see? Animals? People? Objects? Spend at least 10-15 minutes studying the sky and noticing how they move with the wind. Pay attention to how the cloud that first looked like an elephant now looks like a dog. This is a great way to introduce your kids to the connection between the sky and our mind, the idea that just like the clouds, our thoughts float and change on their own. We can watch the thoughts in our minds just like we watch the sky!
2. What’s New?
Go for a walk in your neighborhood or in any familiar area and ask your child to try and notice 10 things that they’ve never really paid attention to before. Maybe they have never noticed the color of the neighbor’s roof, or the kinds of flowers along the grass, or maybe even the cracks in the sidewalk. Ask them why they think they’ve never noticed them! This is a great way to teach children how to slow down and pay careful attention to their surroundings. They might find some new and interesting things!
3. How Slow Can You Go?
One benefit of mindfulness is teaching kids to slow down both mentally and physically. When you bring your kids to the park over the summer, ask them to see how slowly they can walk from one point to another, or how slowly they can climb up the playground equipment. There are endless possibilities for slowing down! Ask them how it felt to slow down, what did they notice? How did it make them feel?
4. The Listening Game
Take your kids outside and have them spend a few minutes listening to all of the sounds around them. Have them close their eyes, still their body, and just listen. After a few minutes, tell them to open their eyes and share what they heard. Did they hear the birds chirping? The tress rustling? The wind whistling? Were the sounds loud or soft? Spend some time discussing the different sounds, it gives children a great opportunity to learn how to describe things that might not be easy to identify, which is also great practice for describing feelings and emotions too!
5. The Popsicle Challenge
The popsicle challenge is a great mindfulness activity for any hot summer day! The next time your kids eat a popsicle, challenge them to be silent until their popsicle is entirely gone. Encourage them to really notice all the different tastes. What flavors do they notice? How about temperatures? Does the popsicle feel different as it starts to melt? There are lots of different things to discuss once the challenge is over. It's also a fun way to teach children about mindful eating!
Rainy Day Mindfulness Activities
1. Mindful Reading
Reading is a great rainy day activity...why not incorporate some mindfulness into it? When you read a story with your child, take some time to engage in conversation about the feelings of the characters in the book. You can ask them questions about how they think the characters are feeling or what they might be thinking about. This can help kids learn to talk about their own feelings and emotions as well. It also gives them an opportunity to be creative and imaginative!
2. The Color Scavenger Hunt
The color scavenger hunt is such a fun way to get your kids moving on a rainy day. Set boundaries within the house and ask your children to find various items from each color in the rainbow. Give them about 10 minutes to collect their colored items. Encourage them to pick a different kind of item for each color to ensure that they are really exploring their surroundings and paying attention to the things around them! Every time I have played this game with young kids, they are always so surprised about how many colors they can find in their house! After the 10 minutes are up, have your child come back and share the items they found.
3. Mindful Crafts
Making crafts is a great way for kids to be creative and engage all of their senses. There are lots of different mindfulness crafts that you can choose from online! This blog post from Mindful Little Minds lists 5 fun and easy mindful crafts that kids will love!
4. Body Scan
Body scans are a great way to help kids relax their bodies on a rainy summer afternoon! Have your kids lay down on their back and close their eyes, if they are comfortable doing so. Then, have them start by taking two or three deep breaths, asking them to pay attention to how that feels. Then starting at their feet and working up the body have them pay attention to how each part feels.
5. Dance Party
Sometimes on rainy days, kids find it difficult to sit still because they have pent-up energy they haven’t been able to release by running around outside. One great way to let them get their wiggles out is by having a dance party! This gives kids a chance to get out of their heads and into their bodies. Put on some tunes and just dance! Kids love it!