If you have any examples of mindfulness activities that you have done at home that help you then please share them with us - you can email them to me firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will be uploading suggested mindfull activities every week so keep checking in to see what is available.
This Weeks Recommended Mindfulness Activities
DIY Paper Spinner
Craft up a few really fun spinners–You spin them and they hum! It’s super fun and most things you probably already have around the house!
Here’s the how-to instructions.
1. Make 2 circles onto your printer paper
Collect leaves in various shapes and sizes, which in itself is a really lovely activity,and then get to creating. Markers work very well for this activity, beautiful patterns can be created very easily and something all the family can do together.
Whilst painting, look at how the leaf is made, the veins, colours and how fragile they become.
You can either leave them to dry or press them down on a piece of paper to transfer the colours on to the paper.
How to make a Calm Down Box
Any box will do - even better if you have a shoe box lying around, but don't worry if you haven't, ask ask mum or dad if they can help - you could us a Tupperware or plastic box
You will need
Decorate your box in any way that you would like - remember its YOUR calm down box
Things to put in your calm down box
How to Doodle
Do you want to draw doodles for fun? Or Do you want to be a full-time doodle artist?
How are you feeling today? Pick up your pencil and draw it. You can do this realistically or using shapes and colours that represent how you feel in this moment.
Create patterns, shapes, scribbles or whatever comes to mind! It’s that simple.
Whether you have 5 minutes or an hour to spare, take a moment to relax with some mindfulness drawing. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Either way, checking other people’s work is a good way to do this.
You can look at the above link full of lovely doodles.
Nila Aye has been an illustrator for more than two decades.
These days, she is a professional children’s illustrator in the UK.
A Mind Jar is a super fun way to try mindfulness. Imagine that the jar and glitter are your thoughts inside your head. When you shake the jar the glitter swirls around, just like your thoughts when they are sad or angry. This makes it hard to see inside the jar -your emotions take over and you cannot think clearly.
But when you place the jar down and just watch it quietly, the glitter settles to the bottom and the water becomes clear again. The same thing happens to your thoughts when you calm your body and simply notice how you are feeling. The feeling passes, and you can think clearly again.
Fill the jar most of the way with water. Add a few spoonfuls of glitter glue, and some extra glitter if you’re using some. Place some hot glue on the inside of the lid and pop it back onto the bottle to prevent any leakage. And voila! One mind jar. These work very well in calm down spaces.
Focusing on the breath is a simple and quick way to introduce mindfulness. Deep breathing resets our nervous system and acts as a trigger to switch off the stress response. When we breathe slowly and deeply, we send a message to our brain that we are calm, and safe. And so our brain feels calm and safe. Pretty cool, huh?!
Start by just noticing and exploring your breathing. Put a hand on your belly and feel the way it goes up and down as you breathe. Do some star jumps and notice how your breathing changes, Our breathing also changes in response to our emotions – we breathe faster when we’re scared or anxious and slower and deeper when relaxed.
Little people do really well with breathing techniques when they have something to focus on and direct their breath towards. Using things like pinwheels, bubbles, or even dandelions is a super helpful (and fun!) way to help practice mindful breathing. But if you enjoy getting crafty, you can also make your own special breathing tool!
Cut a small strip off the top of one toilet paper roll. Stick it to the top of the other in the shape of an arch, and then attach your ribbons to the arch and decorate your wand.
When you breathe out focus on moving the ribbons on your wand.
Next week we will make a calm down box where you can store all of your cool things that help to manage big emotions.
Mark making is a term used for the creation of different patterns, lines, textures and shapes. This may be
on a piece of paper, on the floor, outside in the garden or on an object or surface.
It could be a simple dot or a line across a paper, all of this contributes to mark making and fundamentally is the basis of developing the writing skill.
Don't just use normal paint brushes and acrylic paints to mark marks. You can use a huge amount of materials including:
Your hands!, Sponge, Foil, cling film, greaseproof paper,
Feathers, leaves, sticks - anything from outside!
Felt, Pipe cleaners, Cotton Wool, String, Pens, Pencils, Crayons
Spatulas, Spoons, Forks, Whisks
Carrots, cucumber, potatoes
World in a Box
You will need:
1. You should feel as if you own your world in a box – it will be yours and it can contain anything you like.
The more the children feel a sense of ownership from the beginning, the greater their creative freedom of expression.
2. Children might choose to create a world which:
3. Don’t worry about designing your boxes on paper. Instead start making straight away, responding to the materials available. To help this process, make sure you have collected together a wide variety of materials to use to collage and create. The greater the variety of materials the more the youcan make thoughtful decisions about which materials to use and how to use them.
4. Make sure to understand that you CAN take risks in your creativity. If you don’t like something you do you can always redo it!
Enjoy this short video which describes how to make a continuous line drawing, and then gives you the timed space to make your own drawing whilst listening to the audio. Perfect for all ages.
Worry dolls are thought to originate in Guatemala, where they were given to those who had trouble sleeping due to worries.
How to Use a Worry Doll
How Mindfulness Can Help During COVID-19
Tips for calming anxiety during a difficult time
With schools closed and many parents working from home without childcare for the foreseeable future, it’s hard not to start spiralling. Responsibilities seem endless, the situation dire, and it seems like time to yourself has become a thing of the past…
Take a deep breath. Literally. Feel a little better?
These are trying times, but incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine can help calm anxiety and build healthy coping skills. Here are some tips on making mindfulness work for you and your family.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
Being mindful is what it sounds like. Taking time to focus on the present, being intentional and thoughtful about where you are and how you are feeling. Trying to centre your thoughts and be in the moment. Sounds simple, but it takes work, especially now when concerns about what the future holds feel so pressing.
Make time for mindfulness – especially us adults..
Right now much of the personal time that used to be part of our daily routines — commutes, time alone at home, going to the shop — is not available. This means it’s extra important to be intentional about creating space to recharge. Deciding to set time aside each day to practice mindful activities is a great place to start,
“The morning, before everyone is awake, can be a great time to really ground yourself.” Morning mindfulness can help set the tone for the day. “Do deep breathing, meditate, exercise, whatever mindfulness activity works for you,” Mindfulness doesn’t have to be elaborate: “You can try mindful eating or mindful drinking with a cup of coffee. Sit there and just be in the moment. That’s mindfulness. Taking five minutes to do that before the day begins is even more important now because this is not our typical routine and we’re going to feel very, very out of sorts.”
Limit multi-tasking – again as important for us adults as it is for our children.
Right now it can feel like trying to do ten things at once is the only way anything will get done. For example, trying to fold laundry, make dinner and watch your child all while on a work call.
Multitasking rarely works, and can actually increase stress. Instead try achievable goals for the day, trying to focus on one thing at a time. For example, scheduling work calls during naptime, allowing kids to have a little extra screen time while you make dinner, or asking older children to help fold the laundry while you finish cleaning up.
Practice mindfulness as a family
Mindfulness, explains David Anderson, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, is “Anything that helps everyone take a moment to slow down, stay present, and come together.” Designating time to practice mindful activities as a family will help everyone feel less anxious.
It could be a daily family yoga session, or a quiet walk in the woods as a group, taking time to focus on the way the air feels, the sound of the birds and the smell of the trees. Another good family mindfulness idea is asking everyone to mention one good thing they heard or saw that day over dinner.
Make peace with uncertainty
This situation is one of extreme uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen, how long it will last or what things will be like when it’s over. One thing we do know, however, is that worrying about it won’t change the outcome. Learning how to tolerate the uncertainty is a huge part of building healthy coping skills for ourselves, which we then want to model for our children. Right now it’s very easy to let your brain spin out with the frightening possibilities. “Practicing mindfulness helps bring us back to the present, and away from the brink.”
There are plenty of free mindfulness exercises to be explored online. The ones selected here are just a few of the many that can help to ease stress and anxiety and increase your sense of peace, calm, and contentment.
Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing) helps to initiate the body’s relaxation response. This worksheet guides us through a simple belly breathing practice that we can use at any point when stress or anxiety begins to rise.
At a time when most of us are caught up in the movements of the mind, coming back to the body is a powerful practice for restoring our sense of peace and presence. Sean Fargo leads this eight-minute meditation.
In these challenging and uncertain times, softly and subtly envisioning an inner smile spreading through the entire body can help us to rest and reset. This gentle meditation is guided by Tara Brach.
Music has a profound impact on our sense of peace and calm. This track is one of the many that can help to ease any stress we might be carrying, whether before bed, during meditation, or at any other time.
This talk by James Baraz addresses the fear and insecurity we experience during challenging times. Towards the end of the recording, he offers a heartfelt meditation to help us explore the topic on a visceral level.
Another talk to increase mindfulness of what’s happening in mind, body, and the world, Sharon Salzberg explores the notion of balance. This talk encourages a compassionate and curious self-inquiry as we gain insights into how we might gently find greater balance and peace of mind.
Becoming more curious about our emotions helps to deepen our awareness while decreasing our attachment to whatever moves within. This resource takes a closer look at a range of universal emotions, offering steps as to how we might mindfully navigate whatever is present for us.
Last but certainly not least, our embodiment of peace is strengthened when we explore loving kindness for ourselves and everyone that inhabits this earth. Sean Fargo leads this fifteen-minute meditation to deepen our sense of compassion, kindness, and interconnectedness.
Help Our Children Develop Mindfulness
Individuals of all ages benefit greatly from developing Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a wonderful quality to evoke in children as well, and can reduce behavioural issues by teaching young ones how to be more considerate. However, given the active nature and shorter attention spans of children, some accommodations must be made. Carefully designed mindfulness exercises for children take into account their developmental stage while promoting the same essence of mindfulness that experienced adults strive to achieve.
Looking after yourself, looking after your children
Taking care of our mental health and checking in on others is something that we can all do, and we need to remember that by looking after our own mental health, we’ll be best placed to look after our children. Remember when they tell you on aeroplanes that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, it’s like that.
You don’t need to feel under pressure to recreate a school learning environment at home. The most important thing in these times of uncertainty is to spend time with your family. Cuddle up together, take turns in reading, do puzzles, build dens, bake, watch TV together, in other words don’t stress about your children not keeping up with their schoolwork. Your children will not learn much if they are stressed.
Although this is a scary time it could very well be a time that they remember as the best time in their life through spending precious time with family members.
Here are our top tips:
Here are some useful links:
There is currently a lot of uncertainty and worry around the coronavirus outbreak and children and young people will be affected by the huge changes that are going on around them - regardless of their age or any additional needs. It is really important that adults explain what is happening to children and young people in an age appropriate way so they understand what is happening. Some useful links are:
Tips and guidance on supporting preschool children (Zero to Three)
Visual stories are a useful way of helping children to understand the Coronavirus. Here are some links to some good examples:
Hello! Story about Coronavirus for young children:
A comic exploring coronavirus to help young people understand:
Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic:
Information video on Coronavirus for Primary age children (KS2) (Brainpop):
Information video on Coronavirus for older children/adults (WHO):
Helping children cope with stress (WHO):
For the next few weeks, Mindful Schools will be offering free mindfulness classes for kids! Join us online – for mindful activities, mindful movement, read-alouds – and let’s have fun exploring mindfulness together.
Autism and the Coronavirus: top tips
A social story about pandemics (Carol Gray)
See the example social story on the last page
Coronavirus and your wellbeing (Mind UK):
Call 116 123
UK Mental Health Charity with information and an online mutual support community
For young people
Telephone: 0808 802 6666
Text message: 07537 404 282
The FamilyLine service supports people who are dealing with family pressures in a new and innovative way by using a network of volunteers from across the country to support family members over the age of 18 through telephone calls, email, web chat and text message.
Family Lives (previously Parentline)
Call: 0808 800 2222
Family Lives offers a confidential and free helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline). for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. The helpline service is open 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday.
Single Parent Helpline: 0808 802 0925
One Parent Families/Gingerbread is the leading national charity working to help lone parents and their children.
Call: 0300 123 7015
Grandparents Plus is the only national charity (England and Wales) dedicated to supporting kinship carers - grandparents and other relatives raising children who aren't able to live with their parents
Overview and advice of you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19
Stay at Home advice
Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
Guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Make sure you and your children follow these general principles to prevent spreading any respiratory virus:
Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19. Please help us in sharing simple and effective hand hygiene messages.
Public Health England has a dedicated webpage with a range of posters and digital materials at:
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms.
Stay at home if you have either:
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.