Mindfulness has been trendy for a while. When I first started incorporating mindfulness activities into my lessons, I was overthinking what it was and how it worked. But mindfulness doesn’t need to be confusing or take long! Below are 5 of my favorite mindfulness activities that you can start using this week with your students!
Hershey Kiss Activity
I’m not sure where this originated from, but it’s a great way to explain mindfulness and my students love it! You will need Hershey Kisses, Starbursts, or another candy that is individually wrapped. I usually have a few options for students with allergies or braces. Begin by handing one out to each student and instructing them not to touch it. They will be using each of their senses throughout the experience of eating their candy. What do they notice about it? What does it feel like? What does a lick taste like? How does it feel when they take a bite? And so on. Try to make the process as slow and drawn out as you can. I use a script to make sure I don’t forget something I want them to notice!
You can incorporate a guided script into any lesson as a warm up or ending. They usually walk students through a quick body scan, then help them visualize an experience or place. It can be their happy place, a destination, or a seasonal activity like going to the pumpkin patch. They are easy to switch out and my students always ask for them! You can find my own guided scripts in my store.
This is another mindfulness activity you can do any time. Calm Classroom has a video of theirs on YouTube or you can make it up. The point is for students to bring awareness to each body part over a course of several minutes. For this, you would instruct them to close their eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then slowly name each body part for them to bring attention to, starting with their head and ending with their toes.
Mindfulness Scavenger Hunt
If you are looking for something to get students up and moving, this is a great option! You can look for hunts online or make your own. All you need is a list of items for students to look for. They can be anything, inside or outside. When it’s nicer out, I like to take students outside for a hunt. I have them look for particular items that have different textures, shapes, colors, etc. You can also include sensations instead of physical items like a certain sound or smell.
I probably use this the most when I want to focus on mindfulness with my students. You can make it an entire lesson or use as a quick warm-up and ending like I mentioned before. Tracing activities use different items to practice breathing. For example, tracing a box of crayons and breathing in and out while you trace each side (each side would be a breath in or a breath out). You can also do this with your hand by tracing up your thumb and inhaling, then down the other side and exhaling – repeating for each finger would give 5 deep breaths. For older students you can use a labyrinth which is like a maze. There is research that supports moving in the direction of a labyrinth has positive effects on the brain.
I hope this list gave you some quick and easy ideas to practice mindfulness with your students! Have you tried any others? I’d love to hear about them!
Looking for more coping tools? Check out my list of the10 fidgets that work best for my students