Mindfulness, breathing, wellness: Activity ideas for young people & families
Engaging in relaxation and mindfulness activities can provide a variety of benefits including:
- Better physical and mental health
- Support emotion regulation
- Create opportunities to focus on the present moment
The following list outlines different ideas of how to incorporate mindfulness practices into day-to-day activities! Feel free to change or modify these activities to fit into your day-to-day lives or to meet your specific needs.
Activity # 1 - Breathe like a Bubble
- Imagine that you are a bubble.
- As you breathe in, focus on your body being filled with air- just like a bubble.
- As you blow out your breath, feel your body relax and try to let go of your thoughts- just like a bubble floats away from the bubble wand.
- Repeat these steps as many times as you’d like.
- Try to focus on the present moment, acknowledging thoughts that float like bubbles through your mind.
Activity # 2- Breathing with the Bubble
- With the bubble wand in hand, breathe in slowly.
- Gently breathe out into the bubble wand, feeling your body relax.
- Try to visualize anxious thoughts being blown inside the bubble.
- Focus on one of the bubbles and watch it float away.
- Hold a small ball of Play-Doh in your hand
- Take big three deep breaths, and then consider the following...
- Do you notice the urge to squeeze it?
- Is the Play-Doh hot, warm, or cold?
- How would you describe the colour of the Play-Doh?
- Does the shape change as you move it from hand to hand?
- Notice the smell of the Play-Doh
- Push a finger into the Play-Doh, do you see a fingerprint?
- Continue to squeeze and roll the Play-Doh, noticing how it feels in your hands.
- Finish the activity by taking three deep breaths.
- Touch and feel the beads one at a time.
- What do they feel like?
- Are they different somehow?
- Can you feel different shapes and textures?
- Look at the different beads.
- How many different colours can you find?
- What do they look like in this particular light?
- Feel the beads with your fingers one at a time, and take a deep breath with each bead. Slowly, in and out.
Activity # 1- Movement Activity with Plants
- While sitting or standing, bend at your waist and allow your arms to drop towards the floor. Imagine that you are a tiny seed in the ground.
- Take a deep breath in and slowly begin to rise, move like you are a tiny plant shoot, pushing its way out of the soil. Growing slowly as you reach towards the sky.
- Release your breath completely as your arms finally come up, spread your arms and hands wide open to make a V-shape. Move like you are blooming tall and wide.
- Open your leaves and petals to the sun above you, stretching your arms tall and out to the side. Gently sway as if in a breeze.
Activity # 2- Positivity/Affirmation Activity with Plants
- While preparing the soil in the pot, begin to think of positive affirmations, emotions, thoughts, and experiences.
- When planting the seed, think about planting those positive thoughts to grow alongside the plant.
- Each time you water or observe the progress of the plant, try to think about those positive thoughts too!
- Note: If it helps, write down the positive thoughts after planting the seed and keep the list by your plant.
- Find a comfortable spot to start the puzzle.
- Take two or three deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Look at the collection of puzzle pieces.
- Observe the different shapes of the pieces.
- Observe the different colours of the pieces.
- Focus on fitting the pieces together, allowing room for mistakes and problem solving.
- While fitting the pieces together, focus on your breath and the puzzle. Observe other thoughts that don’t “fit” in the puzzle and gently allow them to fade into the background.
- Before starting your creation, take two or three deep breaths.
- Throughout your creation, focus on the colour:
- How did you choose the colour?
- Where did you apply it to?
- Try to remain focused on what you are creating, letting go of thoughts about today or tomorrow.
- Observe your breath throughout the creation, noticing the inhale and exhale.
Choose to complete this activity by yourself or with a friend!
- Find a comfortable spot outside and take a deep breath.
- Using mindful observation, choose an object to focus on.
- Find three things about this object to describe...
- What colour is the object?
- Is the object moving or is it standing still?
- What sound does the object make?
- If you have chosen to do this activity with a friend, share the observations that you have made...
- How are your observations the same?
- How are your observations different?
- Once you have described the object, pick a new object to describe or allow a friend to choose.
- Schedule breaks throughout your day to move around or practice mindfulness!
- every hour, every two hours, whatever works for you!
- Here are some ideas to incorporate movement and mindfulness in your day while sitting or standing.
- Allow the yoga prompts to provide ideas and instructions for stretching.
- Pick your favourite tune to listen to, consider singing or moving to the beat!
- Look through the mindfulness or breathing resources to provide ideas or guides for a moment of relaxation.
- Look through the outdoor play prompts and choose an activity.
- Incorporate your favourite activity mentioned in this document throughout your day.
A progressive muscle relaxation exercise will tense and relax major muscle groups throughout your body, letting go of tension throughout your body.
- Once you have found a comfortable position, take three deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- You can close your eyes, or, keep them open.
- Begin with observing how your feet feel. Take a deep breath in while scrunching or squeezing your feet together (as tight or loose as you’d like).
- Hold this squeeze for 5-10 seconds. Then, let go of your breath and muscles, feeling your feet relax.
- Move upwards throughout your body. Observe how your lower legs feel. Take a deep breath in while squeezing your lower legs (as tight or loose as you’d like).
- Hold this squeeze for 5-10 seconds. Then, let go of your breath and muscles, feeling your lower legs relax.
- While making your way up the major muscle groups of your body (ex. upper legs, buttocks, back, stomach, hands, lower arms, upper arms, chest, shoulders, neck, face, and head) continue to focus on your breath and letting your muscles relax.
If you would like more resources on breathing, mindfulness and wellness, check out these free resources:
Breathing Exercise Apps
- Breathly: A simple way to focus on your breathing.
- MyLife: Guided meditation for sleep, stress, anxiety & relaxation
- Smiling Mind: Mindfulness Mediation
Apps that help with Mood and Emotions
- MindShift: Anxiety management app to help manage worry, stress & panic.
- Booster Buddy: Designed to help improve mental health and wellness.
- Clear Fear: Provides a range of ways to manage anxiety.
YouTube Channels & Websites
- We Matter: Indigenous youth-led organization dedicated to Indigenous youth support, hope, and life promotion
- EyeLeo: eye movement activities to avoid eye strain from the computer
- Sworkit Kid Workouts: Fun workouts for kids
- Do Nothing for 2 Minutes (Calm)
- YouTube Channels
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Move to Learn
- Yoga for Teens
- Mini TFO: Francophone videos that provide accessible guides to yoga and breathing activities.