Pumpkin Deep Breathing Exercise

deep breathing mindfulness activity for halloween

This Halloween activity is one that I came up with while thinking about our recent Halloween Occupational Therapy activities post. So often, we see kids who struggle with coping strategies and require tools to improve self regulation. This can occur at school or at home. What if we could combine a child’s interest in all things Halloween with a deep breathing exercise that can be used as a coping strategy, or a calm down activity? That’s where this pumpkin deep breathing exercise comes in.

This deep breathing exercise uses a pumpkin for a coping strategy for kids that is a calm down strategy this Halloween.

Deep Breathing Exercise

So often, parents and teachers ask for strategies to use as a coping mechanism. When kids have coping tools in their toolbox for addressing sensory needs, worries, and getting to that “just right” state of regulation, a self-reflective state can occur.

Addressing specific needs like sensory overload, worries or anxiety, fears, or nervousness can be as simple as having a set of sensory coping strategies on hand. One way to do this is using mindfulness and positive coping skills like this deep breathing exercises.

Deep breathing exercises help with mindfulness and coping skills for several reasons:

When kids are taught about how their body feels and reacts in certain situations, they can self-reflect on past responses. They can better understand who they are and how their body reacts to stressful or sensory situations. By better understanding their states of regulation, they can be mindful of things that may set them off, but better yet, know how to respond. Having a coping strategy on hand can set them up for success in learning or social situations. Practicing mindfulness activities and coping strategies can be powerful for kids.

Mindfulness is the ability and awareness of thoughts, feelings, and sensations as our body responds or reacts in thought, feeling, and sensations. Mindfulness is being present in the moment in any given situation with full awareness of inward and outward sensations. Practicing mindful awareness through deep breathing exercises is one way to notice how our body is reacting in a given moment and provides a tool to reset. Coping skills for kids may include deep breathing as just one strategy.

Here are some mindfulness videos on YouTube to help kids better understand what coping strategies and mindfulness in action looks and feels like.

Deep breathing acts as a coping tactic and a calming activity. It’s an easy coping strategy for kids because taking deep breaths with mindful breathing can be done anywhere and without any equipment.

Taking controlled breaths with deep breathing can give kids a sense of control that helps them rest and address self-regulation or emotional regulation when they are upset, worried, or feel a need to calm down.

coping skills…with a pumpkin

So now that we’ve covered deep breathing and why it’s a helpful coping strategy for kids, let’s talk about a fun Halloween themed coping strategy that kids will love to try.

This deep breathing activity uses a simple picture of a pumpkin, but you can use a real pumpkin, too. The small decorative gourds or pie pumpkins are perfect for this activity, because kids can hold the small pumpkin in their hands and feel the weight of the pumpkin as they complete the breathing strategy.

Using a pumpkin picture or real pumpkin, show kids how to use deep breathing as a coping tool by taking calming breaths while they trace the lines of the pumpkin.

Trace the lines up toward the stem while taking a deep breath in. Hold the breath for a few seconds and then trace a line down another section of the pumpkin while slowly breathing out. Hold that breath for a few seconds. Repeat this process as you slowly trace up and down the sections of the pumpkin.

Use a pumpkin as a deep breathing exercise for a coping strategy for kids.
Pumpkin activity kit
Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

  • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
  • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
  • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
  • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
  • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
  • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
  • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice

Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Fun Mindfulness Activities

Here, you will find fun mindfulness activities to help kids with creative mindfulness exercises that can help kids feel better, reduce stress, address anxiety, and have a greater awareness of their body and mind. Mindfulness activities for kids can be used as a self-regulation tool or a coping strategy. The sky’s the limit!


Looking for more ways to teach mindfulness? Here are winter themed mindfulness activities that kids will love. 

These FUN Mindfulness activities are helpful self-regulation tools for kids.

 

Fun Mindfulness Activities



First, let’s talk about what mindfulness means.

Mindfulness activities for kids can help kids with attention coping, learning, self-regulation, and more!

What is mindfulness?



Mindfulness is the ability to bring your attention to the events happening in the moment. It allows us to carefully observe our thoughts and feeling, to develop a sense of self awareness.  Mindfulness can be done anywhere. It does not require special equipment. It can be as easy as sitting and thinking or visualizing a place in your mind.

Who is mindfulness good for?



Mindfulness is great for any age, including kids. School can be a very overwhelming experience with expectations, rules, noises, crowds. Being able to do fun mindfulness activities can be a good way for children to self-regulate, focus and feel better emotionally and physically. Learning how to self-regulate (being able to manage your own emotions) is an important skill to learn at a young age.


Mindfulness is a helpful tool in addressing executive functioning skills needs in kids.

 

Mindfulness activities for kids



Listed below are some easy, beginning mindfulness activities to try with kids.
Looking for more ideas? Here are some mindfulness videos on YouTube.

Mindfulness Activity #1: Mindful Breathing- 

Taking deep breaths is so important in relaxation it brings awareness to your body. There are many different ways to teach kids to take deep breaths and then blow out. Using a pinwheel, blowing bubbles, blowing out candles, picturing a balloon opening and closing with breath. Even having your child breath in while you count to 5 and then breath out.

Mindfulness Activity #2: Body Scan- 

Have your child lay on his/her back. Tell them to tense up all muscles from head to toe and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then have them release and relax, ask them how they feel. This exercise helps kids to recognize how their body is feeling in a tense vs. Calm state.

Mindfulness Activity #3: Visualization or Guided Imagery–

This is a relaxation technique that is used to promote positive mental images. You can find guided imagery scripts online, pertaining to many different subjects from nature to emotions. Start by having your child close their eyes, while seated or lying down. Slowly read the script and have them visualize the image in their minds, then have them draw a picture of that place and keep it in their desk or at home as a reference to a calm place for them.

Mindfulness Activity #4: Take a Walk- 

Being outside and taking a walk is a great way for your child to be present in the moment. Point out the different sounds heard from birds chirping to leaves rustling. Notice the smell of the fresh cut grass or flowers. Feel the different textures of sand and rocks. Notice the sun, wind and clouds. Bring a blanket and lay on the grass, look up at the trees, look at the clouds.   Walk over to a pound and listen for frogs, look for fish and throw rocks in to make a splash.

Mindfulness Activity # 5: Stretching/Yoga- 

Taking deep breaths and stretching can be a very calming and teaches you to be aware of how your body is feeling.  Turn the lights down, put on relaxing music and help guide your child through bedtime relaxation stretches for kids.


Use these mindfulness strategies for kids as a coping strategy, to help with attention in the classroom, to impact learning, or to address self-regulation needs. What’s very cool is that each awareness activity could be themed to fit classroom or homeschool lessons, the curriculum, or seasons. Make these mindfulness activities fit the needs of your classroom, clients, and kids!


Mindfulness is a coping strategy used in The Impulse Control Journal.

The Impulse control journal is a printable journal for kids that helps them to identify goals, assess successes, and address areas of needs. The Impulse Control Journal is a printable packet of sheets that help kids with impulse control needs.

Read more about The Impulse Control Journal HERE.

The Impulse Control Journal has been totally revamped to include 79 pages of tools to address the habits, mindst, routines, and strategies to address impulse control in kids.

More about the Impulse Control Journal:

  • 30 Drawing Journal Pages to reflect and pinpoint individual strategies
  • 28 Journal Lists so kids can write quick checklists regarding strengths, qualities, supports, areas of need, and insights
  • 8 Journaling worksheets to pinpoint coping skills, feelings, emotions, and strategies that work for the individual
  • Daily and Weekly tracking sheets for keeping track of tasks and goals
  • Mindset,Vision, and Habit pages for helping kids make an impact
  • Self-evaluation sheets to self-reflect and identify when inhibition is hard and what choices look like
  • Daily tracker pages so your child can keep track of their day
  • Task lists to monitor chores and daily tasks so it gets done everyday
  • Journal pages to help improve new habits
  • Charts and guides for monitoring impulse control so your child can improve their self-confidence
  • Strategy journal pages to help kids use self-reflection and self-regulation so they can succeed at home and in the classroom
  • Goal sheets for setting goals and working to meet those goals while improving persistence
  • Tools for improving mindset to help kids create a set of coping strategies that work for their needs
This is a HUGE digital resource that you can print to use over and over again.  



 

 
These fun mindfulness activities for kids can help kids in so many ways!
About Christina:
Christina Komaniecki is a school based Occupational Therapist. I graduated from Governors State University with a master’s in occupational therapy.   I have been working in the pediatric setting for almost 6 years and have worked in early intervention, outpatient pediatrics, inpatient pediatrics, day rehab, private clinic and schools. My passion is working with children and I love to see them learn new things and grow. I love my two little girls, family, yoga and going on long walks.

Winter Mindfulness Activities for Kids

These winter mindfulness for kids activities are coping strategies to address self-regulation and awareness in kids.

Teaching kids mindfulness techniques can be a way to incorporate self-awareness, self-regulation, and the senses. The winter months, can be a time when mindfulness is especially necessary. The winter mindfulness activities for kids listed below include tips for mindfulness in the classroom and creative mindfulness exercises with a winter theme. These mindfulness activities can be used as a support for so many occupational therapy goal areas. In fact, the benefits of mindfulness are many! Read on to learn more.


You may also be interested in checking out a previous post here on The OT Toolbox where we shared a collection of videos on Mindfulness for Kids over on YouTube.

Kids can practice mindfulness to focus, attend, and be more present in the moment. These winter mindfulness activities are activities that have a winter theme.




Winter Mindfulness Activities for Kids

This post is part of our Winter Week here on The OT Toolbox. Each day this week, we’re sharing creative winter activities that can be used in occupational therapy plans, therapy home programs, the classroom, or home! 

First, here are some other winter themed mindfulness strategies here on The OT Toolbox. Our Christmas mindfulness coloring pages are coping tools that can be used in a variety of ways. Try this Christmas tree mindfulness activity for kids and this Christmas star mindfulness for kids printable page.


Check out the Winter Activities on the site this week: 

Monday- Indoor Recess Ideas

Tuesday- Winter Brain Break Ideas

Wednesday- Winter Bilateral Coordination Activities

Thursday-Winter Mindfulness Activities

Friday- Winter Fine Motor Activities (AND Free Fine Motor Printables!)

Now on to today’s topic, mindfulness activities!

These winter mindfulness for kids activities are coping strategies to address self-regulation and awareness in kids.

What is mindfulness?

First, let’s talk about what is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of one’s actions and self in the moment. Mindfulness is an important part of self-regulation and the ability to regulate our senses, feelings, and body. It allows us to focus on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting “what’s happening” on the inside. These are our thoughts, feelings, and sensations.


Mindfulness is a skill that allows us to be aware of our body without responding rashly. In kids, mindfulness is important in the ability to pay attention and responding to input from the world around us.

For kids, mindfulness is noticing their body and the things happening around them. It has a lot to do with impulse control. Just like any other skill, mindfulness is an ability that develops over time.

 
It’s easy to see how this skill relates to so many other areas that occupational therapists address: self-regulation, self-confidence, attention, social-emotional skills, coping skills, sensory processing, impulsivity and inhibition, and overall well being.
 
It’s a big part of treating the whole person!
 
Mindfulness helps kids relax, think more positively, attend, promote self-confidence, improve social emotional skills, and so many other areas. These mindfulness strategies for kids can be used as a tool for treating the whole person.
 

How to Teach Mindfulness

There are ways to develop and refine self-awareness. The good thing to know that as occupational therapists, we are skilled in the areas that play into mindfulness: sensory processing (including interoception), coping strategies, self-awareness, and self-regulation.
 
It’s important to recognize that there is no one way to teach mindfulness. Each child is different and with different needs, strengths, and interests. The winter themed mindfulness activities below are just some strategies that teach the skill of self-awareness in a variety of ways. They all have one thing in common though…they are all winter themed!
 
These winter mindfulness activities for kids use snowman activities, snow activities, and other winter mindfulness activities to improve focus, attention, self-awareness, coping skills, and self-regulation.

Winter Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Sensory Snow Painting- If you live in an area with snow, bring some indoors and pull out the watercolors. We shared an activity when this website was just a baby site on painting snow with watercolors. Add some calm and quiet music as you paint to make it a mindful act. Slowly and deliberately attend to the watercolors as they mix together. Add slow breathing for a mindfulness activity that results in a sensory component.
 
Use what you’ve got! This post from Grow Wise Yoga shares tons of easy and creative ways to use everyday materials in winter themed indoor mindfulness activities. I love that there are suggestions to use craft pom poms, beads, clay, scarves, and other materials that promote fine and gross motor skills in the act of mindfulness, too!
 
Make a Winter Themed Sensory Bottle- Blue glitter, water, snowflake sparkles or beads…this sounds like a winter sensory bottle idea that would make a great mindfulness tool! In fact, kids can use a sensory bottle to calm down, focus on the moment, concentrate on breathing, and attend to the present moment. A sensory bottle is a mindfulness tool that can be used as a coping strategy and in self-regulation. Here are tips and suggestions for how to make a sensory bottle.
 
Attending to a sound or sounds can be a way to mindfully focus in a moment. We’ve shared auditory processing activities here on The OT Toolbox that can help with this skill. Some ideas include listening with concentration to a single sound as it moves around a room or changes in volume. Some tools that we’ve shared on our auditory processing page include DIY shaker bottles, bell dominos, DIY rhythm sticks and other tools.
 
Stretch and move- Intentional breathing combined with stretch as in yoga stretches can be a strategy to teach mindfulness.
 
Practice Guided Mindfulness- Counselor Kori has some great winter themed printable resources that guide mindfulness including a hot cocoa activity and craft, a snow globe activity and craft, and a snowman mindfulness activity. These can be used to teach mindfulness while exercising the ability to refocus with a centered breathing pattern.
 
Guided Meditation and Relaxation Script- Follow a guided script to recenter with meditation and mindfulness. Greenchild has some free guided meditation scripts for kids that you can follow within a theme during the winter or all year round.
 
Looking for more Winter Activities? Be sure to check out the other activities we’re sharing this week!
 
You may also be interested in:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Use these winter mindfulness activities for kids this winter.