Benefits of Mindfulness

Benefits of mindfulness

There are many benefits of mindfulness, and in particular to the practice of mindfulness for children. Mindfulness affects the brain development and mechanisms in a few different ways according to research. Some research has indicated that the brain is impacted structurally through mindfulness activities

Benefits of mindfulness in children include positive attributes such as improved emotional regulation, attention, mood, cognitive function, and more.

Benefits of Mindfulness

Here are a few ways that mindfulness dresses functional skills and benefits of mindfulness:

Mindfulness Improves Mood

Part of mindfulness is the act of being aware of oneself, as well as an awareness of the surrounding environment. Having this awareness allows for a better understanding of things, situations, people, or events that impact mood.

In fact, working on mindfulness techniques can change and impact mood overall, because mindful techniques and strategies change the brain by improving connectivity among some brain areas and changing tissue density in key regions.

Through mindfulness techniques, those with mood disorders are able to better pay attention to the sensations and feelings they are experiencing, rather than fester in negative thoughts that can lead to a bad mood or changes in mood level (mood swings).

Instead, mindfulness offers a chance to evaluative one’s thoughts in the present moment, with a consideration of sensory input. The practice of this self-evaluation offers a chance for the brain to “exercise” and strengthen the pathways involved in experiential self-reference.

Mindfulness Helps with Emotional Regulation

Researchers have found that mindfulness and emotion regulation are related and are correlated, based on four factors:

  • Awareness and attention to the presence (being present and aware in any given moment)
  • Having a sense of acceptance of one’s experience
  • Clarity and understanding about one’s internal experience
  • Ability to manage negative emotions (for emotion regulation)

Mindfulness and Attention

Research suggests that mindfulness meditation training improves attention. In fact, mindfulness has been found to improve aspects of attention, including the specific attentional processes of alerting, orienting, and executive attention.

The alerting process allows us to maintain a state of vigilance or alertness. We see this process when we are alert and ready to attend or respond to relevant stimuli when they arise. The orienting aspect of attention is responsible for attending selectively to a location in space.

The executive control aspect of attention is responsible for deciding between competing inputs. These three aspects of attention function independently, but are all critical for attention in general. Here is more information on attention and various aspects of attention.

Mindfulness Helps with Rumination

Rumination refers to the process of deeply thinking about something, or go over and over a thought in the mind. Rumination can be a detrimental process that is not only a counterproductive way to process situations or events, but can lead to overthinking in a way that has a potential for some people to experience aversive emotions such as depression, anxiety, fear, anger, or self-depreciation.

One study found that mindfulness decreased depression that occurs from rumination and that specific aspects of mindfulness reduced depression. These include acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reacting.

Mindfulness Improves Cognitive Functioning

Research has found that mindfulness impacts cognitive function. There has been preliminary evidence suggesting that mindfulness can improve cognition specifically in the domains of focused attention, working memory capacity, and other executive functions.

Participants were provided with mindfulness techniques such as attention to the breath, focused body-scans, yoga, walking meditations, meditation recordings of guided meditation, and journaling as mind-body practices.

The study concluded that mindfulness based interventions show some evidence for improving cognitive impairment among breast cancer survivors.

Mindfulness Helps with Focus

One study has found that mediation practice improves focus. Having a mindful awareness in the present moment was found to reduce incidents of getting off-task in thinking.

Mindfulness meditation allowed for a switch of attention from their internal thoughts to the external environment. When this switch happens, one is able to focus on their body, mind, and environment in the moment rather than other thoughts, worries, and stressors.

One practical way to improve focus is to bring awareness to your breath each time you feel your mind wandering. This can be practiced during meditation. This practice actually strengthens the brain’s neural circuitry for focus. 

Mindfulness Improves Gray matter density

Interestingly, mindfulness has been found to improve grey matter density in the brain. Following an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, participants showed increases in gray matter concentration within the brain, including the hippocampus and cerebellum.

Mindfulness techniques in this study included formal mindfulness training exercises including a body scan, mindful yoga, and sitting meditation. This included guided meditation, gentle stretching exercises and slow movements that are often coordinated with the breath, and awareness of the sensations of breathing, then evolve to include awareness of different modalities (such as sounds, sight, taste, other body sensations, thoughts and emotions).

Also used were audio recordings for implementation of meditation strategies at home, and instructions to facilitate the integration of mindfulness into daily life during everyday activities such as eating, walking, washing the dishes, taking a shower etc. 

Mindfulness Reduces Stress

Mindfulness has been found to reduce stress as well. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an established program that includes various forms of mindfulness practice. These consist of formal and informal meditation practice, yoga, breath-focused attention, body scan-based attention, shifting attention across sensory modalities, open monitoring of moment-to-moment experience, walking meditation, and eating meditation.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is believed to have an impact on one’s emotional response to situations by modifying the brain’s cognitive–affective processes.

Mindfulness improves Self-Awareness

Mindfulness uses mental training in the form of awareness of the mind and body so that awareness of self is automatic. Practicing mindfulness is in itself, self-awareness in any given situation.

By improving this skill, one can have the ability to effectively modulate one’s behavior, or experience self-regulation. Practicing mindful techniques strengthens self-awareness skills.

Mindfulness Improves Self control

One researcher described mindfulness as a strategy to helps us become more aware and accepting of emotional signals—which helps us to control our behavior. She says that the thought that mindfulness leads to less emotionality, or that mindful people experience less emotion is simply not true.

In fact, mindfulness allows for improved emotion regulation through a present-moment awareness and acceptance of emotional experience. 

Mindfulness as a Coping Strategy

Mindfulness as a coping strategy for kids can impact sensory or emotional needs and help children regulate their body’s response to input, so that they can accomplish tasks, learn, and function in the home, classroom, or community.

Mindfulness and Executive Functioning

Studies have linked mindfulness with executive functioning skills, and it makes sense! Mindfulness is a strategy to increase attention, working memory, self-monitoring, emotion/mood, conflict attention and impulse control.

And, by increasing an awareness and acceptance of various emotional states, those who meditate may excel at executive control because of their ability to attend to the emotions associated with making errors in any given situation. Fascinating!

Mindfulness Improves Listening skills

Mindfulness is centered around awareness and self-reflection. So, when we listen with intention, and really focus on the person talking to us, you can give your full attention to the person speaking.

Mindful listening is a way of listening without judgment, criticism or interruption, and without letting your mind wander. It allows you to be aware of internal thoughts and reactions but listen with focus.

Fostering these listening skills allows for better understanding and comprehension. 

A final word on mindfulness benefits in children

There is a lot of information here that defines mindfulness as a tool to improve various skillsets in kids. My hope is that this information on mindfulness can be a starting point to drive goals and therapy activities for children.

For specific mindfulness activities for kids here on The OT Toolbox, try these ideas to gain all of the benefits of mindfulness:

Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Mindfulness Library

Mindfulness YouTube Videos for Kids

Pumpkin Deep Breathing Exercise

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.

Self Care Strategies for Therapists

use these self care strategies to cope with challenges in work.

Are you taking care of yourself? Changes in routines, uncertainties, new requirements for therapy interventions…all of these transitions are reasons to add self care strategies in order to maintain occupational balance. Take current events, the additional responsibilities of distance learning (and teaching your own kids), social distancing, and the stress of getting through the grocery store. Then add the task of planning and running teletherapy sessions. Add digital communication with kids at extreme needs to regular work challenges (Helloooo billing, documentation, productivity…or even unemployment.) All of this together can build to create a tipping point of worries, stress, and anxiety for therapists. In this post, I wanted to put together a toolbox for you. Here, you will find tips for self care for therapists. These are resources for self-reflection, mindfulness, self-care strategies, and easy ways for you to take care of yourself during this uncertain time. These are things to do for yourself if you are feeling the stress of isolation.

Self care strategies for therapists

Self Care Strategies for Therapists

Therapy professionals are no strangers to the need to have a self care plan in place. Occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists are long-time sufferers of therapy burnout. Take a look at the caseload requirements, productivity standards, and unpaid tasks that many therapists need to balance. But add in the new challenges with serving clients through teletherapy or unemployment in many cases and self care for health professionals is very much-needed now more than ever. Being cooped up in the dinding room as a teacher for your children and new teletherapy pro means you may not be getting your regular exercise and dose of fresh air. All of that time spent indoors can lead to worries, depression, or a building up of anxiety in your chest. These self-care strategies are ways to heal those overwhelming feelings.

Use these self-care strategies for emotional self care.

Self Care Balance

The thing is that as occupational therapists, we KNOW the need for balance. The occupational balance of work/play/rest is very much a service to ourselves and a fine line that must be honored. We recognize the need to set realistic expectations for ourselves. We know the power that limitations in self care has when combined with work demands, income concerns, and health and safety of ourselves and those we love. But, HOW is that self care balance and a healthy lifestyle possible during uncertain times?

Pour yourself a cup of tea or grab yourself a hot mug of coffee. Curl up with a cozy blanket or sit in the outdoors as you read this, friends. Here are self care strategies that will serve you well as therapists or health care professionals.

Use these self care strategies to cope with challenges in work.

Self Care Strategies for Therapists

Using self care methods as a healthcare provider offers an oppourtunity to promote your own well-being in order to maintain a helathy lifestyle so that you are capable of seriving those in need. Sometimes it’s good to turn your well-tuned “OT lens” on youself, right?

Try these strategies for emotional self care and physical self care needs. Some ideas may work for some, but not others. Others may find just the coping tool needed to find peace or a sense of occupational balance during uncertain times.

Mindfulness Strategies– Meditation or mindfulness practice on a regular basis offers a time for respite in daily schedules. Mindfulness is a great tool for boosting mental health. By intentionally being mindfully aware in situations, you can focus on the current situation by being present.

Sensory Diet– As therapists, creating sensory diets is second nature. But, when the feelings of stress and burnout occur, what if we turned out therapy hat onto ourselves by using those very sensory tools as coping strategies? Here is an explanation of what a sensory diet is to get you started. Think outside of the box when it comes to identifying needs. You may not be experiencing the typical signs of sensory distress, but worries, sadness, or emotional fluctuations can be a change from the norm that are impacted by a few sensory tools. Here are tools for creating a sensory diet that works for you.

Turn off the News (or Facebook!)- Giving your brain a rest on what other’s think or see is a way to give your mental health priority. When everyone’s got an opinion (and it’s not at all encouraging, hopeful, or helpful…) all of that information can man overload in your brain that builds the stress levels. Give yourself permission to social distance from social media.

Journaling– Using a journal to self-reflect is a means of taking time to think through thoughts and emotions. By writing out problems, one can reflect on possible solutions and problem solve ways to address concerns. Your journal is a place to be kind to yourself. Use it well! This self-reflection journal for therapists is a good way to keep track of your thoughts, progress, and work during this unprecedented time in history.

Yoga/Exercise- Schedule time in your day for some exercise, whether that be a 10 minute walk, yoga stretches in the morning, or a full exercise routine. Take a walk after work or at the end of the day, or do a quick YouTube video to get the blood moving.

Physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise has been show to improve regulation, emotions, and mood. For the busy therapist, a treadmill workout that fits into everyday schedules is the way to go. This is the time that I love to run along to music, podcasts, and even Netflix when running on the treadmill. Can you pair a HIIT treadmill workout with an OT podcast or fun movie?

With the Horizon Fitness treadmills and fitness equipment, there are a number of entertainment apps and streaming options, including Bluetooth speakers,  live or on-demand fitness apps, and other streaming fitness opportunities. All of these extras are designed to promote improved physical exercise and meaningful motivation.

Self-Reflect- Take a good look at this whole situation. When you step back for a moment, it’s pretty darn surreal, right? We are in the middle of a very fascinating yet scary experiment in social awareness, communication, emotions, health, and everything about modern life! We as therapists teach kids about self reflection. We instruct clients of all ages about tools and strategies to self-reflect for awareness into specific occupations so they can thrive. Take just a few minutes to create a self care assessment of how you are responding to current situations. How can you use that information to come up with a plan? Can you take a minute for personal self-reflection, and come up with a few coping strategies that will work for your situation? Think about what you would say to a client in the same situation.

Sleep in- Saturdays used to be full of kids’ sports, running to the market, appointments, events, visiting, errands, and all sorts of tasks, right? Use the slower days to give yourself a dose of rest. Sleep as late as you want. Or as late as the kids allow. If sleeping in is a no-go, try an afternoon nap when the kids nap or hit the hay an hour or two earlier.

Focus on Efficient Sleep- At the very least, aim for effective sleep. Turn off the screens right before bed. Use a fan or white noise. Add light reducing curtains. Open a window for a cooler sleeping environment. Layer on a heavy blanket or weighted blanket for added proprioceptive input. Reduce caffeine in your diet. Sleep is good and good sleep is better.

Drink Water- Be sure you are drinking enough water. Schedule an alarm on your phone if needed.

Go Outside- Just sitting outside or being outdoors can make a difference. Breathe the fresh air, notice the birds, chat with the neighbors. Be mindful of your surroundings and notice your senses and how the air smells, the breeze feels, focus on the warmth of the sun, and the sounds around you.

Read a book- Spending a few minutes in another world can take your mind off things. Don’t have the energy to read? Try a podcast or audio book.

Turn off Notifications- Constantly being available wears on a person. With working from home, it’s possible that work hours run into the evening. Turn off the message and email notifications to give yourself a break.

Advocate for Yourself- When things build up, emotions can run deep. This article on AOTA offers some advice for self-advocating to address emotional, physical, or cognitive needs. We teach our clients about self-advocacy. Use those tools on yourself, too!

Set realistic expectations- Just because you don’t have the regular commute to work and now supposedly now have all of this time on your hands, you don’t need to try a new hobby, learn to cook, keep the house clean, teach the kids, maintain a schedule of 15 teletherapy sessions a day, and start running. Give yourself flexibility and maintain realistic expectations for the time that you have during a day. Consider you personal tasks, abilities, and limitations. Give yourself some leeway. You don’t need to get it all done plus take on more.

Gratitude- Identifying things that you are thankful for has been shown to impact anxiety, depression, and worries. Write down one thing that you are thankful for each day. Use the time right before bed to identify one thing that happened during the day that you are grateful for. That simple thought of positivity can be very impact.

Deep Breathing- Deep breathing exercises aren’t just for the kids! Deep breathing is a tool for all ages. Deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth activates the regulatory system and offers a means for better for rest and digestion, by impacting the parasympathetic nervous system.

Phone a Friend- Talking to a friend or family member is one way to work through problems. Practice well-being by talking with someone who cares

Listen to a Podcast- Try a self-help podcast, a mindfulness podcast,

Focus on Executive Functioning Skills- As therapists, we know the power of tweaking a few executive functioning skill areas. Procrastination, time management, and breaking down tasks can be a game changer in achieving goals and getting things done. When you just don’t feel like moving, a few executive functioning tricks can be the ticket to effective use of time.

Still need more ideas to cope with difficulties as a therapist? Try to add just one or two of these self-care strategies into your daily tasks. Put some tasks aside (like chores that can wait until the weekend) and focusing on the most important items that need accomplished in the day. These tips for attention and focus can help.

They are the same strategies that we recommend to our clients, so using them for our own lives should be easy, right? We as occupational therapists are masters of adaption!

Check out the Horizon fitness deals, including free shipping that you can access now on the Horizon site.

Affiliate links are included in this post, but I only recommend products that I own, and love!

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.