We’ve spoken about the powerful benefits of mindfulness activities for kids before! One easy way to incorporate mindfulness into the classroom is through the use of deep breathing exercises for kids. Deep breathing is a powerful way for them to focus on something else and be in the moment. A great way to help control big emotions, or to settle down after a very physically active lunch break! In this blog we feature 10 deep breathing exercises for kids:
- Lotus flower breathing technique
- Flower and candle breathing technique
- Rainbow breathing technique
- Bubble breathing technique
- Pinwheel breathing
- Square breathing technique
- Belly buddies breathing
- Star breathing technique
- Back-to-back breathing
- Hoberman sphere breathing
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Breathing Exercises for Kids
Young children need to be guided through deep breathing. It’s something that they may not find natural. Talk with your students about how focusing on their breathing can affect how they feel. It can make them feel more calm and relaxed. But, it’s important that they really try and master deep breathing rather than shallow breaths. So, when they breathe in make sure their belly expands, when they breathe out, their belly should contract. Do some practicing of this with your students before these techniques.
These breathing exercise videos have been created for teachers to use in the classroom. They are perfect to pop on just after lunch or when you feel your students may need to hit the reset button. Each video guides your students through some deep breathing techniques in a kid-friendly way.
(1) Lotus flower breathing technique
The first breathing technique uses the lotus flower breathing exercise.
The video guides students through inhaling and exhaling as they watch a lotus flower opening and closing. The video is 5 minutes long – so is just long enough to help them relax but also not too long, as we know little ones struggle to sit still for long periods of time.
(2) Flower and candle breathing technique
This deep breathing exercise is perfect for little ones.
They are guided through some mindful breathing using a flower and a candle to help them focus on their breathing. When they see the flower they will breathe in deeply, when they see the candle they will gently breathe out.
(3) Rainbow breathing technique
Using a rainbow to help with breathing and stretching is a popular deep breathing exercise for kids.
In this guided breathing exercise, students are guided through painting the rainbow in the sky with their breathing and arms.
(4) Bubble breathing technique
Want something that’s a little bit fun but still encourages kids to focus on their breathing? Why not use the bubble breathing technique. Kids have to blow carefully and slowly to make bubbles.
You could also grab a jar of water and pop in a drop of dish soap. Make sure your children are of an age that they know not to drink the water. It’s for blowing and creating bubbles. But it’s important that they take a deep breath and then blow it into a paper straw to create lots of bubbles.
(5) Pinwheel breathing activity
Download and print the pinwheel template and have students decorate their very own pinwheel for this breathing exercise.
- Sitting or standing, have students hold the pinwheel in front of them and focus their attention on it.
- They need to take a deep breath in through their nose.
- Then, they need to breathe out gently through their mouth and see if they can make the pinwheel spin.
(6) Square breathing technique for kids
Square breathing is a simple way to encourage kids to breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly using a square image to guide how long they need to breathe in and out.
This is a popular video that can be saved to use time and time again in the classroom when needed.
(7) Belly buddies breathing
This is a nice activity using a soft toy or a bean bag. This is fantastic to use when you are encouraging your students to practice deep breathing.
How to do belly buddy breathing:
- Students need to lie flat on their back and place the object on top of their belly button.
- They need to look down towards their object.
- Have the students take three slow, deep breaths in and out.
- Encourage them to pause slightly at the end of each exhale.
- Ask students: Can you see your object moving?
(8) Star breathing technique
This is a great breathing activity that requires no other items but your students’ hands.
How to do star breathing:
- Spread one hand out like a star.
- Use the index finger on your other hand to trace the outline of your star hand.
- Take a deep breath as you move to the top of your thumb.
- Breathe out as you move down between your thumb and first finger.
- Take another breath in as you move to the top of your first finger.
- Breathe out as you move down between your first and second fingers.
- Repeat until you have taken five slow, deep breaths.
(9) Back-to-back breathing
In this breathing exercise for kids, they need to find a partner and sit with their backs resting against each other.
- Students are guided to sit up straight and be still and silent (this can be tricky in itself, you may get a few giggles).
- Encourage them to take three slow deep breaths in and three deep breaths out.
- Have them listen to your voice and try to breathe in and out in time with the counting.
- Count 1,2,3 for breathing in and pause before you count again to have them breathe out.
- Ask the students:
- Can you feel your partner’s back moving as they breathe?
- Is their breath shallow or deep? Fast or slow?
(10) Hoberman sphere breathing
This is a great prop for teachers to use when guiding kids through deep breathing. They can be purchased quite cheaply from a number of websites. It’s a great way to demonstrate how the lungs expand and contract when they inhale and exhale. The children can follow the ball when you open and close the ball.
It’s important to note that their lung capacity is going to be smaller than yours. So keep that in mind and be guided by how the students are coping as they breathe in and out.
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