16Growing up! – Hands up!

What is mindfulness?

To be mindful is to be fully present in the moment without judgement. In essence it’s the practice of putting our mind where our body is. One of the most common practices is mindfulness of the breath, but for children (and adults!) this can be very challenging or simply boring. In the second part of our mini-series “16Growing up!” we share an activity for all ages!

Hands up

We very much encourage you to try out this activity for yourself first. Take a look at your left hand. Turn it so that you are looking at the palm of your hand and stretch your fingers as wide as you can creating a star-like shape. Begin by simply tracing the outline of your left hand with the index finger of your right hand. Notice the sensation in your index finger as it is moving across the skin of your left hand. Notice the sensation in your left hand as your index finger follows the outline.

After a few moves back and forth around the whole of your left hand, begin to synchronise the movement of your index finger with the natural rhythm of your breath.

Breathing in, moving up, breathing out, moving down – taking care not to manipulate the breath but to follow the breath with the movement. Synchronising the movement with your breath may be harder than it seems at the beginning. Meet any thoughts or emotions that arise with patience and kindness and gently bring your attention back to the sensations in your fingers and your breath.

All together now

Invite the child to get their fingers ready by stretching them wide and start by using the index finger of one hand to slowly trace the fingers of the other hand, going back and forth a few times. Invite their curiosity. What sensations do they notice in their finger and in their hand? What’s their first reaction?

After a few rounds invite them to move their finger up when they breathe in, pause briefly when they reach the fingertip and slide down as they breathe out. Encourage them to continue following the natural rhythm of their breath with their finger until they finish tracing their hand – then return.

Children’s lungs are much smaller than those of adults and their respitory rate is much higher and faster. Be mindful of this when you do this activity together as an adult breath is too slow for children to follow. Encourage the child to notice and follow the speed of their own breath rather than following you.

Are you interested in more activities like this one? The Happy Toolbox for Kids is available for free.

Click here download the Happy Toolbox and find out more about our other free resources here.

Related Articles