Nature is one of the most powerful healers. Research shows that spending time in nature has so many benefits for children and adults alike. For example, having access to natural environments has been found to improve children’s self-esteem, reduce stress, strengthen resilience, and benefit overall mental health. 


Nature also pairs perfectly with mindfulness practice. Just like our breath, nature is always around us – whether it’s a pigeon perched on a city roof or the fresh air and trees in a forest. By using nature for mindfulness practice, children can reap the benefits of both.


Today, we’ll introduce you to 4 different nature-based mindfulness activities you can use with your pre-K and kindergarten students – all relating to the spring season. Some of these mindfulness activities will ask little ones to be mindful of nature itself, while others borrow concepts from nature to help children be more mindful of themselves.


For these and more child-friendly mindfulness activities, sign your school up for Calm Classroom!


Mindfulness of nature sounds

One of the best ways to help young children practice mindfulness is by paying close attention to the sounds they hear around them. This may be a new experience for them, and it’s an engaging way to help them slow down and ground themselves in the present moment. It also tends to be much easier for young children to be mindful of the world outside than of themselves.


If it’s possible, take your students outside (if not, try seating them near a window). This activity is easier for some children with their eyes closed, but never force any child to close their eyes. Ask them to identify the different nature sounds they hear. You can have them write down a list of the sounds they hear, or they can take turns sharing with one another.


Even in the middle of a dense city, there are usually some sounds – the sound of the wind blowing, a dog barking, or flies buzzing. Help students dig deeper and pay very close attention to be able to listen to all the sounds.


“Bee’s Buzz” meditation

The Bee’s Buzz activity comes from Calm Classroom’s manual for Pre-K and Kindergarten students. This activity is great for helping young children connect to their bodies by using sounds and breathing. The humming sound they make creates a vibrating sensation in their lips, which can help anchor them to their breathing.


Begin the bee's buzz exercise by instructing your students to sit on the floor with their legs crossed and their hands resting on their knees. Encourage them to find a comfortable position and sit up tall with straight backs. Explain that they should keep all parts of their bodies quiet and still throughout the exercise. 


Describe the quiet humming sound of a bee by saying "mmmmmmmm"; invite them to mimic this sound by taking a big breath in, breathing out, and humming quietly – just like a bee! Encourage them to close their eyes or cover their ears if they prefer. The important thing is for them to connect to the sensation of buzzing like a bee.


After several repetitions, prompt them to rest their hands on their knees and reflect on how they feel. 


Nature scavenger hunt

Another engaging nature-based mindfulness activity for younger students is doing a nature scavenger hunt. This can encourage both mindful walking as well as mindfulness of surroundings. 


Take your students on a walk through an outside area. Before you leave your classroom, instruct them of their mission: to find items in nature of different colors or textures. For example, they may need to find a red item, a green item, and so on; or, they might look for 5 items with different textures (a smooth leaf, a bumpy rock, and so on). You can customize the instructions depending on what natural objects are available outside in your area.


Let students know that they are to be like foxes – stealthy and quiet. They are “hunting” for these objects, and they need to pay very close attention to what’s around them. This activity can be gamified, but make it clear it’s not a competition. The important thing is that they train their eyes to notice things that they may have never noticed before.


Being a Tree-01-small


Tree pose

Tree pose is a physical posture that comes from the ancient practice of yoga. Physical mindfulness exercises like tree pose can be great options for children at this age, who may not be developmentally ready to practice mindfulness activities that require them to sit still.


Begin the tree pose exercise by instructing your students to stand with their feet a little bit apart and to stand up as tall as they can. Encourage them to demonstrate standing up tall while you observe. Then, guide them to reach their arms straight up to the sky, likening their arms to tree branches and their fingers to leaves. 


Encourage them to wiggle their "leaves" playfully. You might consider a lesson on resilience here – although the branches of the tree may get tossed around in a storm, the trunk remains steady.


Next, instruct them to lift one foot and balance on one leg, mimicking a tree trunk, and count down from 3 before returning their foot to the ground. Maintaining balance can be challenging – help students notice how it becomes easier when they are focused. Switch legs as much as you’d like, and prompt them to bring their arms down slowly as they take a big breath in and exhale slowly.


This activity, with a corresponding video and script, is also included in our Pre-K/Kindergarten manual!


School-based mindfulness with Calm Classroom

Our Calm Classroom handbooks are filled with simple mindfulness activities like these for every grade level: Pre-K/Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High School. All of them are available in both Spanish and English, and have been created to make it as easy as possible for anyone, including mindfulness beginners, to teach and learn.


It’s never too late in the year to sign your school up for Calm Classroom. Fill out this form to learn more about implementing Calm Classroom’s program in your school or district!


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