Book Corner, Growth Mindset, Mindfulness

Mindfulness Books and Resources

CLICK HERE for our FREE Printable Booklist.

CLICK HERE for Yoga books and games.

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Breathe Like a Bear is a sweet way to teach children breathing techniques.  The are 30 breathing techniques in 5 different categories (calm, focus, imagine, make some energy and relax).  Each breath has a child friendly name and illustration to help them remember them.  After reading this book, I made up cards for each breath and put them into a jar.  We pick a new one each morning to try out. We LOVE this book and think it would be great for ages 3 and up.

 

 

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We are HUGE Peter Reynolds fans in this house.  We have EVERY book he has ever illustrated/written.  This book I am Peace by Susan Verde is the PERFECT introduction to Mindfulness.  The fun illustrations will take you on a mindful journey and teach people of all ages, what it means to be mindful.  I would recommend this book to EVERYONE ages 3 and up.  This powerful writer/illustrator team also has a book called I am Yoga!

 

 

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This book is another great way to introduce the concept of mindfulness to children.  This book starts with AWARENESS and ends with ZEN. I love the bright and colorful  illustrations and the kid friendly language in this book.  It is a quick read and a great way to inspire your family to be more mindful.  I’d recommend this book for ages 3 and up.  This series also has an ABC of Yoga book.

 

 

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This book walks children through what it means to live in the present moment.  It talks about listening, noticing, focus, gratitude, patience, growth mindset and realizing that today is a gift.  This book has fun illustrations and kid friendly language and would be perfect for ages 4 and up.

 

 

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This mindful tale is about a crab who leads a mindful life and a whale who washes up on the shore.  The crab offers to stay with the whale while they wait for the tide to come back in.  While they wait, crab teaches whale ways to stay calm and mindful.  At the end of this sweet book they have breathing exercises to try.  This book is free on Kindle Unlimited would be perfect for ages 3 and up.

 

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Sitting meditations are not for everybody, especially when you are just starting out.  Mindful Movements is a great book to help guide you and your family, through moving mediations.  This wonderful book was written by Thich Nhat Hanh and includes a DVD to help you.  The book presents 10 routines for people of all ages and abilities.  We have this book and we really enjoy the routines.

 

 

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We have this beautiful deck from Barefoot Books and use it almost EVERY day. The card deck is made up of 50 sturdy, high quality cards that are color coded and divided into 5 categories (Start Your Day, Find Calm, Focus, Open Your Heart and Rest and Relax).  The activities are easy to do and involve little to no prep.  This product is for ages 3 and up.

 

 

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I do not have these cards but they had good reviews on Amazon.  Here is what the publisher says: “Be Mindful cards offer you 50 ways to be present to your life as it is actually taking place. These cards help you be in the here and now with less thinking about the past or worrying about the future. You can use these daily mindfulness strategies when you re feeling anxious, moody, angry, or just need to relax. Perfect to manage your everyday stressors: School demands, worry, sadness, problems with relationships and difficulties paying attention and focusing.”

 

 

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This book, written for teens, is in my wishlist for Amazon.  It has great reviews and here is what the publisher had to say: “Being a teen is stressful! Whether it’s school, friends, or dating, the teen years are full of difficult changes―both mentally and physically. If you’re like many teens, you may have difficulty dealing with stress in effective ways. You aren’t alone, and there are things you can do to stay calm, no matter how stressful life becomes. All you need to do is stop, breathe, and be mindful and aware in the present moment. The Mindful Teen offers a unique program based in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to help you deal with stress. The simple, practical, and easy-to-remember tips in this book can be used every day to help you handle any difficult situation more effectively―whether it’s taking a test at school, having a disagreement with your parents, or a problem you are having with friends.”

 

Big Life Journals

UnknownOne of my favorite resources for helping my kids to DREAM BIG and to set goals is our Big Life Journals.  We have had our Big Life Journals since the very beginning when they launched as a Kick Starter Campaign.

The Big Life Journal is a journal your child fills out with an older buddy.  My son picked myself as his buddy and my daughter picked my husband.  Kids can pick ANYONE and have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly Skype or phone calls with their buddy.  The idea is that the buddy and the child read the journal together and the buddy helps the child to respond to the prompts. Just this year they came out with a version for teens and I am so excited to get our copy for my son.

The Big Life Journal website also have lots of resources (many FREE) about helping your kids to develop their growth mindset, set goals, build self-esteem and practice mindfulness.  Click HERE for their post on 5 Mindful Activities and a FREE printable.

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

Growth Mindset, Mindfulness

Meditation with Kids

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Let me start by saying that I am NOT an expert when it comes to meditation.  I am a TERRIBLE meditator (my mind constantly wanders and I struggle to ignore itches) but with practice I am getting better at quieting my mind.  After months of meditation, I find myself calmer, less anxious and better able to tackle daily stress.

Meditation is often a scary concept for people, I know it was for me.  I put off starting because I thought you needed absolute quiet, a special meditation space and lots of time to meditate.  Every time I’d try to meditate I would struggle to quiet my mind and thus give up.  I still struggle to quiet my mind most days but this is normal. Our minds will wander and when they do, we bring them back to the breath.  Meditation does takes practice but you do not need a lot of time to fit it into your busy week.

Meditating with children can be a wonderful way for the whole family to spend some time unplugged.  Meditation helps everyone to take a break, clear their minds and focus on the present.  This helps everyone to improve attention, and deal with stress and anxiety.   Children are so open to learning new things and if you make meditation engaging, they will learn this valuable skill when they are young and thus carry it with them into adulthood.

My children love to know the WHY for everything.  A counselor once explained to me that the reason everyone needs to practice deep breathing and meditation is to get rid of air-poop.  What is air-poop you ask?  It is the carbon dioxide that can get trapped low in your body, if you are breathing very shallow.  This air-poop can cause feelings of anxiety, anger, nervousness and frustration.  The best way to get rid of air-poop is through deep breathing.

Remember to practice meditation with your children when they are in a calm state.  NOBODY can learn to meditate when they are frustrated or upset.  I once put on a guided meditation in the car when one of my children was flipping out and this only caused the child to become more frustrated.  Once they have been practicing for awhile, the hope is that they will turn to their deep breathing when they are angry or upset.

Today I will be sharing some of the ways that you can practice meditation as a family.  You can use these suggestions or get out coloring books and color to instrumental music, research breathing buddies or do a moving yoga meditation with COSMIC Kids.  If you come at mediation with an open mind and try meditating along side of them, your kids will be more likely to try it out.

Guided Meditations

There are so many guided meditations out there for children.  There are free meditations on YouTube, FREE Scripts that you can read to your children, guided meditations on iTunes, cds at your library or there are apps for your phone or iPad.

COSMIC Kids has FREE PEACE OUT guided meditations. Her voice is very soothing and engaging for children.  COSMIC Kids has a wide assortment of meditations.  There are meditations for both calm and focus.

Many of the FREE apps for meditation do not include the meditation for children, these are included with a subscription or extra fee.  My family pays for the Meditation Studio App.  We justify the cost because I use it daily and my kids use it a few times a week.  I like the variety of meditations, topics and teachers on the app and that you can customize music or sounds behind the guided meditations.  I do not like that you can’t use it on multiple devices.

Headspace is another app that has some free content but you must subscribe to hear the kids meditations.  I loved using the free version of Headspace when I was just starting out with meditation.  I love their free beginner course.

Glitter Jar

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Making a glitter jar can be a fun and mindful craft for the whole family.  Glitter Jars are like homemade snow globes to help children calm down, focus and deal with strong emotions.  Children can grab their glitter jars during meditation time and watch the glitter fall as they breathe in and out.  If you practice with glitter jars when children are calm, they can then use these tools when they are upset.  Click HERE to learn more about Glitter Jars and how to make your own and make sure you super glue or hot glue them shut!!

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Labyritnths have been used for thousands of years for mediation.  Many labyrinths are used for spiritual purposes but you not need belong to a certain religion in order to benefit from a labyrinth.  When visiting the coast of Oregon, we stumbled upon a group of people who regularly create labyrinths in the sand.  We were each given a smooth stone to rub while we walked the beautiful labyrinth and watched the sun set. The entire experience was incredibly meditative and peaceful.  Our kids were surprised at how much they enjoyed it.  You can learn more about how to use labyrinths HERE.

We are blessed to live near by a physical labyrinth thanks to my dear friend Claire from Shifting My Perspective. If you don’t have access to a physical labyrinth, you can always use a table model.  I have one that has sand and I trace my finger over the labyrinth while breathing deep and focusing on an intention or mantra.  They also have balance board labyrinths for children who may have attention issues and need a physical activity to help them focus and meditate.  We have one and it is not only a lot of fun but a great way for EVERYONE to focus and be more mindful.

I hope that this post has been helpful and that you are going to try meditation yourself or with your children.  If you still are not sold on the health benefits of mediation, click HERE.  And HERE is an article from Forbes about the benefits for children.

What are your favorite ways to meditate?  

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to LOVE Does.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Growth Mindset, Mindfulness

Yoga with Kids

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Yoga can be a fun and healthy activity for the entire family to practice mindfulness.  The key to yoga with children is presenting the practice in a light and visual way.  Yoga is a great way to help children calm their bodies, quiet their minds and also gain strength and flexibility.

When we started yoga with our own children, we made it more exciting by allowing them to pick out their own mats (mats are not necessary, you can always use a towel).  We keep our individual mats in a basket in the family room and it always makes me smile when they go and get their mat to stretch out on their own.  We have found that if yoga practice is fun and more like play, my kids don’t mind doing it at all.

You do not need to be a yogi yourself or spend any money at all to start an at home yoga practice. I will be sharing some of our favorite FREE yoga videos, books and games in this post.  I urge you to try out the free videos. If you come at yoga with an open mind and playful spirit, your kids will be eager to join in on the fun.  Yoga is a magical way to calm the body and mind.

FREE Videos

 

Cosmic Kids is a website and YouTube channel filled with FREE yoga for kids!!  Jaime, your yoga guide, combines yoga with fun animation to engage kids of all ages.  The website is so easy to navigate and you can find practices by length, energy level or category.  One of her latest videos is Pokemon yoga, where she is trying to capture the different Pokemon!  She also has Star Wars, Frozen, Minecraft, dump trucks, animals, Harry Potter, pirates and so many more!! Cosmic Kids also has meditation videos.  This website  is a wonderful resource for all ages (and I love her accent).

 

 

Yoga with Adriene is a website and YouTube channel with FREE yoga for adults.  Adriene has been my online yoga teacher for the past 3 years and I absolutely LOVE her.  Adriene has a 30 minute video just for kids (CLICK VIDEO above).  This video is filmed in the park and shows that yoga can be done ANYWHERE!  I would recommend this video to ages 9+ Adriene also has a 10 minute video for the CLASSROOM that you could do at home.

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Storyland Yoga is on Amazon PRIME and this was our go to yoga video when my kids were little.  They love the story approach and all of the kids featured in the yoga video.  There are two stories in this 52 minute practice (we use to do one at a time) and it combines video footage of the kids with animation.  It is a lot of fun and I would recommend it for children ages 3-8.

Books 

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This is a favorite book in our house.  The story is about a class of children sharing what their parents do for a living.  Each child shares a different profession and the book takes you through 9 different yoga poses that relate to those professions.  It is a fun and active book to share with children ages 3-8.

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This is another fun and active book to share with children.  It works through the entire alphabet and there is a yoga pose for each letter.  This is a great way for children to learn 26 different poses through rhymes and colorful illustrations.  This is a great book for ages 3 and up.

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Yoga is a very relaxing way to help children get ready for bed.  This story helps your children to slow down and prepare for sleep.  The story takes you through 11 gentle poses that focus on stretching, breathing and relaxing.  The illustrations are beautiful and this book would make the perfect bedtime story for children ages 3 and up.  The author also has a Good Morning Yoga story!

Games

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This game is a great way to introduce children to yoga.  This game contains 54 yoga poses and each pose has both a picture and written instructions for how to form the pose.  The game comes in a portable container, so you can keep it in your bag and play it on the go.  It is recommended for ages five and up but I have modified the game to play with 3 year olds.

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This is not a game but can easily be turned into one.  This beautiful and sturdy deck of cards will illustrate and teach 50 different yoga poses.  We place all the cards in the middle and when it’s your turn you draw a card.  If you can complete that pose, you get to keep the card.  If you are unable to complete the pose, you have to put the card back in the deck.  The person with the most cards after 15 minutes, wins!  We have also used this deck for yoga scavenger hunts, a yoga pose of the day and I’ve kept them in my bag for downtime when we are on the go. This deck is great for ages 3 and up.

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In this game, each player starts with a mission card with 7 poses that they must complete.  The first person to complete their mission, WINS!  There are 48 poses taught in this game and this is another super portable game to take with you.  This game is a lot of fun to play in the grass at the park or on the beach!  This game is for ages 6 and up.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to LOVE Does.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Growth Mindset, Mindfulness

Mindfulness Through the 5 Senses

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A great way to encourage mindfulness in children is to help them to explore their 5 senses.  Being mindful is all about being in the present moment.  Exploration of the senses is a great way to practice this skill. Below we have some suggestions for how to practice mindfulness through the 5 senses while having lots of fun!

Sound

  1.  What’s That Sound?–Gather a bunch of household objects and hide them in a bag or basket with a towel over them.  Have the children close their eyes and focus on the sounds you are about to make with the object.  Have them consider these questions as they listen.  What sounds do they hear?  Can they hear the sound better with their eyes closed or open?  Were they able to focus on just the sound?  If not, what thoughts or sounds were preventing them from being able to focus?
  2. Solo Sit–Have your children spread out around the house or yard and sit quietly for 30-60 seconds.  You can add time on to the solo-sit each time they practice this activity.  I love to do this on a hike in the woods and have the kids sit for 3-5 minutes.  While they are sitting quietly, have them pay attention to the noises around them.  Ask them these questions when they return.  What sounds did you hear?  Did you struggle to focus on listening for sounds?  What were some loud sounds?  What were some quiet sounds?  How did you feel as you sat there silently?  
  3. Musical Sound Hunt-Play a piece of classical music and see if your kids can listen for the different instruments.  Can they hear the drums?  The string instruments?  Is the music fast or slow?  How does the music make them feel?  Maestro Classics or Squilt is a wonderful resource for this type of activity.

Sight

  1.  Mindful Eyes–Fill a jar with water and have the children gather around it.  Drop a few drops of food coloring in the jar (be careful not shake the jar) and have them silently watch what happens to the food coloring as it disperses in the water. After a minute or two, have them share their observations.
  2. Glitter Jars–Glitter Jars are not only fun to make but they are a wonderful tool for children (and adults) to use when they are agitated and upset.  Click Here to learn how to make your own Glitter Jar for your kids.5
  3. Cloud Watching–Put a blanket on the grass and watch the clouds in the sky.  What shapes do you see?  How do they change?  How does this activity make you feel?  
  4. Object Study–Gather a bunch of stones, shells, buttons or objects that are similar.  Place them in a bag and have everybody pull one out.  Encourage everyone to study their object in silence and if you see their eyes wondering, encourage them to focus back on their object.  Have them think about these questions while they are studying their object.  What does the object look like?  Are there any special markings?  What does it feel like?  After a minute or two, have everyone put their objects back in the bag and shake them around.  Place them all on the table and see if everyone can find the object that they studied.

Smell

  1. What’s that Smell?--Choose 4-6 objects with very unique smells.  Blindfold your children and have them smell each item and have them identify them.  Have them keep their guesses quiet and to themselves so that others won’t be influenced by their guesses. 6
  2. The Jellybean Game–We have done this with Beanboozeled but you may not want to be so cruel to your children (there are barf, dead fish and dog food beans in that game).  Have the kids close their eyes and plug their noses and give them a jelly bean to taste.  Can they taste what flavor it is with their nose plugged?  Next give them the same flavor jelly bean with their nose unplugged.  Can they taste the flavor now?  Discuss with them how smell and taste go hand and hand.
  3. Can I Eat This?–Find 3 edible objects and 3 non edible objects from around the house.  Blindfold the children and don’t let them touch the objects.  Have them try to figure out which of the 6 objects are edible with just their sense of smell.

Taste

  1.  Taste Exploration–Pick a small food for the children to taste (raisin, skittle, chocolate chip, marshmallow).  Have them study the item as if they have NEVER seen it before.  What do they see?  What do they feel?  Next have them close their eyes and smell the object.  What does it smell like?
  2. Taste Imagination–Ask the children to pretend to hold an imaginary food like a lemon.  Ask them to describe what it looks like and what it will smell like as you slice it into pieces.  Pretend to give each child a piece of the lemon and have them imagine putting it to their lips.  What happens as they imagine eating the lemon?  Can they taste the sourness?  Does their mouth pucker, water or their nose wrinkle?  This exercise shows how powerful the mind and imagination can be.

Touch and Mindful Movement

  1. The Water Molecule Game–Turn each child in the room into a Water Molecule.  Explain that as a water molecule they will go through three states of matter.  The first is as a gas.  When a water molecule is in it’s gas form, it bounces around quickly and solo.  As the water molecule starts to get colder, it will slow down and move into a liquid form.  This form gets closer to other water molecules and is fluid and slow.  Now tell them that the temperature is getting even colder and they should get close together and FREEZE into a block of ice.  Tell them the room is getting water and they are staring to MELT and have them ooze onto the floor in a fluid motion. Then heat up the room and have them bounce off the walls as s GAS again.   Ask them how their bodies felt in each of the three states of matter? Which state did they prefer?www.kidsinservice.net-3
  2. The Flamingo Game–Have each child take a few deep breaths to calm down.  Ask them to stand on one leg like a flamingo.  If they lose their balance, have them try again.  Suggest they pick a focal point out in front of them to focus on, this will help them keep their balance.  Now ask them to stand with their feet, hip wide apart.  How do they feel?  How does this stance feel different than one leg?  Now have them switch legs,  is this side easier?  Does it help to have a focal point?  
  3. Finding Your Heartbeat–Teach your children how to find their pulse (either in their neck or on their wrist).  Have them count the beats in 10 seconds.  Put on music and have them dance around for a minute or two.  Have them check their pulse again.  How much faster is their heart beating?  Now take 5 deep breaths in and out and have them check their pulse again.  How long does it take to return to a calm heartbeat?  Explain how powerful breathing can be for our bodies.

 

 

 

Growth Mindset, Holiday

The New Year–Dreaming with Kids

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I LOVE the cleansing feeling of a new year.  I love new calendars to fill in, new goals to set, creating a vision board and picking my Word of the Year.  This past year my word was Mindful and in the past I have used Balance, Gratitude and this year my word is Discipline. Here is a great site to help you pick a word for the year.  I have encouraged my children and husband to pick words too.  It was a fun process and I found a quote to go along with each of their words.

I always spend the week between Christmas and New Years dreaming, planning, goal setting and creating my personal vision board (which I then make the wallpaper of my computer).  This year I want to bring my kids into this process and help guide them to create vision boards and set some personal goals for themselves.  As homeschoolers we do some academic goals at the beginning of the school year but I want to go bigger with them this year.

2On New Years Day our favorite tradition is our New Year’s Day Interviews that we do over a big family breakfast.  We started these in 2010 and we love to see how we have each grown and changed over the years.  If you’d like to see our simple interview, you can CLICK HERE.  This year after the interviews, we are going to break out old magazines, big chart paper and markers and work on creating our own vision boards for 2019.  We will then set some family goals for 2019, I can’t wait!!

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One of my favorite resources for helping my kids to DREAM BIG and to set goals is our Big Life Journals.  We have had our Big Life Journals since the very beginning when they launched as a Kick Starter Campaign.

The Big Life Journal is a journal your child fills out with an older buddy.  My son picked myself as his buddy and my daughter picked my husband.  Kids can pick ANYONE and have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly Skype or phone calls with their buddy.  The idea is that the buddy and the child read the journal together and the buddy helps the child to respond to the prompts. Just this year they came out with a version for teens and I am so excited to get our copy for my son.

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The Big Life Journal website also have lots of resources (many FREE) about helping your kids to develop their growth mindset, set goals and build self-esteem.  We plan to use their goal setting packets this year with the kids.

How do you mark the New Year with your children?  

 

This is not an advertisement for Big Life Journals. I just wanted to share this amazing resource.