Tips for Leading Mindful Games

  • Find a relatively quiet place where you can sit or lie down comfortably, without being disturbed.
  • Before leading a game, get a feel for it first by going through the steps on your own.
  • Use your regular speaking voice, and your own words, when you lead a game.
  • Some children are so determined to concentrate that they tense their muscles when they meditate. Others are so relaxed that they curl up and fall asleep. From time to time, remind kids to keep their backs straight and their bodies relaxed.
  • Remind children that there is no right or wrong way to feel when they play mindful games. Although activity-based mindfulness often helps them feel calm (and we often want children to calm down), it’s important to remember that that goal is actually for them to be aware of whatever they are feeling in the present moment without judging it.
  • Sometimes children are uncomfortable closing their eyes, even when the game they're playing is easier with eyes closed. Don’t insist that children close their eyes, but it’s helpful to remind them that you'll keep your eyes open and watch the room.
  • Children will respond to the games differently, and activities that come naturally to some kids might be difficult for others. There’s no reason to force a child to play if he feels uncomfortable. Just switch to another game that explores similar life skills and themes.
  • All of the games include activity-based mindfulness strategies that are useful to everyone, regardless of age. Don’t be surprised when older children and teens are drawn to activities meant for young children, and young children have fun playing games that seem over their heads.
  • We want to help children develop a kind inner voice that sounds something like this: It’s really hard to sit still right now, and that’s okay. Everyone feels this way sometimes. I can sit here, feeling my body and all the energy I have – my breath moving fast, my heart beating quickly – I can take a breath, listen to sounds, become aware of how I feel, and be okay.

When we’re faced with a disappointment we acknowledge our feelings, and then we think of three good things in our lives too.