Summertime Mindfulness

Summer is here, kids are out of school and the weather is beautiful! Summertime offers so many ways we can practice mindfulness and expand out practice, take it outside more and on the road. These mindful summer activities help our kids learn to pay attention (to their bodies and their minds) and to understand their feelings and that's a big part of what mindfulness is all about, learning to paying attention to what around us right now. Adding some Mindfulness activities into your summer schedule can add some much needed quiet time and can really ground the day.You don’t even have to use the word mindfulness — make it a fun activity and experience.

1. Cloud watching

Remember doing this as a child? I know I do and still do. An easy and simple activity you can do anywhere and can last as little or as long as you like. Put a blanket down on the lawn, in the park, or at the beach and spend some time staring at the clouds. What shapes do they see? Animals? People? Objects? Spend as long or as little as you like studying the sky — and notice how the clouds gently move along. Notice how the cloud that first looked like a pig now looks like a cat! This is a great way to introduce the idea that our minds are kind of like the sky — thoughts float through on all on their own, and they change on their own. We can watch our thoughts in our minds like we watch the clouds!

2.Sounds of Nature

Sitting outside with your kids and just listen to the sounds of nature, the outdoors and then share with one another what you heard, saw and experienced. This can be a 5 minute mindful meditation activity. What did you hear that is close by? What can you hear in the distance? So simple and can be done anywhere and everywhere. Have fun exploring sound at the park, camping, hiking, in the car or backyard. During the day and at night. Talk about what you heard, have everyone share their experience.

3.Nature Safari Walk

The Safari exercise is another fun way to help kids learn mindfulness. This activity turns an average, everyday walk outside into a mindful adventure.

Tell your kids that you will be going on a nature safari, and their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them, especially the little ones.

Or have a noticing walk (great if you have older kids who won't find the safari idea entertaining) Go for a walk in your neighborhood or somewhere you frequently visit and ask your kids to try to notice 10 things they’ve never really paid attention to before — perhaps the color of the neighbor’s shutters or the flowers along the boulevard. Everyone can do your own things or you can work as a group and help each other. Talk about why they think they’ve never noticed them!

4. Mindful Popsicle Challenge

The next time you eat a popsicle on a hot day, challenge your kids to be silent until their popsicle is entirely gone, a fun mindful eating exercise! Encourage them to really notice all the different tastes. What flavors do they notice? Does the popsicle start to feel different in their mouth as it starts melting? What temperature changes do they notice? Was it hard to stay quiet the whole time? There are lots of things you could talk about when you finish the challenge!

5. Family Yoga

Find a local family yoga class, book your own private one at home or look up a session on You Tube. Yoga is a great way to connect the mind and body, focus on our breathing while incorporating movement and have fun as a family.

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