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Mindfulness Classroom Games

 

It’s getting to be that time of year.  The days are getting longer, the temperature is a little warmer, the students are squirming in their seats a little more quickly.  Sometimes this is exactly when having some extra tools in your toolbox may save you a little stress.  

 

To help fill that toolbox, here are some mindfulness classroom games that you can play at school (or at home) that may help everyone involved practice mindfulness while providing the added benefit of stress reduction (and have some fun!).

 

Enjoy!

 

Pass the Bell

Students stand in a circle or a line and pass a bell from one person to the next focusing on NOT letting it chime.  Sometimes for an added challenge, I do this activity during our class meeting and have each person check in about how they are feeling or a highlight of their weekend.  This causes the person with the bell to use mindfulness techniques to pause amidst a challenging situation and find balance.

 

This game accesses mindful movement, listening and communication.

 

Water Races

This is a variation of the the “Pass the Bell” activity.  Instead of a bell, students pass a cup of water around a circle trying not to spill it.  The age group of the students will depend on how full to fill the cup. After we pass the cup successfully, we add more challenges: we close our eyes and pass the cup, the class is divided in half and we walk the cup across the room back and forth.  For a more difficult challenge, we do the walking, but with our eyes closed.  You could even turn this into a friendly competition with the class competing to see which team walks their cup back and forth the fastest.

 

This game accesses mindful movement, listening and communication.

 

Mindful Drawing

Students get a random object in the room that they can draw.  Set a timer for a few minutes. When the bell goes off, have the students pass their drawing and their object to the next person.  The next person continues the drawing.  Continue for a few passes until the drawing is complete.

 

This game teaches mindful movement but also teaches students how to let go of expectations and their attachment to outcomes.  Because they don’t get to keep their own art, they will practice letting go of perfection and only concerning themselves with the picture they are currently working on.  Perfection can be a cause of stress and anxiety in our students.  The more we can give them practice at letting that go in low-stakes ways, the more they may be able to let it go when they are encountering a high-stake situation.

 

Rainbow Walk

Take the students out for a little walk and try to have them find all the colors of the rainbow while you are walking.  Which colors are easily found?  Which colors that are more difficult?  Perhaps take them out throughout the school year and see if the colors are different depending on the time of year.

 

This game teaches mindful observation.

 

Natural Discovery

While you’re outside for your Rainbow Walk, you could have each student find an object to bring inside or bring journals to write outside.  The idea is to find a rock, a leaf, a feather, flower or some other object and either draw it, describe it or tell a story about how it got here.  If you are doing the activity outside, students can choose larger objects like a tree or live objects like an ant or a butterfly.  Even if you are in a more urban setting, try to have the students find something that exists in nature and is not man made.  It may be a great way to talk about the resilience of the dandelions or the ants amidst the urban setting.

 

This activity engages mindful observation and mindfulness of the senses.

 

Hot Potato Story

This is a good game to get creativity flowing. Students should get in a circle and you should have a designated “hot potato” object like a small stuffed animal or a bean bag.  The teacher or another student can start the story (usually I start the story at least the first time) with a scene like “Once upon a time there was a puppy…” or “We packed our car and headed for the beach…”.  After you start the story, you pass the “hot potato” to the next person and they say a phrase, then pass to the next person who tells a small part, then to the next person, until it comes full circle.  If the story is really silly, I usually end it with “and then I woke up from that crazy dream!”

 

Some variations of this game include the person with the hot potato saying only one word instead of a whole phrase or throwing the hot potato across the circle to say the story instead of just passing around the circle.

 

This game teaches mindful listening and communication.  It really helps students practice being aware of the present moment. Because there is a naturally heightened sense of surprise and they know that they will need to contribute, they are more likely to be engaged.  

 

 

So these are just some of the mindfulness classroom games and fun activities that you could try playing at school or at home. There are thousands of others and probably great ones that you do too.  Please feel free to share any of these experiences in the comment section or email with other suggestions!  I’d love to hear from you as you bring mindfulness to your classrooms in a fun way!

 

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Danielle Nuhfer
danielle@teachingwell.life

Here are a few titles I go by...teacher, student, gardener, runner, nature-lover, writer and meditator. I care deeply about my own journey to wellness and want to inspire others to walk this path. Inspiring others to discover the value of mindfulness, positive psychology and other holistic health practices is my life's work.

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