Do you go for walks with your child? If so, make your walks an exciting Safari Adventure with this popular present moment awareness mindfulness exercise for kids.
I’m a huge fan of practicing mindfulness with your children.
Mindfulness equips kids with powerful skills that will stay with them their entire lives.
Skills such as focus, emotional regulation, compassion, and awareness. (Just to name a few.)
Who wouldn’t want to help their kids nurture and grow these incredible skills?
But today, I want to focus on one of my favorite mindfulness exercises I practice with my son, I call this exercise a “Watchful Walk.”
I love going for walks with my four-year-old, we go as often as possible. It expels some of my busy son’s energy, gives us fresh air, and it’s good for me too.
What better time to practice a little mindfulness?
Incorporating the steps below into our walk makes it fun, engaging, exciting, and best of all it teaches my son invaluable lessons. (Which I’ll get to below.)
While we are practicing we don’t call it mindfulness persay, but that’s exactly what it is!
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Okay, now let’s get to today’s exercise!
Let’s go on a safari adventure, shall we?
Present Moment Awareness Mindfulness Exercise for Kids
How to turn a walk into an exciting safari adventure.
Getting started is easy.
Simply designate 5-minutes during your walk with your little one to discuss what you see, hear, smell and feel.
First, explain to your child that they are on a safari, looking for animals that crawl, fly or walk, listening for sounds, and feeling the weather.
Explain to them that they have to be quiet and alert.
We want to gently guide our child to turn on their senses, they can engage their “super-senses” to make it fun.
While your child (and you too) are in this super-senses state, pay attention to what’s around you: sights, smells, feelings, and sounds.
Quietly talk about what you both see, feel, hear and smell.
Your child will likely notice a whole new world, just by paying attention!
Noticing is one of the fundamentals of mindfulness.
“By acquiring the habit of noticing new things, we recognize that the world is actually changing constantly. We really don’t know how the espresso is going to taste or how the commute will be—or at least, we’re not sure. Once you recognize that you don’t know the things you’ve always taken for granted, you set out of the house quite differently. It becomes an adventure in noticing — and the more you notice, the more you see.” Ellen Langer
Make your routine walks an adventure and the adventure is in simply noticing!
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Watchful walk discussion points. Real-life examples of things we notice in our super-senses state.
- Birds and woodpeckers
- The weather
- Sensations in our body
- A pebble in our shoes
- The grass under our feet
- The heat of the pavement
- The crunch of snow
- The cold or warm wind against our faces
- Spring scents
- Distant BBQ’s
Present Moment Awareness Mindfulness Exercise For Kids Discussion Points
Attempt to stay in this super-senses state for five minutes. Afterward, you can discuss in more detail how it felt to simply tune in.
- What did you notice?
- What were you thinking?
- How did your body feel?
Another short exercise you can practice while on a walk is to go into complete silence for one minute.
We usually stop at the park, have a seat and enter our one minute of silence. We both notice and be present with what’s going on around us.
I love feeling the wind on my skin, my son Liam loves listening for birds.
You might not think these exercises have an impact on your child, I mean, what’s the point? But mindfulness exercises are teaching you both how to focus and pay attention. Mindfulness teaches emotional regulation and how to live in the present moment.
Like any exercise, when you practice, soon it becomes a habit and you start unconsciously incorporating this way of thinking and being into your everyday life.
Mindfulness is a practice that’s free and easy, and the effects are profound.
I can’t wait to hear about your own experiences with this practice!
If you want to learn more mindfulness exercises you can do with your child, read 15 Mindfulness Activities Your Kids will Love here. Or you can purchase our digital printable eBook right now.
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