updated September 29, 2020
posted by Catharine Hannay
Are you interested in teaching mindfulness and/or yoga to younger kids but not sure where to start? Or perhaps you've been teaching for a while and are looking for some new resources? The following books, apps, training programs and activities are recommended by experienced teachers.
Expert Advice at MindfulTeachers.org
I've had the privilege of interviewing a couple of educators with extensive experience teaching young children.
Kelli Love is a full-time yoga instructor at Girls Prep Bronx Elementary, a charter school in New York City where mindfulness is embraced as a school-wide content area. In an interview on "Best Practices in Teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to Young Children," she shares tips on:
- how to structure a yoga class for young children;
- how to meet the needs of different students;
- how parents and classroom teachers can integrate mindfulness into the daily routine; and
- how a personal yoga and mindfulness practice creates a solid foundation for teaching kids.
Renee Metty is the founder of The Cove School, a preschool specializing in mindfulness and social and emotional learning. In an interview on "Breathing Buddies and Vibratones: Mindfulness for Young Children," she discusses:
- how social-emotional learning is a foundation for academic learning;
- how principals and other administrators can promote mindfulness in their schools; and
- specific techniques and activities parents and teachers can use when introducing mindfulness to young children.
Teacher-Recommended Activities and Resources
I had an amazing response to a Facebook request for books and activities you've used successfully with children under ten. Thanks so much to everyone who shared your suggestions!
(FYI, I got a question about why some of the links are in blue and some are in green. That doesn't mean certain resources are recommended more than others; it happened because of a coding glitch I haven't been able to fix.)
Teacher-Recommended Props and Activities
- Kids love comfy cushions and snuggly blankets for meditation/relaxation time;
- The Mind Jar activity is very popular;
- Another popular activity is mindfully eating chocolate.
- (Obviously check your school’s policy on snacks and make sure no one in your group has an allergy.)
Teacher-Recommended Apps and Websites
- Calm.com kids' meditations/activities
- Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube
- Headspace app (kids' section)
- Smiling Mind app
- Stop, Breathe, and Think kids app
Teacher-Recommended Books (and yoga cards and CDs) for Young Children:
For your convenience, titles in this section link to Amazon or another website where you can order the book. I don't have an affiliate account, so there's no financial benefit to me or MindfulTeachers.org if you order through links from this site.
- Anh’s Anger, by Gail Silver
- Calm Down Boogie CD, by Betsy Rose
- Goodnight Yoga: A Pose by Pose Bedtime Story, by Mariam Gates
- A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles, by Thich Nhat Hahn
- Hey, Warrior! by Karen Young
- Kids Yoga Challenge Cards, by Sara Weis of GoGo Yoga for Kids
- The Kids' Yoga Deck: 50 Poses and Games, by Annie Buckley
- Lemonade Hurricane, by Licia Morelli
- Master of Mindfulness, by Laurie Grossman
- Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda, by Lauren Alderfer
- Mindup books and curriculum from the Hawn Foundation
- Moody Cow Meditates, by Kerry Lee MacLean
- Planting Seeds with Song CD, by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community
- Sitting Still Like a Frog, by Eline Snell
- This book and CD got several votes. A pre-K teacher particularly recommends the Heart Chamber track and the Spaghetti Test track.
- Still Quiet Place: Mindfulness for Young Children CD, by Amy Saltzman
- What Does It Mean To Be Present? by Rana DiOrio
- Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children: Activity and Coloring Book, by Jennifer Cohen Harper
- Yoga Pretzels (Yoga Cards) by by Tara Guber, Leah Kalish, and Sophie Fatus
- Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, by JoAnn M. Deak
- Zach Gets Frustrated, by William Mulcahy
- Zen Pig series, by Mark Brown
Teacher-Recommended Mindfulness Training
- Calm Classroom Professional Development
- British Mindfulness Institute Professional Training in the Applied use of Mindfulness for 7 – 11 year olds
- Mindful Schools Mindful Educator Essentials training (K-12 curriculum)
- Paws B training to teach mindfulness to 7-11 year olds, from the Mindfulness in Schools Project
- Relax Kids coach training to help children with concentration, self-esteem and anger management.
I hope you found these resources useful. There are hundreds more posts here at MindfulTeachers.org on practicing and teaching mindfulness, including: