Whenever kids are feeling frustrated, angry or anxious, squeezing a stress ball can help them notice difficult emotions and release them.

Acknowledging difficult emotions takes courage. That’s why we’ve paired our stress ball craft activity with the practice of Lion’s Breath (lions are an international symbol of courage). When you’re done making your stress ball, join Travis and Gaby for Lion’s Breath.


  • Your favorite (deflated) balloons
  • Funnels
  • Recycled vegetable or fruit nets
  • Slime
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Straws or kebob skewers


  • Attach a balloon to the small end of a funnel
  • Add bits of slime through the funnel and poke down into the balloon with your straw or skewer
  • Fill the balloon so it’s just big enough to fit snugly into the palm of your hand
  • Wrap the filled balloon with the vegetable netting. Be sure to use enough material so you can secure the top around the opening of the balloon with a rubber band

The Practice: Lion's Breath

  1. Sit up straight in your chair, on the floor or on a pillow
  2. Take a deep inhale in
  3. Cross your eyes, looking at the tip of your nose
  4. Open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue and exhale with a loud “ahhh” or roar
  5. Repeat two more times


  • What did it feel like to do Lion’s Breath?
  • How did you feel before Lion’s Breath and after?
  • Did you notice any changes in your body? If so, what were they?

Join Mindful Littles facilitator Travis Groft and Mindful Middle Gaby as they lead you through Lion’s Breath and show you how to make stress balls at home.

The Science Behind the Smiles

Squeezing a soft, squishy object, like a stress ball has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety. Repeatedly gripping and releasing of specific muscle groups, like those in the hand, helps quiet and calm the mind. Lion’s Breath is an energetic breath that helps relieve tension in the face and chest.


The Result of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Method on Test Anxiety in Nursing Students (NCBI)

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