Paying attention to breath is a cornerstone of mindfulness, but young kids can’t necessarily focus on breathing the way adults can. Make breathing a game, though, and they totally nail it.The Mindful Breath Maze combines playfulness, creativity and breath practice. Kids start to notice the differences between short, fast breaths and long, slow breaths, both in the way the ball moves and how their bodies feel. I led this game in my daughter’s Kindergarten classroom, dividing the kids into three groups, but you can do this activity solo or with just one other person.
It’s worth noting that when we played this game at home, my 2-year-old daughter also had a fun time participating. It’s a great way for littles and itty-bittys to practice creativity and breathing.
- Play-doh or molding clay
- Different kinds of light-weight balls, like ping-pong balls, cotton balls or small pompoms
- Find a solid, smooth surface, like the kitchen counter or table
- Work together to create a maze using the Play-doh or molding clay. The more complex the maze, the more challenging it will be to move the ball through the course. You can add bridges, forked pathways, obstacles or spirals — there’s no one way to do this, so be creative!
How to Do It
- Once the maze is finished, take turns moving the ball through the maze by blowing through the straw
- Experiment with different types of breaths. Try fast and short, long and slow to move the ball where it needs to go
Time how long it takes each participant to complete the course! Try different types of balls to discover which ones travel faster using different breaths.
- How does your body feel when you breathe fast?
- How does it feel when you breathe slowly?