Breathing techniques are extremely powerful and have an abundance of benefits for young children and teens. Different techniques have the ability to calm or energise; heat or cool; release emotions or encourage self-reflection; clear the mind, the lungs and emotions; but how can you making breathing fun?!
The activities below focus on a forceful exhale through the mouth which can release stress, anxiety and emotions as well as energising the mind and body.
As adults, we often ‘sigh’ out the breath to release tension or anger, but it’s much more fun if you add a silly sound and movement. Play the Silly Sounds game in which children can pair a movement to the silly sounds that you create, whilst exhaling through your mouth or, you can encourage them to create their own silly sounds and movements. Anything that encourages the children to extend their exhalation, the sillier the better!
Everybody loves bubbles! Encourage your little yogis to make as many bubbles as they can by giving them a straw and a bowl of coloured soapy water. Have a competition to see who can blow the most bubbles. Encourage the children to take a really big breath in first, so that they can make even more bubbles. It’s really fun to place a piece of paper over the top of the bubbles to make a bubble painting – a painting created just by their breath!
With the children lying on their backs, hands besides their bodies, drop a feather above each child’s head and encourage them to blow the feather so that it doesn’t drop onto the floor or their face. No hands allowed, only breath! It’s nice to play some relaxing music to see if they can keep their feather floating for the entire song.
A fun group game! With the children standing in a circle, facing towards the left, pass a balloon around the circle by twisting whilst forcefully exhaling with a ‘Ha!’ sound to pass the balloon to the person behind. This is a quick, energising game and more than one balloon can be added to the circle or have two circles and see which balloons can move the fastest. You can also do this by passing the balloon overhead and under-legs, still moving with the ‘Ha!’ breath. This is one of the best pranayama techniques for releasing stress!
As a child, fogging up a mirror with your breath is always good fun but this is also a pranayama technique! Give each child a small mirror or sit the group around a large mirror, inhale deeply and take a long breath out infront of the mirror, keep the exhalation as long as you can so that mirror stays foggy. The children can draw or write a secret message super-quickly before the fog disappears.