Teaching Mindfulness in First Grade

Are you having trouble keeping your kiddos calm during the last weeks of school? Why not try "breathing buddies"? What are breathing buddies, you ask??? Well, let me explain....

Mindfulness in First Grade, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

During our latest unit about well-being, we explored the components of health. Instead of just focusing on "traditional health" topics for kids, like brushing your teeth and washing your hands, we also inquired into how we could care for our hearts (feelings) and minds. I was actually a little bit surprised at how many of my students shared that they already practice meditation to some degree, their parents having taught them. Once I thought about it, it made a lot of sense as meditation and mindfulness are a big part of south Asian culture.

When we were looking for ways to teach students about taking some quiet time to think, breathe and relax, my teammate found this post on Left Brain Buddha. It's got some great ideas, including breathing buddies!

Ask your students to bring in a small stuffed animal to serve as their breathing buddy. Ask them to lay down, and set them on their bellies. The breathing buddy encourages students to breathe deeply; when they inhale, their buddy will go up, and when they exhale, their buddy will go down. This movement helps them to get a breathing rhythm going. I also asked my kids to count to 3 to encourage them to breathe slowly.

Mindfulness in First Grade, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

My students loved it! We practiced this just for a couple of minutes each day for the past week and I definitely saw a difference in their overall level of energy- they seemed more calm and less end-of-the-year hyper. It's a great thing to do after recess to help them center their focus back to learning.

Do you practice mindfulness in your classroom?


  1. Love it! Thanks for sharing my link, and I'm so glad the practice went well for your class! I teach 10th graders -- so we practice mindfulness, but without the stuffed animals. :)

  2. You're welcome! I love your site and will be looking at it a lot more this summer for more ideas! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I am so glad I read about this on your blog. I am always struggling with getting everyone in my first grade class to calm down after recess so we can finish our day. Now I know exactly what to do...breathing buddies!
    Deb at Fabulously First

  4. Thanks, Deb! Hope they enjoy it :)


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