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Have you ever noticed how kids start hyperventilating when you ask him/ her to take a deep breath? Or if they breathe in, they don’t breathe out? Sometimes kids need to be taught how to take a deep breath properly without causing themselves any harm.
Let's See Why Breathing Is Important
When your mind is calm, the body is in a state called the “rest and digest” state. In this state, your breathing is normal with your muscles very relaxed, and your heart rate is absolutely normal. However, when you are experiencing a stressful situation (like being in a freak accident or when you are a soldier in war or simply having an anxiety attack), your body automatically shifts into the “fight, flight or freeze” state. In this state, your stomach stops digestion, your heart rate will increase, and you start breathing shallowly.
The aim of deep breathing exercises is to bring you from the “fight, flight, or freeze” state to the “rest and digest” state. The deep breaths will ensure high levels of oxygen supply into your system by opening up the capillaries. High amounts of oxygen in your body will have the physical effect of calming you down.
But how do we teach kids to breathe deeply? Here are some of the best ways to teach kids this savior of a technique. But remember we want kids to do deep belly breathing and not shallow breathing through the chest, i.e., their belly should expand when breathing in and contract while breathing out.
Easy Deep Breathing Exercises & Techniques for Kids Using Props
Make your kids gently blow bubbles to increase their oxygen intake. This is a fun and useful activity that your kids might wanna do often. They have to be concentrating on blowing slowly and carefully which will increase their patience too.
2. Stuffed Animals
Make your child lie down on their back on flat ground and keep a stuffed animal on their tummy. Ask them to breathe in and see the stuffed animal move up then breathe out and have the animal go down. Now that’s one fun activity that will keep them glued on.
Kids can decide whether to breathe in more quickly or slowly by the speed of the pinwheel. Gradually they can come to terms with the breathing speed suitable for their system.
Choose some colored feathers and pick out one from them. The chosen feather could be of their favorite color or something that makes them feel calm. Ask them to breathe in and hold their breath till the count of three. Then tell them to blow out going up on one side of the chosen feather and then down the other side.
5. Hoberman Sphere
Hoberman Sphere is a fun way to help your child learn deep breathing. It’s as simple as ABC where you need to breathe in and expand the sphere and breathe out to contract the sphere. This is going to keep your child engaged for a while.
6. DIY Crafts
Make a craft using ribbons, crepe paper, or a paper plate. Make your kids blow these ribbons or paper while breathing out. Let’s see what materials you need to make this one.
- Half paper plate
- 6″ to 8″ stripps of crepe paper that is cut in half
- String or yarn
- Accessories to make your creature beautiful like stickers, paint, ribbon, crayons, markers, colored pencils, tissues, or googly eyes.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids Using Shapes
7. Triangle Breathing
Have your kid draw a triangle on plain paper with their favorite color pencils. You could even have them color inside if they want to make this a fun activity. Trace the outline of the triangle from one side with a pencil. As you trace one side breathe in for three seconds then when on to the second side hold on your breath for 3 counts. As you trace the third and the final side blow out your breath for 3 counts. And there you have done one deep breathing cycle.
8. Square Breathing
Similar to triangle breathing, have your kids draw a square and trace with a pencil. Start at the bottom right of your square and breathe in for 4 seconds as you trace the first side of the square. As you trace the second side of the square hold your breath for 4 counts. Breath out for 4 counts when on the third side of the square and hold your breath again for 4 seconds when on the fourth side. Now, that’s another deep breath technique you learned.
9. Star Breathing
Draw a star and take a pencil to trace. Choose a breath-in point on your star to start breathing at that point only. You could opt out of a pencil and do it with your finger too. Keep your finger over the breath-in point of the star and take a breath in as you trace that side till you reach another point on the star. Hold your breath when you reach the tip and breathe out as you trace the side to the next point. Keep repeating this till you reach your chosen point of breath-in and by now you have completed 5 deep breaths.
10. Lazy 8 Breathing
Draw an 8 and start at the bottom middle part of it. Breath in as you trace that side upwards and hold your breath at the top of the middle of the 8. Breath out as you trace the other side till the bottom tip has reached. This will make sure you complete one deep breath.
11. Hexagonal Breathing
Draw a hexagon and choose a side to start breathing in. As you trace that side, breathe in and hold your breath as you trace the next side. Breath out on the third side and when you reach the end of that side start breathing in again. Hold your breath as you trace the 5th side and blow out while on the 6th side. As you do this technique you would have two deep breaths.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids Using Imagination
12. Darth Vader Breathing
Pretend to have a straw in your mouth and such in through it. Breathe out like you are Darth Vader.
13. Ocean Breathing
Breathe in while imagining the waves rolling in and breathe out when your imaginative waves roll away.
14. Color Breathing
Choose a happy and calm color as per your liking and breath in by keeping it in your mind. Think of a repressive color or a color of your least liking and breath out imagining those repressive emotions leaving your body.
15. Soft Belly Breathing
Now this one is a pretty simple exercise. Say “soft” when you breathe in and say “belly” when you breathe out.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids Using Animals
16. Whale Breathing
Make yourself sit up crisscross and tall and take a deep breath in. Hold it and count to five on your fingers. Now tilt your head upwards and blow it out. You could imagine a blowhole up your head or make one with your hands when you blow out your breath.
17. Snake Breathing
Breath in, hold your breath briefly, and blow out making a hissing sound for as long as you can do it.
18. Bunny Breathing
You can do this breathing technique either by sitting or moving around. So, if you are in a sitting position, make a bunny with your hands in front of your chest. Take in a few sniffles pretending you are the bunny. If you prefer movement added to it then start by squatting and hopping forward all the while taking in quick bunny sniffs.
19. Bumblebee Breathing
Breath in and pretend that you are smelling your favorite flower. While you breathe out, make a humming sound as if you’re a bee. Try all the different ways of making this sound by lowering your sound or making it high.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids Using Numbers
20. 5-5-10 Breathing
The numbers are seconds which means in the 5-5-10 breathing technique you breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and breath out for 10 seconds.
21. 4-7-8 Breathing
Breath in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and breathe out for 8 counts as if you are emptying your stomach.
22. 7-11 Breathing
Breath in for 7 seconds and exhale for 11 seconds.
23. Count To 10
For each count till 10 breathe in and out alternatively, i.e., breathe in at count 1, breathe out at count 2, inhale for the 3rd count, exhale for the 4th count, and so on till you reach 10 and you would have completed 5 deep breaths.
Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids Using Body
24. Mountain Breathing
Here are the steps to breathe using your fingers.
- Put up one of your hands by placing your palms outward with your fingers spread apart.
- Keep the index finger of your other hand at the right side of the base of your thumb of the raised hand. Breath in as you trace your index finger upwards towards the tip of the thumb.
- Breath out as you move your finger down the thumb till you reach the base of the thumb and the index finger.
- Breath in as you trace your index finger with the other hand’s index finger till you reach the tip.
- Breathe out when you trace it downwards towards the base of the index finger and the middle finger.
- Do this cycle till the little finger and you would have completed 5 deep breaths.
You could do this exercise with a trusted aid or an adult by making them spread their one hand and moving your finger to trace it. Or you could spread your hand and make them trace your fingers while you both deep breathe together.
25. Hands To Shoulders
Sometimes unknowingly you breathe in through your chest rather than your belly. To find out you can place your hands on your shoulders with your elbows on your sides and breathe. If you notice your shoulders moving too much then try to breathe in with your belly by contracting and expanding it.
26. Rainbow Breathing
Keep your arms at the sides of your body and move your arms up when you breathe in and down as you breathe out. Your arms here create a rainbow.
27. Volcano Breathing
Pretend that your hands and arms are the lava from an erupting volcano. Keep both of your hands on your chest and breathe in. As you breathe out move your hands and arms upwards, make a circle, and down to your sides.
28. Explosion Breathing
This is one fun activity. Breathe in as your crouch down and jump up high with your hands and legs spread as you breathe out as if you are exploding.
29. Wood Chopper Breathing
Stand tall and straight with your legs apart at your hips distance. Raise your arms above your hands and clasp your hands together. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth while saying “HA” and pulling your arms down towards your legs as if you are chopping wood.
30. Nostril Breathing Or Cowabunga Breathing
Keep your thumb or a finger on one nostril and breathe in through your other nostril for 5 seconds. Now block the other nostril and breathe out for 5 seconds.
Deep Breathing Excercises For Kids Final Conclusion
Here we come to the end of an exhaustive list of breathing exercises that are fun and interactive for your kids. Deep breathing will eventually calm down your kid and increase his or her ability to deal with stress and high emotions. These 30 breathing exercises are best sorted for your kids’ betterment. You could try this yourself too, however.