If ever there has been a moment for practicing mindfulness, this is it. These are stressful days for everyone, including children, and focusing on the moment makes things easier. In addition, Spanish mindfulness activities are useful language activities for both native speakers and Spanish learners.
Below I’ll share a few of my favorite Spanish mindfulness activities and resources.
Why Mindfulness in Spanish?
Practicing mindfulness helps children pay attention to what is happening in the moment – the world around them and their own feelings. It makes them aware of what they are experiencing while they are experiencing it. Research has shown that mindfulness can substantially reduce stress.
In addition, the language component of mindfulness activities complements Spanish learning.
- The practice of mindfulness itself is conducive to language learning because an aware, attentive mind absorbs what it hears.
- Mindfulness is a practice and is meant to be done on a regular basis. This provides for repetition and structured exposure to the language in the activities.
- Individual mindfulness activities are short, focused, and incorporate repetition.
- Finally, mindfulness activities in Spanish create positive associations with language learning.
Mindfulness Activities and Spanish Learners
So, where do you find Spanish mindfulness activities? And how do you do them?
One approach is to look for simple mindfulness activities online and adapt them to your Spanish learners. Many activities are straightforward.
- Encourage kids to take deep, slow breaths as they blow bubbles. Ask them to focus on how the bubble forms and floats away.
- Point out sights and sounds on a walk together. Listen together. Notice how the sun or the wind feels on your face.
- Pause what you are doing to tune into feelings and identify them. The goal is awareness; there is no judgement about good or bad feelings.
However, mindfulness is a practice. Therefore, we need to have a significant number of activities to draw on. I find that teaching mindfulness is much easier with the support of good resources.
Chicos Mindful Activity Deck
The Chicos Mindful Activity Deck is a beautiful set of 50 mindfulness activity cards published by Barefoot Books. It is by far my favorite resource for Spanish mindfulness activities for kids.
I adore these cards!
- The lovely illustrations support the language in the activity.
- There is enough variation to use these cards forever. The experience is different each time you use them.
- These are short activities, so they are easy to make part of a daily routine.
- No screens! There are mindfulness videos and apps, but in my experience, a device is always a distraction. These cards are not!
Learn more about the Chicos Mindful Activity Deck in this trailer.
Using Chicos Mindful with Spanish Learners
The cards come with a guide, but here are a few suggestions for using them with Spanish learners. The suggestions apply to other mindfulness activities as well.
- Spend time teaching mindful sitting and mindful breathing as described in the guide. Many of the activities incorporate them and once learned it is excellent repetition of comprehensible input.
- Teach or activate key vocabulary using pictures before you do the activity. Use the illustrations on the cards and other pictures. For example, before doing an activity with animal movements, you could read Algarabía en la granja (one of my favorite farm animal books) and talk about the pictures. Or, if you’re going outside or doing an activity related to natural world vocabulary, you could read Oso bajo el sol, a wonderful book to talk about weather.
- With language learners who are new to mindfulness activities, choose a few of the most concrete activities and rotate through those. Then, go on to other cards.
- Before starting, explain to kids that the purpose is to be aware, to pay attention to the moment. There is no right or wrong way to do the activity.
- Speak (read) slowly. Kids need time to process language and create mental pictures. Read the instructions slowly and pause between sentences and steps.
- Adapt the vocabulary to use familiar language. Use simpler language and shorter sentences to make the activity comprehensible for your learners.
- Consider doing the card as a whole group interactive activity first, and talk through the steps aloud with examples. Then do it again as individual silent meditation for kids.
Free Spanish Mindfulness Activities
Barefoot Books has generously provided a PDF download of three mindfulness activities from the Chicos Mindful Activity Deck.
Yoga and Mindfulness in Spanish
Yoga is one way to practice mindfulness. Through yoga, children tune into their breath and body. Yoga also builds connections with the natural world.
I’ve had good luck with yoga stories, although they are not strictly mindfulness activities because kids are engaged with the narrative. However, once children are familiar yoga, the poses can be used to focus specifically on mindfulness.
Butterfly Yoga Story
I’ve done this butterfly yoga story with students for years. The video is by Yogic. I make it a little simpler for beginners, and support the language by displaying pictures I can point to as I tell the story.
This yoga story is also great for reinforcing weather vocabulary. I support these words with pictures: las mariposas, las flores, el sol, las nubes, la lluvia, el viento, el arco iris. If they are familiar, you can certainly skip the pictures and just tell the story as you do the poses.
Kids Yoga Stories
Kids Yoga Stories publishes picture books in English and Spanish with yoga poses woven into the stories. Although not strictly mindfulness activities (readers are engaged with the narrative), the books are a fun way to introduce Spanish learners to yoga.
Learn more about Kids Yoga Stories in this post about Yoga Stories for Every Season.
Mindfulness develops self-awareness and helps children manage stress. The Chicos Mindful Activity Deck makes activities in Spanish easy for parents and teachers. It’s a wonderful way for families to add Spanish mindfulness practice to their routines at home.
I highly recommend you jump in and try practicing mindfulness with your students or family. Don’t worry, there is no “right way” and every moment is a new opportunity to practice mindfulness. Rest assured that the children in your life will benefit from the calm and attention, and so will you.