8 calming and breathing activities for children

Many parents want their children to “calm down” and to “breathe” when they have a tantrum.

But first children need to practise breathing when they are happy and relaxed to be able to use those techniques in a stressful situation.

Breathing is a tool that will help your child to manage his big emotions. We can help our child to be more aware of their breath and to learn to calm down by controlling their breath

Teaching children to breathe provides them with a simple tool for slowing down, both mentally and physically, helping them to be aware of how they’re feeling and to relax in the face of overwhelming emotions.

I teach yoga and mindfulness to children, from young toddlers to pre-teens. I also practise those activities at home with my own children.

You do not need to be interested in yoga and meditation to introduce your children to those activities. 

Watch this short video to see those activities as practised by my children:


And take my free mini-course to stay calm and connected with your children! You will receive a email series with info, links, videos and activities to try with your child!


8 calming and breathing activities:

I use props because children love props, love to have something in their hands and those props make their breath more concrete. They can see that something is happening when they breathe in and out

1. Start your session with breathing in and out on the tune of a chime

This is the one we have:


2. Pompoms:

Blow some pompoms and use a straw to suck the pompoms to move them to a container.

3. Feathers:

First ask your child to use his feather to tickle his nose, his shoulders, his belly, his knees, his toes. Hide the feather in your hand then open your hand, palm up. Place the feather in the palm of your hand. Then blow the feather away. Parents and children can then race each other: who is going to blow the feather far away?

4. Juggling scarves

If you don’t have a light scarf, a tissue will do!

Place a scarf on your head and try to blow it. Take a deep breath in and blow it away. Babies love to play peek-a-boo with a scarf and if you demonstrate the breathing with a scarf to a baby, they will start to copy you. I have seen babies as young as 9 months old blowing away the scarf.

5.  Five fingers breathing

 “5-Finger Breathing” is also called the Starfish breathing.

As you breathe in and out, trace around your fingers. On the in-breath, trace up the outside of your left pinky finger with your right index finger. On the out-breath, trace down the other side. Repeat for the next four fingers. If your child is older or particularly enjoys this exercise, do all ten fingers. Notice how you feel afterwards. I am not super strict with this breathing and many children start to trace around their thumb first. Watch the video for a clear demonstration of this activity.

6. Peace begins with me Mantra:

Say the words as you press your thumb against each finger, one after the other. At first, it is just an easy to remember finger play. It will foster your child’s concentration and it’s even a fine motor skill practise. As your child grows older, you can discuss how we first need to be kind to ourselves to spread kindness to the world.

Watch the video for a clear demonstration of this Mantra for kids.

7. Hoberman ball

Also called the Breathing ball!

Open the sphere and take a deep breath in, close the sphere and breathe out. The Hoberman sphere symbolises the lungs filling up with air then the air going out of the lungs. The sphere has a very calming effect on most children.

There are some cheap spheres on the market but I recommend the real Hoberman sphere as it’s really long lasting  compared to other brands,

8. Tibetan bowl

 Breathe in and out on the tune of the Tibetan bowl.

The vibrations felt when holding the bowl or listening to it are quite mesmerising.

Listen until the sound fades away.

Watch the video to see those activities as practised by my 6 and 10 years old.

Make a calming toolbox for your child:

Once your child has been practising those activities with you, you can have the tools available in a box for her to practise at her own convenience. Remind her of those tools when she is overwhelmed by her own emotions.


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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.