Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to promote mindfulness and social-emotional learning for your kids? Look no further than playdough! The squishy, colorful stuff we all know and love can actually help kids develop important skills like self-awareness, empathy, and positive self-talk.
So grab your playdough and get ready to have some fun while promoting mindfulness and meditation for your little ones. Let’s get started!
How Does Playdough Help Mental Health in Children?
Playing with playdough is a great way to promote mindfulness, social-emotional learning, and mental well-being in kids. By engaging in tactile and creative play, children can develop important skills like self-awareness, empathy, and positive self-talk. Some of the ways playdough encourages mental health in children is:
Stress Relief: Playing with playdough can be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. The repetitive motion of kneading, rolling, and shaping the playdough can be soothing and calming.
Sensory Stimulation: Playdough provides a tactile experience that can stimulate the senses and improve kids’ moods. The different textures, colors, and scents of the playdough can be engaging and enjoyable.
Creative Expression: Playing with playdough allows kids to express themselves creatively and imaginatively. They can create anything they want, without any rules or limitations. This can boost their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
Mindfulness: Playing with playdough can be a mindfulness activity that helps kids stay present in the moment and focus on their senses. By paying attention to the sensations in their hands and the movements of the playdough, kids can improve their ability to concentrate and reduce distractions.
Socialization: Playing with playdough with others can be a fun and social activity that promotes bonding and communication. Kids can share their creations with others and work together to create something new.
What is Playdough Meditation?
Using playdough for meditation is a fun and engaging way to practice mindfulness. It’s a simple activity that kids can do at home or at school, and it doesn’t require any special equipment or training. Here are some tips on how to use playdough for mindfulness:
Start by creating a relaxing environment. Choose a quiet and comfortable space where kids can focus on the activity without any distractions. You can also add some calming scents, such as lavender or chamomile, or turn on ambience music to enhance the relaxing atmosphere.
Make or buy some playdough. You can make your own playdough using any playdough recipe, or buy pre-made playdough at your local store. We have shared a bunch of diy playdough recipes on our blog if you are needing ideas! I would suggest using a scented playdough when using playdough for meditation with kids.
My personal favorite homemade playdough recipes are:
Use the mindfulness playdough script we provided below, or create your own playdough mindfulness script. You can use the script to guide kids through the meditation while playing with the playdough. This is a fantastic exercise for introducing kids to meditation.
Focus on the sensations. As kids play with the playdough, have them notice the sensations in your hands. Focus on the texture, temperature, and weight of the playdough. This will help them stay present and in the moment.
Stay curious and non-judgmental. When you notice your kids’ mind wandering or getting distracted, gently bring their attention back to the playdough. Try to keep them curious and non-judgmental, without getting frustrated, criticizing yourself, or them.
Experiment with different scents and textures. Play around with different scents and textures to keep the activity engaging and interesting. You can easily add most scented food grade oils to playdough or add texture by adding in crafting materials such as glitter or craft sand.
Take your time. Allow yourself and the kids to take their time and enjoy the process.
Mindfulness Playdough Script
Here’s a mindfulness playdough script you can use to practice mindfulness while playing with your playdough:
- Explain to kids the meditation activity and any expectations. Remember to keep your expectations reasonable and flexible.
- Have kids sit comfortably and hand out playdough. Ask kids to not play with their playdough until they are told to touch it.
- Start with deep breathing. Have kids breathe in from their nose, expanding their belly as their lungs fill with air, and audibly exhale through their mouths. Have kids do this 3-5 times.
- After the deep breathing is complete ask kids to pick up their playdough. Ask the kids questions that will bring their attention to the sensations of the playdough.
- How does the playdough feel when it is squeezed?
- Is the playdough cold or hot?
- What does the playdough smell like?
- What is the texture of the playdough like?
- Is the playdough heavy or light?
- Have kids take another deep breath and focus their attention on the playdough in their hands.
- Then instruct the kids to roll, shape, and mold the playdough. While the kids are doing this continue to ask them sensory questions to bring their awareness to the playdough.
- If their minds starts to wander, gently bring their attention back to the playdough.
- End the playdough meditation with 3-5 more deep belly breaths.
Additional Mindfulness Playdough Activities
Printable Human Body Playdough Mats
Printable Human Body Playdough Mats are a set of educational and interactive resources designed to help kids learn about the human body by creating different body parts and organs with playdough.
Printable Emotions Playdough Mats and Task Cards
Printable Emotions Playdough Mats and Task Cards are a set of fun and engaging resources designed to help kids develop emotional intelligence and social skills by creating and exploring different emotions with playdough.
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