The Sound Signal is a super simple mindfulness activity to help kids learn attention and listening skills and a teacher’s favorite.
It helps kids sharpen their focus and nurture calm. Mindful listening can be very helpful at school and when friends and family need our full attention. And it’s fun to do as well!
If you’re a teacher you can use this activity to start class. To facilitate focus and calm. When you’ve tried it a few times you can have students guide the others through the activity.
Scroll down to check out my video to see how it works.
Many children naturally gravitate toward visual information, so this is a great way to help them become more aware of the auditory information that surrounds them.
You simply play an instrument and the kids get to signal when the sound is gone. Listen to the sound and lift your hand up when you can no longer hear the sound :-)
You need a bell, chimes, an item that makes a lingering sound. My favorite tool to make the sound is called the Vibra-tone.
I love it since it’s easy to carry around, kids like it, it doesn’t break easily, it’s super simple to use and it makes a beautiful long sound.
Also … I used singing bowls at first ( and still use at home sometimes ) but I noticed that when people see them they often associate them with religious practice and I like to keep mindfulness practice inclusive and secular—which is important at school for example.
If you like sound-based activities then I recommend the Vibra-tone. Especially if you work at a school. You can get it on Amazon and it looks like it’s discounted right now.
I’ll demonstrate the sound for you in the video. I’ll show exactly how it works …
AND you can try the activity yourself, right now. Yay! :-)
Well done :-)
You just honed your focusing skills!
How did it feel to focus on the sound?
Do you feel a tiny bit calmer? More focused?
Here’s the full activity explained if you’d like to try it out.
Mindfulness For Kids: Sound Signal
Purpose: Sensory Awareness & Mindfulness
Best for: Ages 4+, groups and one-on-one
What you need: a bell, chimes, or other item
that makes a lingering sound before turning quiet (even some phone apps
might have sounds that work). A Vibratone is great!
To begin, ask the child to sit or lie comfortably. Ask her to close her eyes and encourage her to breathe deeply throughout the duration of the activity.
Next, explain that you’re going to make a sound, and that she should try to focus on the sound until she can’t hear it anymore. When she can no longer hear the sound, she will give a signal.
For a younger child, this part of the activity can be made especially engaging or fun. When the sound disappears, she can signal by opening her eyes, raising her hand, snapping her fingers or through a different signal of her own invention. Tell the child that she should listen very hard for the sound for as long as she can, and only signal when it is completely inaudible.
Repeat the activity as many times as she likes, perhaps changing the “sound’s end” signal with each trial. Ask her questions about how the activity made her feel. Did she hear the sound longer than she expected? What happened to the sound as time progressed?
Some children may enjoy taking the activity even further. If that is the case, tell her that for the next round, instead of listening to the bell, she will listen to the sounds present in the room. Try modeling for her at first, pointing out sounds such as the chatter of neighbors outside on the sidewalk or the ticking of the clock (but don’t give away too many sounds – allow her to discover most of these on her own). When she gives her signal, ask her what she noticed. Were there sounds present in the room that she had no idea existed? What were they? In the future, will she be more aware of sounds like these?
A shorter version can be used to calm down and to re-focus “on-the-spot” when anxious or overwhelmed. To do this simply listen mindfully for a minute or two and try to hear at least five different sounds.
I hope you’ll enjoy this activity with the kids!!
You’ll find 150 playful mindfulness activities in my 5-star rated best selling book:
“The Most Important Mindfulness Book You’ll Ever Buy” – Helen Hudson
I wish you many mindful moments :-)
PS If you happen to buy the Vibra-tone via my links you’ll get the same best Amazon price and I’ll get a small commission to support this blog. Win win! :)
If you are new to mindfulness with children OR you want to make practice easy we recommend our online courses: Get notified here!
Chris Bergstrom is a bestselling mindfulness author, the founder of BlissfulKids.com, a blog dedicated to children’s mindfulness, and a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is a certified mindfulness facilitator and trained to teach mindfulness to students in K-12. He’s also known as “the dad who tried 200+ mindfulness activities” and has taught meditation for more than 15 years.