This morning we created a new fun mindfulness game and meditated to Smooth Criminal, Beat It and Billie Jean AND we had a blast.
We were mindful of music and specific sounds.
My 5-year-old son, Anton, focused intensely for 15 minutes …
Just like that he honed his mindful attention skills without even noticing …
and we had a LOT of fun doing it.
You can do the same with one kid or a whole class and I bet you’ll have fun being mindful!
All kids love music and all you need is some device to play tunes with!
Mindfulness practice can actually be playful and lots of fun :-)
With this mindfulness game kids, teens and grown-ups can learn:
how to calm down,
get in touch with emotions,
and figure out that paying attention to their senses actually helps them relax.
At the end of this article you’ll find the full mindfulness game explained in detail but I’ll tell you how we made a fun super simple variation of it.
It all started with Anton’s new passion … performing DJ gigs in our living room.
It’s a big WIN WIN since I get to dance to his music!!
Music has been a growing interest for my son. He likes a variety of music from jazz to hard rock.
And now he claims he’s a DJ, too. And it’s true.
It’s so funny … just yesterday at the dinner table he planned his next DJ gig.
I’m going to play Madonna for the build up and then just before I drop the beat I’m going to play the robot guys ( Daft Punk ).
He’s been planning his sessions and focusing on the details of songs. Listening for when the beat drops and for good drums and sounds we could sample for his DJ set.
Here’s an animation of Anton performing in our living room … it’s a spectacle :-)
( Anton is mixing a song his French DJ hero “Madeon” became famous with called Pop Culture … a dance track that uses samples from about 30 popular songs. )
And since he’s so into music now I thought we could make a mindful game of it.
So this is what we did …
Michael Jackson makes a lot of funny sounds in his songs … we figured out three we could easily spot …
We identified these fun sounds:
Michael goes “Meow!” – Michael sounds like a cat ( lots of those in Smooth Criminal )
Michael goes “Ow!” – Michael sounds like he steps on a Lego :-D ( that’s what Anton says anyway )
Michael goes “Wow!” – Michael does a lot of wow’s in Beat It and Billy Jean for example.
Then we decided that the one who notices the sound first gets a point.
I hear Michael go “Meow!” … I signal it by showing thumbs up and I get one point.
Whoever has the most points at the end of the song wins.
This is serious FUN and you can do this with any song and any sound. Just be sure to pick songs you both like.
Here’s the original full game explained in detail:
Mindfulness Game for Teens and Kids – Liking the music
Purpose: Sensory awareness, Mindfulness of sounds, Focus
Best for: Ages 5+, groups or one-on-one
What you need: A selection of music
This activity helps kids learn mindful listening skills while enjoying music. The idea is to teach kids to focus on sounds and to notice a range of detail.
Pick a mix of music that fits the age of your child or group of children. With adolescents, you might want to first ask them what they’d like to listen to. Trying out different genres from country to rock, classical to jazz, is a fun way to identify differences in the styles and how they affect their feelings. Be sure to listen to the music beforehand so that you can plan what you want them to notice.
The game is simple. You play a song and ask them to pay attention to the song. Here are a few different ideas you might want to try out:
Ask them to listen to the song and give a thumbs up (likes) when they …
hear a specific instrument,
hear drums start beating, hear drums stop beating,
hear the voice of a singer start or stop,
hear a specific word or meow ( tee-hee :-) ,
notice that the music affects their feelings,
feel uplifted by the music,
feel calmed by the music,
feel the music make them feel sad or anxious.
Pick just one or two things per song.
You can also ask them to listen and pay attention to their feelings. After the music stops, ask them how the music made them feel. This is a great way to learn how to notice and talk about emotions.
When you are done listening to music, ask them if it was easy to stay focused. Were they able to bring their attention back to the music if their minds wandered? Were they able to notice whatever it was you chose to have them pay attention to?
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:
I wish you many mindful moments with your kids :-)
Shout-out: Thank you Annette K for letting me know of this fun idea!
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.