Mindful Breathing

GRADES K-2

Learning Goal

Students will learn why and how to breathe deeply.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lessons, students will be able to:

  • Understand how deep breathing makes them feel
  • Demonstrate deep breaths with a breathing buddy
  • Describe different types of breathing

Learning Summary

The lesson begins with a mindful moment in which students bring awareness to their body by pushing through their legs and feet into the ground. You then have students notice their breath and count how many times they breathe in a minute. The lesson then moves to a story in which Munchy learns to do deep breathing when he finds a chipmunk lying atop him. Then the students use a “breathing buddy” (a stuffed animal, bean bag, or just an eraser or other school supply) to enact that part of the story and explore different types of breath. Students end by drawing a picture of themselves with their breathing buddy in their journals.

computer icon    Online Teaching Tips for Mindful Breathing

The online format makes counting breaths easier. You can show a clock on the screen (just search for “timer” in Google and you should see one that you can enlarge and then share screen).

The breathing buddy exercise works great with students at home – have them find some small stuffed animal or item to use. The search is part of the fun!

See lesson one on Mindfulness for some general teaching recommendations about doing live or recorded social-emotional lessons.

Consider using the cotton ball and straw activity (students can use a crumpled up piece of paper for a cotton ball if needed). You may find you want to simply model it and have them try a few times, then ask them to practice on their own and show you their skills the next time you meet. For older grades, have them draw a maze and practice blowing their cotton (or paper) ball through it. 

    Consider modeling and assigning the cotton ball and straw activity (students can use a crumpled up piece of paper for a cotton ball if needed). For older grades, have them draw a maze and practice blowing their cotton (or paper) ball through it.

    Breathing buddies and the cotton ball activity are great opportunities to ask parents to send you pictures and videos to post in a shared space.

    CASEL Competencies

    Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

    Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

    Classroom Teaching Example