Birthday Cake Breaths are a fun introduction to mindful breathing. This simple breathing exercise is a great way to gently introduce the idea of breathing on purpose to children as a coping strategy. By using our breath mindfully, we can calm our bodies and give ourselves space to deal with the strong emotions that we might encounter in our day to day lives.
In this free printable I have included a poster with a hand painted birthday cake, which could be laminated and used as a prompt or hung up in a calm corner or zen den at home or in the classroom. I’ve also included a mindful colouring sheet and an instructions card.
Pin Birthday Cake Breaths Mindful Breathing Activity for Later
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Birthday cake breaths was the first breathing exercise that I introduced to my little boy (around 18 – 24 months) and he loved it. There is such excitement and joy around blowing out birthday candles. He is now 4 and this is still our go to practice, he especially loves the added visualisation of imaging the delicious cake and what it tastes like.
Its a good idea to try and practice a few different breathing exercises regularly, so when your little one needs to use their breath, they have practiced and found one that they like. Sometimes even if my little boy doesn’t want to use his breath when he’s upset, I just model for him, which in turn can help to regulate his emotions. Not only does it benefit my little boy, but practicing mindful breathing is also really helpful to me, especially in the middle of the day when I’m feeling overwhelmed, taking a few minutes to practice helps to ground me.
Here’s what you’ll need to practice the birthday cake breaths activity:
- Printable Birthday Breaths Kit
- Coloured pencils / crayons
Birthday Cake Breaths Extended Activities
- Read a cake themed book.
- Make a birthday cake themed craft
- Practice some mindful colouring and colour in a birthday cake (I’ve included one in the free printable).
- Role play a birthday party with soft toys and singing.
- Look through past special birthday photos and talk about happy memories.
- Bake a cake and use a real candle just for fun.
- Make a playdough birthday cake or make birthday cake playdough.
- Create a birthday cake from Lego or other blocks.
- Build a birthday cake from sand and decorate with shells and beach wood.
Benefits of Mindful Breathing
- It can help to teach us how different types of breathing can change the way our body and mind feel.
- It can help shift our attention towards the present moment.
- It can help us to focus on our sensations and how we feel in the moment, rather than on our thoughts and whats upsetting us.
- It can be relaxing, helping us to feel calm and self soothe.
- It can increase the ‘rest and digest’ response in the automatic nervous system and lower our heart rates.
- It can help to strengthen the part of the brain that helps us to feel calm and regulate our emotions.
- It can help build self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness.
If you want to try out more playful breathing activities with your kids you can find our Balloon Breaths activity here and our Buzzy Bee Breaths activity here. Teaching children to use their breath is about forming a healthy habit, just like brushing our teeth, relaxing deep breaths take care of both our mental and physical health.
I would love to hear from you if you enjoy this exercise or have any feedback.
Take care. Emma x