Square Breathing Gratitude Activity for Kids

This fun square breathing gratitude activity for kids is a great to us at birthdays and Christmas. Not only are children learning square ‘gift’ breaths but they are also practicing gratitude, which is a great way to build happiness and wellbeing.

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What is Square Breathing

Square breathing is a simple, relaxing breathing exercise, which can also be called box breathing and 4 x 4 breathing. The idea is to trace or imagine the shape of a square, whilst inhaling and exhaling.

Square breathing helps to calm the mind, relax the body and focus us in the moment. It helps our children to learn a skills that promotes response inhibition, which is an executive functioning skill that helps us in so many areas of life. We learn to respond rather than to react.

{Related Post: 18 Playful Breathing Activities for Kids}

What are Gift Breaths

Gift Breaths are a variation of the square breathing activity. The square shape become the image of a gift and with that an added gratitude practice for all the gifts we have. Gratitude is a positive psychology strategy that helps to build the positive pathways in our brain and promotes happiness and wellbeing.

As I mentioned I love to use this breathing at Birthdays and Christmas with my son. It helps us to reflect and be thankful for everything that we have and all the gifts he has received. It can often feel a time when kids are given too much, so it’s nice to ground ourselves, reflect of how lucky we are and think about how we can repay our gifts with kindness.

This fun square breathing gratitude activity for kids teaches children to practice 'gift' breaths and practice gratitude.

Square Breathing Gratitude Activity for Kids

How to take a ‘Gift’ Breath {Buy Printable Kit Here}

Step 1: Get Ready

Here are a few ideas on how to prep before your Gift Breaths exercise:

  • Practice at a time when your children are calm and happy
  • Use a space that is relaxing and safe
  • Provide everything the child needs to be comfy, like a cushion or drink of water
  • Play some relaxing music to create a calm atmosphere

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Step 2: How to do ‘Gift’ Breathing

  • Children can choose to use a square shape to trace, trace the air or use their imaginations for the activity.
  • Begin by slowly breathing out. Ask children to imagine emptying all the stale air out.
  • Then, ask them to gently inhale through their noses to a slow count of 4.
  • Hold at the top of their breath for a count of 4.
  • Then gently exhale through their mouth for a count of 4.
  • At the bottom of the breath, pause and hold for the count of 4.
  • Take a moment afterwards to notice how it felt to take a square breath
Square breathing for Kids

Step 3: How to Practice Gratitude

1: For this activity we end the exercise with a chance to practice some gratitude. To do this ask the children to draw a square and then divide it into 4 quarters, so it looks like a gift. You can also for ease find the printable here.

2: Then once they have done that they think of something that they are gratful for. They write that in the first quarter of their gift.

3: In the second quarter they think about how it makes them feel.

4: In the next quarter they think and write about the person who was connected with this gratitude.

5: Then finally they write how they might repay the gratitude with a kindness

If you try this activity, tag me on Instagram!

I hope you enjoy taking a gift breath with your child. I love sharing these activities at home with my little one and with the children I work with. If you are a teacher, kids yoga instructor, counsellor or parent these resources are great for a calm corner, group session or one to one. Take care, Emma x

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