If it feels like a lesson, children won’t be interested. If it’s a game, they’ll love it.

That’s what Alfred James says about mindfulness for kids. The author of Pocket Mindfulness and its accompanying blog suggests that parents come up with mindfulness exercises they and their children can do together. It’s about finding ways to be truly present with your children, rather than mutually distracted.

Here are a few of his ideas:

Roar into the wind together: Out on a windy day, maybe at the beach? Bust your kids out of quiet time and roar into the wind. James says it’s about celebrating our interconnection with nature. (And yelling just feels good.)

Look at ants: We know kids like to use magnifying glasses to turn the sun’s rays into laser beams of destruction. They might be surprised to learn they can also be used to observe interesting things. Look at ants. See how much they can carry. How they navigate giant obstacles. How they work as a team. (Just make sure not to fry them.)

Watch plants grow: Choose a plant—outdoors or indoors—and take time to notice its growth. You can record the changes by taking photos and comparing them.

What could be better than sharing a little aha moment with a child?

This article also appeared in the August 2013 issue of Mindful magazine.

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