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10 Breathing Exercises For Kids

Take a moment just to breathe. Below, Caribu has a list of breathing exercises for you that are fun with detailed instructions and ready to start with your kids right now. These exercises can travel with you anywhere, and be used whenever you need them most. 

A great way to transition from one routine to another is to take a moment and breathe. It doesn’t matter where you are or what is happening. Just take a moment and concentrate on how you are breathing. Studies show that slowing your breathing down even a little bit can help you gather your thoughts and increase your focus.

Breathing exercises are a fantastic idea before kids switch from a rambunctious activity to a quiet one. Another good time to do a breathing exercise is just before self-directed playtime, no matter if you just want to slow down the room’s energy or take a break to catch your breath. 

Ready to get started with breathing exercises for your kids? Here we go! Let’s put on our imagination hats and let the fun and relaxation begin. 

1. Happy Humming Bumble Bee

The humming bee breath is also known as Bhramari Pranayama. This type of breath can help with brain function and memory, rejuvenate the body, and promote calmness.

For the technique, the mouth remains closed while you breathe through your nose. Humming while you exhale creates a stimulating vibration when your ears are closed. 

You can start with your kids sitting comfortably on the ground with legs crossed (also known as criss-cross applesauce). It is best to stretch your shoulders at the start of this exercise. Encourage your child to try sitting with a straight spine.

You need to cover your ears for this exercise. It is safer to gently close your ears by pressing the tragus of our ears closed lightly. Don’t worry, we’ll explain… the tragus of the ear is the thick piece of flesh that covers the ear’s opening, protecting and shielding the ear tube that leads to the internal structures of our ears. 

One variation is to have your kids put their hands over their eyes. Then they can close their ears using their thumbs. This is an excellent choice if your child wants to look more like a bee.

An alternative method is to have your child close their ears and have them gently make a loose fist, extend one finger and lightly close their ears. 

You can also have your child increase how slowly and deeply they breathe. For the best results, we suggest repeating this exercise five to 10 times. 

2. Candy Sprinkles

Stressful events can sometimes be sudden and have a major impact on a child’s emotions. Even kids with the most exuberant personalities are embarrassed easily. Thankfully, we have plenty of suggestions to help them through this, no matter the situation.

This next breathing exercise can bring a huge smile to your child’s face by explaining that they can sugar coat their breathing. This is a great way to gauge your child’s emotions and help them feel more comfortable and confident, as well as find calm and reduce stress.

Before you start, you may want to take a moment and encourage your child to settle down. Research supports that focusing on how you are breathing helps you to relax. 

When you are ready, have your child take a breath in through their nose and hold it for three seconds. Then exhale slowly from the mouth. 

You can keep your child’s attention focused on their breathing by engaging their imagination. 

In this exercise, you can explain to your child that they can add imaginary candy sprinkles to their breath just by wiggling their fingers. 

If you would like, you can suggest they add more sprinkles by slowly stretching out their arms. Perhaps they can add heaps of sprinkles when they slowly lift their arms towards their heads. 

3. Swimming Whale

Does your child like to make a splash? In this next exercise, your child pretends that they are a whale with its heads above the seawater! It introduces diaphragm and pursed-lip breathing techniques, and the swishy sound that’s created when you exhale is also  satisfying.

Have your child sit comfortably on the ground with their legs crossed. You may want to start with a big stretch, with their arms reaching out to the sides and gently swaying from side to side. 

We are using a breath that fills the chest by expanding the lungs. On the exhale, a swoosh sound is made. This swooshing sound represents the air coming out of the whale’s blowhole. Pursed-lip breathing focuses on your child’s pace of breathing.

Chest filling exercises focus on expanding the sides, bottom, and top of our lungs. Expanding all parts of the lungs or the bottom breathing muscles engages the diaphragm. It is common with chest breathing exercises to change what area of the lungs you expand with each breath. When breathing to fill the sides of the lungs, both sides are extended simultaneously without alternating.

To simulate whale swimming, have your child move their outstretched arms up while inhaling and down while exhaling. They can also pretend to dive by putting their hands together, arms moving up while inhaling, and diving deeper as their arms slowly push down while exhaling.

4. Lots Of Joyful Rainbows

Ready to add some joy to your day? Then you need to try this breathing exercise! This exercise is a great way to increase focus and energy when your child is tired or feeling timid. Making rainbows with your breath may be an excellent activity for your next rainy day!

Start by standing comfortably. Consider adding some light stretching before and after a series of breaths to help improve your child’s circulation. With hands wide open, your child can pretend to make rainbows. A rainbow is made by breathing in while slowly lifting both of their arms towards their head, and exhaling at the top of the rainbow. We suggest six breaths for each group of rainbows.

A side stretch can be incorporated into the breath as well by having your child place a hand on one hip and creating a rainbow while bending towards the other side.

5. Snake In The Grass

The vivid detail used in this exercise is a wonderful way for kids to collect their thoughts and focus their attention.

You can sit on the floor, in a chair, or stand for this exercise. The goal is to have your child pretend that they are a snake in tall grass that has grown high above their head. To create the most vivid experience, we suggest discussing the imaginary details that your child can add to this exercise.  

For example, the texture of the grass: Pampas grass is an ornamental grass that can grow upwards of ten feet high. Perhaps the grass has a unique color not found in nature, or the grass changes color as the child swishes through. 

In this exercise, your child is going to breathe in through their nose and hiss while exhaling. Have your child open their hands wide in front of them. They can put both hands together with fingers that are as close or as far apart as they would like.

Have your child sway slowly from side to side, keeping their hands moving as they weave and bend their way through the grass. Consider changing the length of your child’s breathing every five breaths to keep them even more engaged.

6. Toy Riding A Wave

Every parent wants to store up ideas to use with their children to help them sleep or settle them down for a quiet moment of rest. Look no further, as we have a wonderful addition that you can add to your collection!

Having a breathing buddy is a new trend used in breathing exercises for children. While practicing deep belly breaths your child can give their favorite toy a fun adventure . 

Start by having your child lay down on their back. Ask them to either place or imagine their favorite toy on their belly. 

The idea here is that your child is a gentle wave and  their favorite toy is floating on top of them. As they take a deep breath in and fill their belly, the toy bobs up. Have your child hold their breath for a count of five. As they let out their breath slowly, the toy glides down. 

We recommend repeating this exercise up to five times. Then, you can have your child move their arms outstretched to their sides for five breaths and breathe with their arms above their heads for five more breaths.

To increase the relaxing effect of this exercise, you may want to have your child silently listen for imaginary sounds, like the ribbiting of a frog, which can help a sleepy child be still. 

7. Lion’s Breath

You may want to try this exercise to help your child feel brave and confident when they are feeling nervous. This exercise uses a technique known as Lion’s Breath. Lion’s Breath consists of breathing  in through the nose then out through the mouth with a ‘haaaaaaa’ sound. This technique is best done on an empty stomach and before eating garlic or onions!

If you have a child who wants a deeper exercise, then they can pretend to be a fiery dragon. This silly exercise is excellent for releasing stress, building body heat, and reducing tension in the body. 

Begin by having your child on their hands and knees. Have them stretch their head from side to side as a warmup. Next, help them focus their breath by having them sniff the air several times. Follow the sniffing up with a full-body stretch.

Next, have your child make a ‘haaaa’ noise up towards imaginary clouds using short, forceful breaths. Try to do eight of these breaths before moving on.

Then, ask your child to stick out their tongues down toward their chin as far as they can. It is best to have relaxed shoulders and a stretched neck when doing this. You may also want to suggest that they wiggle their shoulders and bring their ears up towards the sky. 

Have your child take a deep breath through their nose and then exhale while letting out a ‘haaaa’ sound. Do this breath up to five times. Your child can relax their face muscles while making other silly sounds too. 

Ask your child to make two very loose fists with their hands and, with their mouth wide open, place their hands on their cheeks. From here, they can start moving their hands in small circles while making any silly sound that they desire! 

8. Dandelion Seeds

This exercise helps to teach techniques that can improve the regulation of your child’s breathing and could even help with asthma. It can also help to bring your child’s overall energy level to a more relaxed one. A great time to use this exercise is when they are excited and you want them to focus their attention.

This exercise can be done in any position that your child is comfortable with. You can use different types of breathing for this exercise but you may find that deep breathing can help relieve shortness of breath in excited children. 

Have your child pick an imaginary dandelion flower that has started to wilt. As they blow on the flower, the petals float away. 

Research shows that different emotions are associated with varying forms of breathing. Changing the pace of how we breathe can change how we feel. So, try changing up the pace of your child’s breathing. For example, a faster breath may help increase their energy and could be associated with a fun, active pastime.

Other ideas of blowing breath exercises are extinguishing a birthday candle, spinning a pinwheel, or blowing bubbles (as described in exercise ten).

9. Fly Like A Butterfly

Breathing exercises like this example may help to train emotional awareness. Breathing in with your tongue curled cools the throat and has a refreshing effect.

This exercise utilizes the Sitali breath, inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nose. It is often  used to relax the mind. If your child cannot curl their tongue for this exercise, have them purse their lips instead.

Start with your child in any comfortable position where they can freely move their arms. You can get your child ready for this exercise with a big stretch. Then, with their hands wide open, have your child touch their thumb to the closest finger on their hand. This creates circles for spots on your child’s wings. As they move their outstretched arms up and down, their wings flutter.

As your child takes a breath, have them lift their arms. As they slowly drop their arms, have them exhale. 10 of these breaths would make a good round that could be even more fun with a full-body wiggly stretch.

Next, have your child practice making soft butterfly noises by clicking their tongue. There is no need for any precise sound; this is just to help engage your child. Have them try 10 normal breaths while they are making their butterfly sounds.

Afterwards, try going back to the breaths inhaling through the nose and exhale with the curled tongue. This time focus on encouraging your child to make themselves tall and take deep, chest-filling breaths.

10. Making And Popping Bubbles

Popping bubbles can be an excellent way for a child to collect their emotions after an outburst, tantrum, or being given some bad news. Another good time to try this exercise is just before self-directed playtime.

Alternate nostril breathing is a technique known as Nadi Shodhana. There are many benefits to focusing on your breathing. This particular breathing technique can help to relieve anxiety while allowing a child to have fun and be silly at the same time.

You can start to warm up by pretending to hold a bottle of bubbles and have your child blow them out of a pretend wand.

Explain to your child that they are going to be making imaginary bubbles come out of their noses. Have them take one finger and gently push one side of their nose closed. Then have them inhale a deep breath through their nose. 

As they exhale slowly, they are blowing a blue bubble out of the open side of their nose. As the blue bubble floats away, feel free to let them pop it!. We suggest five more blue bubbles out of this side of their nose. Then switch sides and make six purple bubbles.

Time To Hum Like A Bee

Breathing with your kids can be a great way to get the wiggles out, relax, or just improve their focus. We always have new ideas and projects that you can use to help your child, no matter where you are. 

Ready for the next activity? Starting one at a moment’s notice is easy with an interactive app like Caribu. Whether it’s bedtime, playtime, or family time, Caribu is always there for you and your child with a wealth of games, activities, and books to read that kids are sure to enjoy!


Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress | Harvard Business Review

The Power of Yoga Breathing for Children  | CHOP10 Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief and More | Healthline