Mindfulness Activity: "Teddy Bear Belly Breathing" Helps Children Focus and Relax

belly breathing: "MAGNIFICENT IN ITS SIMPLICITY." ~ Greg Graber

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

We love this activity that Greg Graber, Head of Middle School at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis provided to us about "Teddy Bear Belly Breathing."

"A mindfulness program does not have to be anything elaborate or complex. In fact, I have seen some of the most simple ones net the best results. For instance, one time visiting a kindergarten, the teacher had the students lie on their backs. She then had them place stuffed teddy bears on their stomachs and encouraged them to watch their “breathing buddies” go up and down every time they breathed. It was magnificent in its simplicity and in its effectiveness in getting the little kids to focus on their breathing. It calmed them down and put them into a relaxed state in no time." ~ Greg Graber, Lausanne Collegiate School, Memphis

You can try Teddy Bear Belly Breathing at home too! Just remember the simple steps:

  1. Have your child lie down on their back

  2. Place the Teddy Bear on their belly

  3. Try breathing in for a few seconds, then breathing out for a few seconds

  4. Encourage them to watch their “breathing buddy” go up and down with every breath

sesame street belly breathe

Another belly breathing exercise to try at home is explained in this video by Sesame Street with Elmo, Common and Colbie Caillat. It’s about how to “let your inner monster out” and “Belly Breathe!”

restorative yoga pose

Belly breathing of course isn’t just for kids! As Jen explains, we can do this incredibly helpful restorative pose too and it only takes a few minutes.


This restorative pose is really nice the morning time. Just do one or two minutes in it before the day begins. It can really help calm your nervous system and reduce any feelings of anxiety and stress about the day ahead. Try this with your little ones too and see how it affects them with a calm start to the day!” ~ Jen Armstrong

Jen Armstrong, Here For You For Them Co-Founder: Brighton Beach, UK

Jen Armstrong, Here For You For Them Co-Founder: Brighton Beach, UK

For more on "Teddy Bear Belly Breathing," we also like this article from Blissful Kids: "Mindfulness For Kids – Teddy Bear Belly Breathing aka Breathing Buddies"

Thank you to Greg and Lausanne for sharing this activity with us! You can read more about mindfulness from Greg's book, "Slow Your Roll," found on Amazon. You can also ready more on Lausanne’s Culture of Mindfulness below.