Mindfulness in 4-H

How to integrate mindfulness into your 4-H program

4-H boys and girls sitting on bench with arms around each other

Mindfulness practices have many benefits for children and youth. Being mindful can reduce stress and anxiety, help them feel more connected to others and express compassion and gratitude to others, while  improving concentration and focus. Incorporating mindfulness practices into 4-H programs can benefit all youth. Check out the ideas below.

Start a mindfulness project

Several curricula exist for mindfulness projects and were developed with 4-H in mind! Mindful Me is written for youth ages 5-8 and Mindful Mechanics is written for teens. Both cover topics such as mindful eating, emotional awareness and understanding, stress management and developing a sense of self. Mindful Mechanics aligns with the Mindful Me curriculum, and is designed to be part of a “Teens as Teachers” model; teens first go through the Mindful Mechanics curriculum to learn about mindful practices themselves, and then lead Mindful Me to younger children.

Watch this video for a training on delivering Mindful Me and Mindful Mechanics! And, videos of 4-H staff reading the books from Mindful Me are available to supplement your virtual programming.

This project sheet, designed by 4-H academics in California, gives ideas for participating in mindful activities. It includes activities at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. It also has suggestions for connecting mindfulness to healthy living, science, citizenship and leadership.

Host a mindfulness retreat

Hold a retreat for youth and adults to learn to mindfulness and how to incorporate it into their daily lives. Have them participate in mindful activities and think about how they can bring mindfulness back into their 4-H community. Watch this video for information on hosting a retreat!

Bring mindfulness to camp

Many mindful activities can be done at camp! Hold a daily yoga session, create art activities that incorporate nature or give youth some time for solo reflection and journaling. Activities from the Mindful Me curriculum can also be used at camp, such as “The Listening Walk” activity that has youth use their senses while learning to be mindful on an obstacle course-style walk.

Check out more information about mindfulness, incorporating mindfulness in 4-H and other resources here: https://tinyurl.com/UCANRmind

Find other mindfulness curricula here: https://extension.unh.edu/resource/social-emotional-and-mindful-learning-curriculum 

Check out other mindfulness resources here: https://extension.unh.edu/resource/mindfulness-education-resources

Pile of rocks next to water with ripples for mindfulness

 



Author(s)

Kendra Lewis
Youth & Family Resiliency State Specialist
Assoc State Spec Professor
Phone: (603) 862-2495
Office: Cooperative Extension, Pettee Hall Rm GO5C, Durham, NH 03824