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Meditation for Kids: Books, Articles and Other Resources

November 10, 2008

I am frequently asked about meditation resources for kids, so here is a compilation of the best resources I have found. First, are books you can read to your kids, and then books you can use to learn how to teach them meditation, as a parent or teacher. Note that these books are all geared for pre-teen children (perhaps I will create a list for teenagers someday.) After the book lists are some articles about research on children’s meditation, as well as meditation programs in schools. Finally, I have included a list of organizations currently teaching meditation in schools and other settings.

Thanks to all of you that suggested books or resources for this post, and if you have any more to contribute, please feel free to add them in the comments!

Books for Kids

Each Breath a SmileEach Breath A Smile, by Sister Susan – Based on the teachings of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and written by a nun in one of his centers, this book introduces children to mindful breathing and awareness, but steers clear of any explicit religious teachings. Great for calming very young children and teaching them the basics of mindfulness.

 

 

Peaceful Piggy MeditationPeaceful Piggy Meditation, by Kerry Lee Maclean  – This fun story featuring a playful piggy family presents meditation as a tool kids can use to help them deal with the difficult everyday situations they most often confront – getting teased by their siblings, falling down at school, or served a dinner they can’t stand. Includes instructions for basic meditations at the end.

 

 

MoodyCowMeditatesMoody Cow Meditates, by Kerry Lee McLean – By the same author as Peaceful Piggy Meditation, this book centers on a young boy cow, aka ‘moody cow’, who has had a very bad day, and ended up VERY angry. His grandfather helps him settle down with a ‘mind-jar’, where the agitated sparkles in the jar represent his angry thoughts. A great book for opening up discussion about difficult emotions, especially anger, and for introducing meditation as a method for dealing with them.

 

RelaxKidsRelax Kids: Aladdin’s Magic Carpet and Other Fairy Tale Meditations for Princesses and Superheroes, by Marneta Viegas – You might have to buy this (or one of the author’s related books) used as last I checked it is out of stock, but it is well worth it if you have elementary through tween aged children you would like to introduce to meditation, with fanciful themes and guided visualizations.

 

Seven SpiralsSeven Spirals: A Chakra Sutra for Kids, Deena Haiber and Aimee MacDonald – If you are a practitioner of chakra meditation, or do yoga and want to introduce your children to the chakras for that reason, this is a great non-religious introduction. For each of the 7 core chakras (within the system Westerners are most familiar with), there is a corresponding story, and they all come together in the end. There is a final reference page that lists the locations of the chakras within this system, and provides an overview of how to meditate on them. The pictures are colorful and fanciful.

Buddha At BedtimeBuddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read With Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten, and Inspire, Dharmachari Nagaraja. This book offers a lovely collection of bedtime stories based on Buddhist Jataka tales, for children ages 4-10. Focused on teaching universal values such as kindness, sharing, forgiveness, and more, this book is great for both Buddhist and non-Buddhist parents and children. The introduction provides an introduction to meditation suitable for parents and children.

 

APebbleForYourPocketA Pebble For Your Pocket, Thich Nhat Hanh. The Venerable Vietnamese Zen monk who has introduced thousands of people to mindfulness practice here shares it with children ages 8 and up or so, with stories from his own childhood, and ways to use mindfulness in every day life.

 

 

Books for Parents and Teachers

SensationalMeditationSensational Meditation for Children: Child-Friendly Meditation Techniques based on The Five Senses, by Sarah Wood Vallely – Blending science, spirituality and practicality, this book covers everything you need to know to introduce children to meditation, and has many fine techniques.

 

Baby BuddhasBaby Buddhas: A Guide for Teaching Meditation to Children, by Lisa Desmond – Geared specifically for teaching toddler and preschool age children how to meditate, this book also includes meditation for parents and instructions on creating a meditation space in a school or home.

 

PlantingSeedsPlanting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children, Thich Nhat Hanh and others. This is currently out of print and the Kindle edition is pending, but it is a wonderful collection of essays, practices and stories about teaching mindfulness to children, and for children, presented by educators and parents. The print edition comes with a CD of guided meditations and songs.

 

Articles

Mindfulness and Meditation in Schools, 1/08, Greater Good Magazine, reprinted here by Sharp Brains – Very comprehensive article on meditation programs in schools and current research related to its benefits.

It’s Cool to be Calm, Los Angeles Times, 9/05 reprinted here by The Buddhist Channel – A briefer overview of some of the trend and research on kids and meditation, including as it is practiced within some LA area schools.

Less Homework, More Yoga: From a Principle that Hates Stress, NY Times, 10/07 – Article on the stress modern students are under, and how one high school is incorporating meditation exercises into its program to address it.

Meditation Sharpens the Mind, Live Science 5/2007 – Brief overview of meditation research with implications for treating ADHD in children.

Still Thinking: The Case for Meditation with Children, Science Direct 2006 – This is an abstract of an article published in the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity. You will need to pay to purchase the full article, which includes a comprehensive listing of meditation research related to kids.

Meditation in Schools

Inner Kids Foundation – An LA-based group that pioneered teaching meditation in schools. Now nationwide, their programs are also part of research projects by UCLA on the benefits of meditation for kids.

Garrison Institute – The Garrison Institute is devoted to research and training related to contemplative practices of all types. Their CARE program includes guidance for teachers on how to incorporate mindfulness activities into the school day.

Impact Foundation – Colorado based organization that designs contemplation training programs of all types, including for teachers.

Lineage Project - This NY-based organization focuses on yoga and meditation for at-risk and incarcerated youth.

If you are interested in learning more about recent meditation research, or meditation techniques for adults, try the Meditation page.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2009 3:34 am

    Thanks for commenting on my site! I have been enjoying reading yours, and this is a great compile.

  2. mommymystic permalink*
    March 13, 2009 5:18 am

    Stacy, thanks for coming by. I have been enjoying reading your blog too, came to it through Mon at Holistic Mama, and initially saw you were linked to Karen Miller’s blog whom i didn’t even know had one (I love Zen Momma). Anyway, glad you like the meditation list, if you have any more books you recommend, please add to comments!

  3. March 30, 2011 7:52 am

    I’m sure that kids will get spiritually strong my meditation books, the blog covers all the area of improvement through meditation books, more related information about meditation books available at Zmeditation – Meditation Center in India.

  4. January 24, 2013 8:41 am

    Hi,

    My partner and I have just launched a website that provides high quality audio recordings of nature – intended for people to use in meditation and relaxation.

    http://www.otherplaces.org

    Please let us know if this would be a useful link into your organisation.

    Peace,
    Pete Gill

  5. April 8, 2013 6:41 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    What a great list. Some of my faves!

    I have written a book that teaches Mindful Awareness to children – through eating. It is called No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully. It is published by Wisdom Publications and is coming out June 2013.

    If you’d like to check out an advanced copy, visit https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/show/id/20146.

    Hope you enjoy.
    Warmly,
    Sara Marlowe
    http://www.mindfulfamilies.ca

  6. April 16, 2013 6:21 pm

    Sara, sounds wonderful, I’ve been meaning to get over to your site and check it out, I will soon and then reply directly. Thanks for sharing!

  7. May 30, 2013 4:13 am

    Reblogged this on Mommy Mystic and commented:

    I have recently added some books to this list, so thought it time to reblog it. It’s wonderful to see how many new resources there are available for introducing children to mindfulness and meditation. Although I should perhaps say that I don’t formally teach my own kids to meditate at all, figuring that modeling is better – they see me meditate, and when they are interested and ask, I respond. We do have all of these books, which they regularly read, so the idea of meditation is part of their worldview. I want them to turn to it naturally when/if they want to.
    Please feel free to share your own suggestions for resources in the comments…

  8. May 30, 2013 12:05 pm

    Reblogged this on The Go Between: Psychics, Mediums and Integrity by Melissa Leath and commented:
    I started writing down the names of these books to use as reference for clients and mentor students. Parents are always looking for great sources to assist their children in meditations and self-empowerment. Then I thought, what better way to always have the list available — I’ll re-blog it, and then you can read it too! So here, Mystic Mommy has updated her list for articles and books, etc. I am sure you will find something for your child…M

  9. fluidrose permalink
    June 1, 2013 8:11 pm

    Thank you so much for compiling this list! Are there any that you would specifically recommend? I have a 7-month old. I will definitely be buying one of the children ones and one of the parent ones.

  10. June 4, 2013 3:46 am

    Hi fluidrose, sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I am actually on retreat with limited web access. The first one, Each Breath A Smile, is skewed the youngest age-wsie in terms of kids, so that’s a great place to start. My own kids favorites are the Peaceful Piggy and Moody Cow ones, but you’ll have to wait a few years on those. For the adult ones, I would read the book descriptions online to get more info and see which ones resonates the most for you. Good luck!

  11. June 8, 2013 2:33 am

    Thank you so much for this! I recently picked up Thich Nhat Hanh’s Pebble book for my 4 year-old nephew and his moms as a way in, and i found i love doing the meditations he suggests in it, too! I’m so happy to have this resource for my nephew and niece as they grow up.

Trackbacks

  1. Mindfulness… Meditation… how does a child learn these skills/practice? | I think... random ramblings about educational technology from a PhD student
  2. Meditation for Kids: Books, Articles and Other Resources – Beyond Meds

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