In recent years, mental wellbeing has become a global topic of discussion, but often children’s mental health specifically continues to be overlooked. If a child's mental and emotional wellbeing is dismissed or neglected, it can have serious repercussions in their cognitive development, as it may be difficult for them to understand and process normal negative feelings. Without the right tools, children may struggle to find effective ways to manage their mental wellbeing. These don’t have to be complicated or mentally draining, but instead fun, lighthearted activities that you can do as a family on a daily basis, to maintain your child’s wellbeing!
Here are our best fun creative activities to improve and maintain your child’s wellbeing:
Journalling is a great first step into your child’s wellbeing journey. When done correctly, it can greatly improve emotional development, self-esteem, confidence, communication skills and much more!
As your child learns to express themselves in written form, they’re leaving their thoughts, worries, and feelings on the paper, which helps them to process their emotions in a more effective way. It is also a great tool to practise self-expression and reflection.
Not only is journalling a wonderful creative outlet for children to learn how to articulate their feelings, but it’s also an awesome way to get your child to build their fine motor skills and improve their handwriting.
Don’t underestimate the power of nature! Getting fresh air and appreciating nature can be very relaxing, and it’s a great way to practice mindfulness. The stress of everyday life can take a toll on everyone, and it’s often easy to forget that even children feel stressed - yes, even preschoolers!
Spending time outdoors is a natural stress-reducer, and it can take as little or as long as you wish! On a daily basis, it may be a good idea to go for a walk in your local park, but if you’re looking for a more exciting idea, why not arrange a camping trip with other family members?
We hear it all the time! Staying active and keeping fit is crucial for our mental and physical wellbeing, and this suggestion doesn’t only apply to adults! Physical activity is a great way for young children to build upon existing gross motor skills, and also a proven way to improve mental health.
This wellbeing activity has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it can really help kids build self-esteem, confidence, and self-assurance. Practising words of affirmation can truly transform your child’s emotional wellbeing, as it provides useful reminders of who they are and aspire to be. Words of affirmation can include:
Set up an arts and crafts session or register for a local family art class! Children often love to get creative using different materials, so encouraging them to express themselves through art is a wonderful way to check in with how they’re feeling. Whether they love painting, coloring, or sculpting, we’re sure this creative activity will be a huge hit! Some craft ideas include:
Healthy eating is crucial for our wellbeing, and although it can be considered unappetizing, healthy food doesn’t have to be boring!
A healthy diet often directly contributes to a healthy mind, so turn healthy eating into a fun activity for the whole family! Get your child to play an active role in meal planning, from writing the grocery shopping list, to picking out the ingredients at the store, to actively preparing the meal - bonus points for original recipes!
Mood trackers are a wonderful mental health tool, especially if your child is just starting their wellbeing journey! They can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be, but we recommend starting out with 3-5 emotion options, and steadily progressing to more detailed trackers. You can download your free mood tracker here.
Yoga is a great form of exercise, as it encourages movement, stretching, relaxation and mindfulness. Many yoga poses are based on animals, and we find that this gets young children excited to try this low impact physical activity. Some yoga poses to try include:
Reading can improve your child’s creativity, encourage the use of their imagination and improve their mental wellbeing. This fun activity offers your child a chance to escape, and sometimes a break from real life is exactly what they need!
Be sure to transform this activity into a daily ritual, whether you choose to read during breakfast, or before bedtime.
While we don’t want to confuse this with “toxic positivity”, it’s important to cultivate a positive mindset in your child from a very young age. Usually, when we apply a positive perspective to even the most negative of situations, we’re often not as unmotivated or emotionally affected by them (reminder: it’s very important to let your child know that negative feelings are completely normal and valid).
Something as small as encouraging your child to compliment others, share their toys with other children at school, or take an interest in how others feel will likely increase their emotional awareness and therefore help them to better understand and distinguish between different feelings.
Being kind to others doesn’t just benefit the people we help, but it can do wonders for our own wellbeing! Instil kindness in your child and you’ll see a positive impact on their social skills, emotional development, and mental health.
When our environment is cluttered and unorganized, it can often impact how we feel mentally. Therefore, it’s important to encourage your child to look after their personal space, such as where they choose to study and play, as their surroundings will most definitely influence their mental health!
Taking care of your child’s mental health can be simultaneously educational. Here’s a fun, learning activity that encourages emotional development and is great for improving motor skills: write a letter!
Letter writing can be a very effective way to get your child to openly talk about their feelings, hence working on self-expression and communication skills, while also being a highly valued physical activity academically.
It’s no secret that animals can greatly improve our mental health and general wellbeing, so why not visit your local zoo or an animal shelter? There are usually interactive activities for children that are fun, different and educational!
Visiting a local library or a museum is a great way to learn something new and embark on a wonderful educational adventure! It’s also a great, fun activity to do as the colder months approach, as you get to leave your home environment and experience a new atmosphere that is also indoors!
Discussing feelings openly and unashamedly will aid your child’s emotional development, as they’ll learn to, and become increasingly comfortable with demonstrating how they feel, as well as learn to actively listen and empathize/sympathize with others.
Show them that you also go through the same emotional experiences and offer guidance on how you overcome them!
Usually, families get together for dinner at the end of their long days at work and school. This is the perfect time to encourage all family members to talk about their day! Share news, exciting events, and not-so-great things that happened and reflect on these as a family. In turn, you’’ be encouraging your child to build communication and listening skills, emotional intelligence, while also offering support and reassurance as needed.
Planting a flower, vegetable or fruit can be as arduous as caring for a pet, so this is a tough one!
By tasking your child to look after a plant, you’ll be instilling a sense of responsibility and independence. You’ll also be teaching them how to be patient, compassionate and caring! These are all great qualities that will for sure have an impact on your child’s mental health.
Trying out a new activity, whether that’s at school, at an after-school club or at home, provides an awesome opportunity to find a new passion. Motivation, determination and doing something we enjoy are great ways to look after our mental wellbeing!
Finding an extracurricular activity they enjoy can be an overwhelming task, but whether that’s a sport, playing an instrument or joining the school’s drama club can bring many benefits to your child’s mental health. This can be a wonderful way to make new friends who have similar interests, a way for your child to express themselves artistically, or even a productive way to overcome negative feelings!
Unfortunately, a lot of the stress felt by children is induced by schoolwork and the school environment in general. Whether they feel nervous and anxious about an upcoming test, or are not the biggest fan of a particular subject, it’s always a good idea to look into effective coping mechanisms to help them get through these obstacles.
Luckily, there is now a huge variety of fun learning activities available online! From free worksheets to complete reading and writing programs, the possibilities for play-based learning are endless!
From several years of experience as educators, we’ve found that children respond best to content they enjoy, and we’ve seen first hand how fun and engaging content can have a wonderfully positive impact on children’s mental health (as well as on their academic performance).
If you’re interested in learning more about our reading and writing program, please visit our home page or social media channels (linked below).
We hope these tips have offered you some realistic suggestions to nurture and support your child’s mental wellbeing. As always, we’d love to hear your suggestions and/or methods you’ve used to look after your child’s mental health - please share them with us via email at [email protected] or via our social media channels: