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Relaxation Activities to Do at Home with Kids

School closings, sick friends and family members, isolation at home – these and other factors can cause anxiety and stress for children during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the world’s leading expert on childhood, we’re sharing these drama-based relaxation exercises that are part of our global Healing and Education through the Arts (HEART) program for children living in stressful situations.

Getting Started

  • Find a quiet space away from distractions.
  • If you're trying these exercises with a child or a group of children, make sure your instructions are clear and engaging.
  • You don't have to do them all. Keep an eye on how long the children are engaged and try again another time.

Flower and Candle

This is a simple exercise that encourages deep breathing – a way to relax.

Pretend you have a nice smelling flower in one hand and a slow burning candle in the other.

  • Breathe in slowly through your nose as you smell the flower.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth as you blow out the candle.
  • Repeat a few times.


This exercise releases muscle tension. Pretend you have a lemon in your hand.

  • Reach up to the tree and pick a lemon with each hand.
  • Squeeze the lemons hard to get all the juice out – squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
  • Throw the lemons on the floor and relax your hands.
  • Then repeat, until you have enough juice for a glass of lemonade!
  • After your last squeeze and throw, shake out your hands to relax!

Lazy Cat

This exercise releases muscle tension.

Pretend you are a lazy cat that just woke up from a lovely long nap.

  • Have a big yawn.
  • And a meow.
  • Now stretch out your arms, legs and back – slowly like a cat – and relax. 


This exercise releases muscle tension.

Pretend you are a feather floating through the air for about ten seconds.

  • Suddenly you freeze and transform into a statue. Don’t move!
  • Then slowly relax as you transform back into the floating feather again.
  • Repeat, making sure to finish as a floaty feather in a relaxed state.

Stress Balls

This exercise releases muscle tension and massages your hands.

Make your own stress ball(s) by filling balloons with dry lentils or rice.

  • Take the ball(s) in one or both hands and squeeze and release.
  • Experiment with squeezing the ball. Find a way that is right for you, adjusting the speed, pressure, and timing of your squeezes to whatever way you like.


This exercise releases muscle tension.

Pretend you are a turtle going for a slow, relaxed turtle walk.

  • Oh no, it’s started to rain!
  • Curl up tight under your shell for about ten seconds.
  • The sun’s out again, so come out of your shell and return to your relaxing walk.
  • Repeat a few times, making sure to finish with a walk so that your body is relaxed.
Reference: Savethechildren.org