There is a growing trend in wellness and mindfulness toys aimed at kids. But do these so called “mindfulness toys” really help your kids to be more mindful? Or are they just a commercial cash-in?
Toys have advanced a lot in the past decade. When I was a young lad it was all about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys and wrestling action figures. It was about pretending to be a superhero. But toys have evolved. And now, as I write this on February 28th 2020, it’s clear that toys are no longer just about fun. They are about teaching kids important lessons, such as how to be mindful.
As caring parents, you know that kids need to be protected from stress and from the pressure of bullying both online and in real life. Back in 2018, Simon Stevens [Chief Executive, NHS England] said that social media is causing an alarming surge in mental health problems among children. It affects kids of all ages, even those in primary school. Social media can make kids feel vulnerable, pressured and alone. This, among other problems, has led to the rise in products designed to help children be mentally healthy.
One of the biggest trends in kids’ health in 2020 is mindfulness [READ: Getting Started With Mindfulness].
Manufacturers are now targeting kids’ health as the hottest topic of 2020. I wrote a little while back about Mattel and Headspace’s new Mindful Barbie doll. It’s basically a Barbie that tells your kids to breathe. It’s Mattel’s take on the mindfulness movement that is sweeping the nation.
It’s not just Barbie, either. In 2018, Moshi Monsters made a move into the same space when they released content on the highly popular mindfulness app Calm. Other manufacturers entering the space include Max Mindpower, which sells apps and toys that are designed to help kids learn mindfulness.
And even though I personally believe that the Meditating Barbie is a cheap cash-in with little real benefit for kids, there certainly is potential for so-called mindful toys to help children learn to meditate and to protect their mental health.
This trend in mindful toys has seen the release of everything from meditation video games to stuffed teddies that tell kids to breathe.
The core ideas that unites mindfulness toys for kids is that they teach children to take a moment, to stop, and simply to breathe. This is the core of mindfulness. It’s a practice in which we simply focus on the mind as a way to quiet ourselves inside, a sort of defensive maneuver against the constant barrage of information that assaults us all day.
Mindfulness has existed for thousands of years and there has long been numerous mindfulness practices. Some of the different mindfulness exercises including mindful drawing, journaling, writing and even mindful playing in school breaks. Today, teachers are beginning go teach mindfulness in school. That’s how far the movement has come.
But my question remains: Do mindfulness toys legitimately help kids to be mindful, or are they just a cash-in? And the truth is both. I have no qualms about saying that Mattel’s Mindful Barbie is a definite cash-in that offers woefully little to genuinely help kids. But at the same time, kids do identify with toys, and the right toy certainly could help kids to be mindful.
The problem I had with Breathe With Me Barbie is that it is essentially the same—old Barbie adapted to the current trend of wellness. The only thing it does it tells kids to breath. There is shockingly little content of any real value to it.
Other mindfulness toy manufacturers, however, have taken things in a positive direction.
The key to a successful mindfulness toy for kids, in my opinion, is to get kids to recognise their feelings and to discuss them, with parents and teachers, and to encourage them to try various mindfulness and meditation exercises.
One of the mindfulness toys I personally recommend is The Mindfulness Game.
One of the best mindfulness toys is The Mindfulness Game
The Mindfulness Game is a card game full of yoga and meditation exercises, and questions that get kids to open up and discuss their feelings. It’s a fun way to teach kids mindfulness. And it is suitable for home and school.
What makes this such a good mindfulness toy for kids is that it encourages them to recognise their feelings and to discuss them. It encourages mindfulness in a fun way.
Like the manufacturer says, “Learning mindfulness should not be boring or feel like therapy. That’s why we made this game extra fun, with the help of psychologists, teachers and other children.”
That, for me, is the key to a good mindfulness toy: It’s educational, it encourages mindfulness, and at the same time, it’s fun.
Prepare for the tidal wave of wellness toys
The trend in mindfulness and wellness is only going to grow. It’s a demand of our fast-paced society. We need ways to unwind. That’s true for both adults and kids.
Because of the need for mindfulness, we are going to see a steady rise is the amount of mindfulness products for kids. And it is important for adults to know what genuinely helps kids and what is an unashamed commercial cash-in.
That’s where THE DAILY MEDITATION comes in.
Here on THE DAILY MEDITATION we will be sharing all the news and tips you need to help your kids to be mindful. You can subscribe to our newsletter for our latest articles.
Just remember that for every toy that genuinely encourages mindfulness, there are ten more that aren’t helpful at all and are simply cash-ins on the current trend of wellness.