There is a growing trend in meditation 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 they 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 children to breathe. It’s Mattel’s new mindfulness toy.
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 app Calm. Other manufacturers entering the space include Max Mindpower, which sells apps and mindfulness toys for children and teens.
And even though I personally believe that the Meditating Barbie is a cheap cash-in with little real benefit for children, there certainly is potential for so-called mindful toys to help children learn to meditate and to protect their mental health.
This trend in meditation and mindfulness toys has seen the release of everything from meditation video games to stuffed teddies that tell children 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 the practice. 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.
The practice existed for thousands of years, and there has long been numerous different methods of practising—some of the different exercises including drawing, journaling, writing and even playing in school breaks. Today, teachers are beginning teach mindfulness in school. That’s how far the movement has come.
But my question remains: Do mindfulness toys and meditation 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 children. But at the same time, children do identify with action figures and the like, and the right product certainly could help children to be more aware.
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 children to breathe. There is shockingly little content of any real value to it.
Other manufacturers, however, have taken things in a positive direction.
The key to a successful meditation 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 exercises.
Let’s take a look at my pick of the best meditation and mindfulness toys.
The Best Meditation & Mindfulness Toys For Kids
As well as these mindfulness toys, kids can also try these mindful activities.
The Mindfulness Game
This 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 the little ones. And it is suitable for home and school.
What makes this such a great children’s product is that it encourages them to recognise their feelings and to discuss them.
Like the manufacturer says, “Learning 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.”
Mind Your Bees Wax
This is a cute little product for children aged three to eight. It’s designed to help parents and teachers to teach kids either at home or in school. It has lots of group activities like mindful listening, cooperation, manners, and communication activities. It’s simple and fun.
Zen Artist Board
I’m not sure whether this is technically a meditation toy, but it definitely is fun and does encourage children to be more present-moment-minded. It’s basically a relaxing drawing board that kids can draw on. Use it to get children to draw what’s going on in their minds and to express their emotions, this will make them more aware.
Much more to come!
The trend in meditation and mindfulness toys is only going to grow. It’s a demand of our fast-paced society. Kids need ways to unwind.
Because of the need for relaxation, we are going to see a steady rise is the amount of 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 product that genuinely encourages awareness, there are ten more that aren’t helpful at all and are simply cash-ins on the current trend of wellness.