Take 5 Breathing

  1. Spread your hand and stretch your fingers out like a star.

  2. Pretend the pointer finger of your other hand is a pencil. Imagine you are going to trace the outline of your outstretched hand.

  3. You will connect movement with breath. As you breathe in, you will trace up from the bottom of your finger to your fingertip. As you breathe out, you will trace back down from your fingertip.

  4. Place your pointer finger at the bottom of your thumb, and breathe in as you slide up. Breathe out as you slide down. Breathe in as you slide up your second finger, and breathe out as you slide down. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fingers and you have taken five slow breaths.

  5. Check in with your body. Repeat on the other hand if needed.

Good Times 

  • When you are managing a strong feeling (nervous, frustrated, angry, etc.)

  • When you need to slow down

Helps to:

  • Settle the mind and body

  • Restore a sense of calmness

  • Slow down

TIP! The outstretched hand can be raised at eye level, placed on the desk/table, or placed on the thigh, depending on student’s level of comfort.


Balanced Breathing Exercise

  1. Sit up comfortably, tall spine, relax your shoulders. Open your palms in your lap. You may sit on the floor or in a chair. 

  2. Keep your left hand opened and close the right. Imagine that you can breathe in through the left side nostril, filling your left side of your body – from your toes to the crown of your head. Try visualizing the breaths as a beautiful white light, as water, or as a color. Choose any visual that is pleasing to you. Breathe into the left side until it feels full. Then, close the left hand and open the right.

  3. Breathe out and imagine the breath coming out the right nostril, emptying your right side body of breath. Imagine your breath coming out from your crown down the right side and out of your fingers. Breathe into your right side now and once full to the crown, close the right hand and open the left. Breathe out the left.

  4. Repeat several times. When you are feeling complete, perhaps after 10 rounds, open both palms and release the breath and visual through both sides. Notice how the experience makes you feel.

Good Times 

  • Body or mind chaotic or disorganized

  • Attention is elsewhere

  • Transitions

Helps to:

  • To balance right and left hemispheres of the brain (bilateral integration)

  • To restore calm

  • To energize

  • To gain attention

  • To draw attention inward

TIP! Read the instructions and talk the kids through with detail for the first 3-5 breaths, then simply say, “open right, inhale right, fill up right. Close right. Open left, exhale left, empty left.” Or simplify the language in your own way.

If possible, choose a quiet, calm environment.


The 5 Breath Space Maker

  1. Put away your materials and say to yourself aloud or in your head, “I am done.” Or “This is complete.”

  2. Take 5 slow, smooth, deep belly breaths.

  3. Notice what feels different. 

  4. Notice something you feel grateful for right now.

  5. Now prepare yourself for the next activity. 

Good Times 

  • Transition from one activities to the next

  • Moving from one space to another

  • Arriving in a new space


  • To help children organize their space and thoughts minds.

  • To recognize a shift from one topic to the next.

TIP! Try doing this activity for the same transition every day for two weeks. After that, challenge students to consider what other times this breathing activity would best serve them.


Bumblebee Breath

For younger children:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position.

  2. Cover your ears gently with your palms.

  3. Buzz or hum in a slow, drawn out, long bzzzz or humm sound.

  4. Repeat 5-10 times.

  5. Notice how you feel.

For older children:

  1. Sit criss cross applesauce.

  2. Rub your hands together, fast.

  3. Reach your arms up high as you breathe in.

  4. Breathe out say “ah.”

  5. Say aloud, “Hide your hands behind your back, now you’re a bumble bee”

  6. Buzz as you bind your hands behind you, moving your torso in circle

  7. Repeat several times until children know what to say and do

TIP! Practice the Bumblebee Breath to calm the nervous system. Vibration is soothing. If holding a baby or infant, practice without holding your ears. The soothing humming will calm them down.


Elevator Breathing

  1. Inhale, as you breathe in, imagine the air goes from the ground floor, your lower belly, to the top floor, above your heart.

  2. Exhale, as you breathe out, imagine the air goes from the top floor, above your heart, to the bottom floor, your lower belly.

TIP! Remember how it feels to be in an elevator. Everyone awkwardly stops breathing and faces away. Be the one to breathe smoothly in any elevator situation. Bring your own presence despite the awkward moments in life!


Belly Breathing

  1. Gently place your hand on your stomach.

  2. Inhale slowly through your nose for 4 seconds.  As you breathe in, pretend you are blowing up a balloon in your belly. Your belly should fill up like a balloon as you inhale. Feel your belly rise against your hand.

  3. Hold your breath for one second.

  4. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds. Pretend that you are emptying all the air out of the balloon, so your belly will deflate. Feel your hand fall as you exhale.

  5. Repeat.

Good Times 

  • When you are managing a strong feeling (nervous, frustrated, angry, etc.)

  • When you need to slow down

Helps to:

  • Settle the mind and body

  • Restore a sense of calmness

  • Slow down