From M is for Mindful, written by Robin L. Flanigan and illustrated by
Heather S. Jones. Used with permission.


Participants will be able to:

  • practice breathing mindfully
  • write about whatever comes to mind following the breathing exercise
  • draw breath circles, which can become a page filled with artful circles
  • write about their breath circles

Target Audience

Children, ages 7-18, as well as adults!

Supplies Needed

  • Pen/pencil
  • Writing paper or journal
  • Optional: Markers, colored pencils or paints if participants choose to create artistic circles

Breathe Lesson

  • To start, breathe in slowly through your nose.
  • Pause your breath for 3 seconds
  • Then breathe out…slowly…through your mouth.
  • Repeat 3 times

Pretty simple, for sure. But how often do we take the time to really breathe deeply?

Our breath is our power. It sustains us, calms us, reminds us to slow down.

When faced with a task that may make us feel anxious, if we take the time to consciously breathe…in and out…in and out…in and out…we can realize that we have the power within ourselves to face what’s in front of us, head on. Maybe it’s a presentation, a test, a dreaded chore, a difficult conversation. Maybe it’s the excitement of creating something new: a drawing, painting, or poem. Breathing mindfully can help us ease into whatever stands before us — both good and bad.

For this lesson, I encourage you to do the breathing exercise above and really think about your breath. Then, write about it! Simple as that! Just put pen/pencil to paper and write about anything that came to mind while you were mindfully breathing.

For me, mindfully breathing leads to appreciation. I consider how my breath leads me to welcome each season:

In spring, I walk outside and take a deep, slow breath. I smell new growth, flowers, fresh air. I smell brightness in the breeze. I breathe in hope and possibility.

Summertime brings the fragrance of warm sunshine. Sitting at water’s edge, I breathe in and smell the muskiness of the pond, the fresh water of the lake or the salty breeze of the ocean. I breathe in playfulness and joy.

When autumn arrives, the smells of wood fires and fallen leaves fill my senses. In a breath, I am transported back to home. I breathe in peace and comfort.

Wintertime brings with it a crispness to my breath, a cleansing of the year behind me. Each breath delivers the anticipation of a new year with new adventures. I breathe in new adventures to come.

In addition to writing about our breathing, we can actually draw our breaths!

Draw a circle. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You can start anywhere you’d like, but draw it slowly.

  • Use whatever you’d like to draw or paint or circle.
  • Start anywhere, and as you start to draw, breathe in slowly until you’ve created half of your circle.
  • Pause for 3 seconds.
  • As you breathe out slowly, complete the other half of your circle.
  • You can fill your whole paper with breath circles, mindfully creating each one.
  • Just remember to breathe in slowly for half the circle, pause, and then breathe out slowly for the other half of your circle.

Did you notice that as you create a circle, you’re creating a whole out of two equal parts of breathing in and breathing out?

Try to do this activity slowly and mindfully, as you create a page filled with whole circles of breath. Consider how you feel once you’re finished. Maybe you’d like to write about it!


“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

Oprah Winfrey

“Breathe in the sweet air of limitless possibility, and make life as rich as you know it can be.”

Ralph Marston

“Oh, I’m a lucky man – to count on both hands – the ones I love. Some folks just have one – yeah, others they got none. Stay with me – let’s just breathe.”

Eddie Vedder, “Just Breathe”

“Breathe, breathe in the air. Don’t be afraid to care.”

Pink Floyd, “Breathe”

End Notes

This lesson, Breathe, follows along with the book M is for Mindful, by Robin L. Flanigan. You can see my video Read Aloud with Barbara of this wonderful book here.

Thank you to our friends at Mindful kids Thrive, for sharing their book and giving us permission to create lessons around this beautiful collection of writing and art.

If you’d like to learn more about Mindful kids Thrive, visit their website at