Montessori-Inspired Mental Health Activities for Children

As parents and teachers, children’s lives seem easy and stress-free. Yet, children can also struggle with mental health and wellness. They might feel stressed about school, worried about changes in their families, or feel overstimulated by the many activities in their days. 

The Montessori method offers many mental health activities for children as a part of the regular curriculum. Parents can easily adapt some of these activities to improve their children’s mental health at home. 

5 Montessori Mental Health Activities for Children

The Montessori method includes many activities that are beneficial to children’s mental health. Take a look at these Montessori activities that you can bring into your home:

1. The Peace Corner

Taking a moment for mindfulness and quietness can help both adults and children relax and refocus. In many Montessori classrooms, teachers create a “peace corner.” This area serves several purposes. Children can take a moment to be quiet and meditate in the peace corner. When children are upset, they can take a moment to feel their emotions in the peace corner. Or, if a child is feeling overwhelmed by too much activity, they can take a moment to regroup.

What is a peace corner? It is a small, safe space where a child can focus on their mental health and wellness. A peace corner may include some pillows or a bean bag chair, a beautiful, calm painting, and a vase with a flower. Plus, you can include a battery-powered candle. Children may also enjoy a sensory jar, a mini rock garden, or a Zen garden. These objects can help children meditate quietly and calm their emotions.

You can also include emotion cards in the peace corner. These cards show the faces of children expressing different emotions. Show your child how to look through the images and find a face that matches how they’re feeling. This can help your child identify their emotions, which is an important part of mental health and wellness.

Create the peace corner with your child. Then, talk them through some times they might want to spend some time in the peace corner. Then, invite your child to use the peace corner whenever they’d like. Every once in a while, you can switch out parts of the peace corner and add new elements. That will keep the space interesting and relevant for your child.

2. The Silence Game

Also known as “the quiet game,” this game can help your child re-center and relax. To play, sit on the floor cross-legged together. Then, light a candle and ring a bell. Sit as silently as possible. After a short period, you can take turns whispering what you hear. For example, you might hear the clock ticking, a bird singing outside, etc. Finally, tell your child that you’re going to stand in the doorway. Ask your child to continue being silent. Tiptoe to the doorway. Watch your child and call them to join you in a whisper. You can end the silence game with a hug if you’d like. Then, blow out the candle together.

3. How to Ask a Friend to Play

Social anxiety is a common mental health concern for children. This mental health activity for children helps children approach socializing with confidence. 

In the Montessori curriculum, there is a section of lessons called “Grace and Courtesy.” These lessons teach children social skills. For example, some lessons include “How to introduce yourself,” or “How to shake hands.”

These lessons include role-playing. Practice the skill you’d like to practice with your child such as, “How to ask a friend to play,” or “How to ask another child to join your group.” You can use stuffed animals or other family members to help you complete the role-play. This can help your child build confidence and improve their ability to socialize. 

4. Gardening

Spending time outdoors in nature is beneficial for everyone’s mental health. Gardening is one option that children truly enjoy. If the weather is too cold, you can create an indoor herb garden with your child. Or, invite your child to help you pot and care for potted plants.

Gardening outdoors is a wonderful experience. Consider allowing your child to help pick out seeds and plants to add to your garden. Then, work together to plant and care for the garden. Spend some time working on your garden each week. 

Gardening in itself can boost your child’s mental health. Furthermore, it can help improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem. They’ll feel so proud when they can pick vegetables or fill a vase with flowers they’ve grown themselves. 

If you’d like to expand your gardening activity, you can also monitor plant growth by measuring them with rulers. Plus, your child can take time to draw the changes they see in the garden. You might also consider labeling the plants. All of these activities can help your child learn while connecting with you in a positive way. 

5. Journaling 

Offer your child a blank journal with blank pages. Then, invite your child to draw or write about their feelings. You might even consider adding your child’s journal to the peace corner. Be sure to also offer your child crayons, pens, pencils, and other supplies so that they can express themselves fully. 

Through journaling, your child can show their feelings in a safe, private space. Journaling offers children a chance to process their experiences. Then, if your child chooses to, they can share their journaling with you. 

If your child isn’t sure what to journal about, you can provide a prompt. Some great prompts to try include:

  • Rose and thorn. Invite your child to draw or write about the best and worst parts of their day.
  • Invite your child to journal about a certain emotion. For example, when were they the happiest? What did that look and feel like?
  • Ask your child to imagine they’re a character in a book. Invite them to journal about that character and how they felt throughout the book.
  • Write or draw three things you love about yourself.
  • Write or draw something kind you could do for someone else.

How the Montessori Method Supports Mental Health and Wellness

Beyond these mental health activities for children, the Montessori method supports children’s mental health in general. How? It’s deeply ingrained in the philosophy.

According to Montessori, teachers and parents should treat children with utmost respect. Montessori believed that children should be respected and taught with love. She believed children have the right to make their own choices and that they shouldn’t be forced into anything. This promotes a healthy relationship between children and their caregivers.

The Montessori method also promotes independence. Children are allowed to pick their own activities. Plus, in the early years, children learn many important skills that help them gain independence. From learning to make their own snacks to dressing themselves, Montessori activities help children learn important skills. These new skills foster healthy self-esteem

When to Seek Professional Help for Children’s Mental Health

It’s normal for children to experience the highs and lows in life. Just like adults, children can be moody, sad, happy, excited, and frustrated all in the same day. Some changes in life such as moving to a new home or a divorce can affect a child’s mental health in bigger ways. Also, children can experience social anxiety or other forms of anxiety. 

So, how do you know when to seek professional help? 

As a parent or caregiver, you know your child best. So, if you feel something is wrong, it’s best to speak with your child’s pediatrician. Some other signs your child may need more support include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Frequent complaints of an upset stomach
  • Withdrawing from or refusing activities they usually enjoy
  • Fear and/or anxiety that interfere with their daily life or last longer than usual
  • Very strong expressions of anger. Although it’s normal for toddlers to have a temper tantrum, anger that seems excessive or very frequent may be a cause for concern.

Incorporating Mental Health Activities for Children in Your Routines

Bringing the above mental health activities for children into your home takes time. Try with one activity and work up to adding more. Also, take time to talk about your child’s day and their feelings over dinner or before bed. By showing your child that you care about their feelings, you can encourage them to share more with you.

Another helpful tip is to model practicing mental health for yourself. For example, take time to journal or go for a walk outside. You can also share your own feelings when appropriate. Through your modeling, your child will learn how to manage their own emotions and mental health in appropriate ways. 

Mental health is a lifelong journey. By starting to work on it with your child, they can learn important skills to support them as they grow. 
At Montessori Learning Centre in Calgary, we support each student’s mental health and needs with individualized care. Get in touch to learn more about our daycare center! 

Similar Posts