Relaxation Activities to Do at Home with Kids

Extreme weather events, like the devasating floods in eastern Kentucky, sick friends and family members, isolation at home – these and other factors can cause anxiety and stress for children. As the world’s leading expert on childhood, we’re sharing these relaxation techniques for kids that are part of our global Healing and Education through the Arts (HEART) program for children living in stressful situations.

How to Get Started with Relaxation Techniques for Kids

  • Find a quiet space away from distractions.
  • If you're trying these relaxation exercises with a child or a group of children, make sure your instructions are clear and engaging.
  • Remember: you don't have to do them all. Keep an eye on how long the children are engaged and try again another time.

Join your child in trying the Lazy Cat, the Turtle, the Lemon or all of these relaxation activities!  Download a PDF version of these relaxation exercises here

Flower and candle graphic

1. Flower and Candle

This is a simple relaxation technique that encourages deep breathing.

Pretend you have a nice smelling flower in one hand and a slow burning candle in the other.

  • Breathe in slowly through your nose as you smell the flower.
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth as you blow out the candle.
  • Repeat a few times.
Two lemons graphic

2. Lemon

This relaxation exercise releases muscle tension. Pretend you have a lemon in your hand.

  • Reach up to the tree and pick a lemon with each hand.
  • Squeeze the lemons hard to get all the juice out – squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
  • Throw the lemons on the floor and relax your hands.
  • Then repeat, until you have enough juice for a glass of lemonade!
  • After your last squeeze and throw, shake out your hands to relax!
Cat stretching graphic

3. Lazy Cat

This exercise releases muscle tension.

Pretend you are a lazy cat that just woke up from a lovely long nap.

  • Have a big yawn.
  • And a meow.
  • Now stretch out your arms, legs and back – slowly like a cat – and relax. 
Feather and statue graphic

4. Feather/Statue

This exercise releases muscle tension.

Pretend you are a feather floating through the air for about ten seconds.

  • Suddenly you freeze and transform into a statue. Don’t move!
  • Then slowly relax as you transform back into the floating feather again.
  • Repeat, making sure to finish as a floaty feather in a relaxed state.
Stress ball graphic

5. Stress Balls

This exercise releases muscle tension and massages your hands.

Make your own stress ball(s) by filling balloons with dry lentils or rice.

  • Take the ball(s) in one or both hands and squeeze and release.
  • Experiment with squeezing the ball. Find a way that is right for you, adjusting the speed, pressure, and timing of your squeezes to whatever way you like.
Child and turtle activity graphic

6. Turtle

This exercise releases muscle tension.

Pretend you are a turtle going for a slow, relaxed turtle walk.

  • Oh no, it’s started to rain!
  • Curl up tight under your shell for about ten seconds.
  • The sun’s out again, so come out of your shell and return to your relaxing walk.
  • Repeat a few times, making sure to finish with a walk so that your body is relaxed.

As the global leader in child-focused humanitarian response, Save the Children works in over 100 countries, including the U.S., reaching over 100 million children each year. In the last decade, our innovative literacy program, proven to significantly boost children’s reading skills, has helped tens of millions of the world’s most vulnerable children. In 2020, we proudly launched Coronavirus and Kids: Resources from Save the Children to support parents, caregivers, teachers, school administrators and those who care about children in response.

Other Resources for Children


Thank you for signing up! Now, you’ll be among the first to know how Save the Children is responding to the most urgent needs of children, every day and in times of crisis—and how your support can make a difference. You may opt-out at any time by clicking "unsubscribe" at the bottom of any email.

By providing my mobile phone number, I agree to receive recurring text messages from Save the Children (48188) and phone calls with opportunities to donate and ways to engage in our mission to support children around the world. Text STOP to opt-out, HELP for info. Message & data rates may apply. View our Privacy Policy at