70 Activities in Mindfulness, Brain-Friendly Movement, and Social-Emotional Learning
Breathe—Move—Learn With Young Children
Early Childhood
Get every young child ready to learn—and support their social-emotional development—with these 70 fun, quick, and effective activities! Teachers of early childhood through Grade 3 will love this unique combination of SEL, mindfulness, and brain-friendly physical activity that promotes growth, development, and behavior management.
Contains Companion Materials
57594 978-1-68125-759-4
2024 168
Available Stock

Get every young child ready to learn—and support their social-emotional development—with these 70 fun, quick, and effective activities! Teachers of early childhood through Grade 3 will love this unique combination of SEL, mindfulness, and brain-friendly physical activity that promotes growth, development, and behavior management.

Designed to increase focus and nurture the essential skills every kid needs for social and academic success, the activities in this teacher-friendly book are a perfect complement to all of today’s popular curricula. They’re field-tested, easy to implement in as little as 15 minutes a day, and great for use in person or in the virtual classroom. When used throughout the school day, the Breathe—Move—Learn activities work fast—helping kids wake up, calm down, focus, or soothe anxious feelings. Easy-to-follow scripts, illustrations, and photos allow teachers to lead the activities without extensive prep work. 

A must-have for all teachers from early childhood to elementary school, Breathe—Move—Learn activities will help kids develop the mental, physical, emotional and social skills to support a lifetime of learning.

Early childhood and elementary educators will:

  • Encourage mindfulness with breathing and sensory exercises that help kids calm down and get focused
  • Set the stage for learning with structured movements that support the brain’s function and resiliency
  • Strengthen social-emotional learning (SEL) with activities that support the CASEL Core Competencies
  • Build self-esteem and enthusiasm with short, uplifting messages to use each day
  • Reduce behavior challenges and make everyday classroom management easier
  • Promote academic achievement—field testing showed correlation with test score improvement

ACTIVITIES HELP PROMOTE: Focus and Concentration • Self-Management • Physical Fitness • Self-Awareness • Mental and Emotional Well-Being • Social Awareness • Emotional Self-Regulation • Relationship Skills • Responsible Decision-Making • Problem-Solving • Reduced Test Anxiety • Positive Attitude • Growth Mindset • Increased Self-Esteem • Reduced Bullying

Watch author Marcia Lee Unnever introduce her new book

About the Download

About the Author



How and Why It Works

The Power of Breathe/Respira

The Power of Move/Muevete

The Power of Learn/Aprende

The Active Brain

How to Use in Your Classroom



Kids Focus Breathing and Sensory Exercises

Before You Begin: Check Inside/Revisa el Interior

#1 Balloon Belly Breathing/Respiración del Vientre con Globo

#2 Breathe in the Flower - Blow Out the Candle/Huele la Flor – Sopla la Vela

#3 Breathe Like a Sleeping Bear/Respira Como Un Oso Dormido

#4 Breathe through the O/Respira a Través de la O

#5 Buzz Like a Bee/Hiss Like a Snake/Zumba Como Una Abeja/Sisea Como Una Serpiente

#6 Count to 5/Cuenta Hasta Cinco

#7 Scoop the Air and Push Up/Recoge el Aire y Empuja Hacia Arriba

#8 Slider/El Deslizador

#9 Trace Your Fingers/Traza tus Dedos

#10 Hearing – Listen to My Bicycle Horn/Escuchando – Escucha la Bocina de mi Bicicleta

#11 Seeing – Find Something Green/Vidente - Encuentra Algo Verde

#12 Smelling – Smell the Flower or the Orange/Oliendo - Huele la Flor o la Naranja

#13 Tasting – Taste Your Favorite Ice Cream/Probando – Prueba tu Helado Favorito

#14 Touching – Use your Hands/Tocando – Usa Tus Manos

#15 Countdown – All 5 Senses/Cuenta Regresiva – Los Cinco Sentidos

#16 Rest Your Eyes/Descansa tus Ojos



Kids Focus Brain-based Movements

A. Pick a Tap and a Stretch/Elige Un Golpecito y Un Tramo

#1 Crocodile Arms/Los Brazos de Cocodrilo

#2 Eagle Wings/Las Alas del Águila

#3 Healthy Taps/Golpecitos Sanos

#4 Push Up Sky, Push Down Earth/Empuja El Cielo Hacia Arriba, Empuja La Tierra Hacia Abajo

#5 Stretch in All Directions—Sunbeams in Your Belly/Estira en Todas  DireccionesRayos de Sol en Tu Vientre

#6 Sun and Moon /Sol Y Luna

#7 Wake Up Taps/Golpecitos para Despertar

B. Pick Cross-Lateral Movements/Elige Movimientos Laterales Cruzados

#1 Cross Lifts/Los Elevadores Cruzados

#2 Elephant Trunk Loops and Stomps/Los Bucles de Trompa de Elefante y Pisa Fuerte

#3 Energy Ball/La Pelota de Energía

#4 Lion Roars in the Jungle/León Ruge en La Jungla

#5 Magic X/Magia X

#6 Milkshake Laughter/Licuado de Risa

#7 Mirror Image Tracing/Rastreo de Imagen en el Espejo

#8 Skeleton Shake and Freeze/Sacude el Esqueleto y Congelate

#9 Stand and Fly Like a Flamingo/Párate y Vuela Como un Flamenco

#10 Walk the Tightrope and Spiral Walking/Caminar por la Cuerda Floja y Caminar en Espiral

#11 Wash Me Off/Lávame

C. Pick a Song to March or Dance/Elige Una Cancion Para Bailar o Marchar

My Favorite Music—Marching/Canciones Favoritas para Marchar

My Favorite Music—Dancing/Canciones Favoritas para Bailar



Kids Focus Social Emotional Learning or Your Curriculum

Kids Focus Social Emotional Learning

SEL Presentation Format

My SEL Lesson Road Map

Kids Focus SEL Topics

#1 Three Good Things/Tres Cosas Buenas

#2 Anger Burst/Explosión de Ira

#3 Build Our Community/Construir Nuestra Comunidad

#4 Caring for Animals/Cuidando a los Animales

#5 Change/Cambio

#6 Connected to Nature/Conectado con la Naturaleza

#7 Cozy Cave/La Cueva Acogedora

#8 Fish Pond of Feelings/El Estanque de Peces de Sentimientos

#9 Friends/Los Amigos

#10 Gifts from Earth, Sky, and Ocean/Los Regalos de la Tierra, el Cielo, y el Océano

#11 Gratitude—The Glad Tree/Gratitud—El Árbol Alegre

#12 Healthy Brain & Body 1–2/Cerebro y Cuerpo Sanos 1–2

#13 Healthy Brain & Body 3–4/Cerebro y Cuerpo Sanos 3–4

#14 Healthy Brain & Body 5–6/Cerebro y Cuerpo Sanos 5–6

#15 Just Like Me Inside/Como Yo Por Dentro

#16 Little Wonders/Las Pequeñas Maravillas

#17 Magic Hat/El Sombrero Mágico

#18 Make a Wish/Pide Un Deseo

#19 New Eyes/Los Ojos Nuevos

#20 Peaceful Forest/El Bosque Tranquilo

#21 Plant a New Thought/Planta un Nuevo Pensamiento

#22 Quiet/Tranquilo

#23 Socks/Los Calcetines

#24 Summer Food/La Comida de Verano

#25 Summer Sports/Los Deportes de Verano

#26 Thanksgiving/Accíon de Gracias

#27 Thank You Note/La Nota de Agradecimiento

#28 Think Kindness/Piensa Amablamente

#29 Who Will I Be?/¿Quién Seré Yo?

#30 Wonderful You/Maravilloso Tu

#31 Worry Channel/El Canal de Preocupación

#32 Your Inner Wisdom—The Tortoise/Tu Sabiduría Interior—La Tortuga

#33 Zoo Mind/La Mente de Zoológico

Daily Messages



Wonderful Me/Maravilloso Yo


Appendix: Resources


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Kathy Price, Regional Childcare Coordinator, NM-RECA & SW Regional Education Cooperative (https://www.nmreca.org/School-Reentry-Child-Care-Support-Project) - March 11, 2024
"Breathe, Move, Learn with Young Children" is a well-crafted and practical guide that bridges the realms of mindfulness, movement, and social-emotional learning for the benefit of young minds. It is a must-read for those seeking to create a nurturing and enriching environment that supports the holistic development of children.
Elizabeth Martinez, LMSW, IMH-E, IECMHC - December 18, 2023
"Breathe—Move—Learn is spilling with gratitude and is effortlessly reflective. The connections this work makes between emotions and how they feel within the body is so fundamental for helping children learn to recognize and manage their emotions. I believe that educators will appreciate the practicality, simplicity, and intentionality of this tool. I believe that children will find themselves applying these skills across different experiences."
Suzi Tortora, Ed.D., BC-DMT, Founder and Director, Dancing Dialogue, LCAT LMHC PLLC - December 4, 2023

"Breathe—Move—Learn With Young Children offers an exciting and enriching dimension to the classroom environment, equipping teachers–and any other professional working with children, looking to add active brain‐stimulating programing to their practice–with a diverse array of activities designed to engage a child's body, mind, and emotions to optimize their whole learning experience. Drawing on Unnever's extensive experience as an Educational Trainer, each activity reflects her wealth of knowledge, integrating classic physical exercises with research‐proven mindfulness and brain‐boosting techniques.

Activities are presented with clear child‐friendly scripts, discussion questions, and suggestions for visual prompts to make a slide deck to support SEL skills. Unnever's choice of playful and delightful instructions immediately captures the imagination of young minds. Who could resist the invitation to become a laughing milkshake with the directive to "Keep laughing" with heart‐felt enthusiasm, while swaying from side to side? These directives not only spark creativity but also provide a welcome opportunity for students to audibly and actively express joy within the classroom setting."

Jen Alexander, M.A., NCC, SB-RPT, Author of Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools - November 18, 2023
"Breathe—Move—Learn goes right to the heart of how to support safety, health, and social‐emotional well‐being for our youngest learners. All the activities center the body, including how we breathe, sense, move, feel, and learn. I especially love the sequence and easy‐to‐use format, making it a must‐have resource for everyone who works with young children."
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