Square Breathing Visual
Calming Down,  Deep Breathing

3 Square Breathing Visuals (Including a Box Breathing Inspired Game)

Have you ever practiced square breathing? 

This post will show you how to practice square breathing, a simple yet effective breathing exercise.

You will also learn some variations of this breathing exercise that we use to make deep breathing fun and easier for kids:

  • a breathing exercise involving a square shape, but using a slightly different technique
  • a square breathing game (a similar exercise to the one above)

? Square breathing visuals are available for download at the end of the post.

Related Reading: 10+ Fun Breathing Exercises for Kids for Home or the Classroom

What is Square Breathing (or Box Breathing)?

Square breathing is a very simple deep breathing technique.

You may have also square breathing referred to as Box Breathing or 4 Square Breathing

Using a square or a box as a visual aid, you follow a sequence of inhale-hold-exhale-hold, each of them to the count of four.

Although I’ve not been able to find research papers on this specific breathing technique, there is a body of research that suggests that deep breathing has many benefits such as:

  • helping reduce stress, anxiety, pain
  • improving concentration.

? Some reseach on diaphragmatic breathing:

  • The effect of deep and slow breathing on pain perception, autonomic activity, and mood processing – an experimental study 
  • The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect, and Stress in Healthy Adults-(read research)

How to Practice Square Breathing

  • Inhale slowly through your nose filling up your lungs, to the count of four
  • Hold your breath to the count of four
  • Exhale slowly emptying the oxygen from your lungs to the count of four
  • Hold your breath to the count of four.

The box breathing visual below will help you understand better how this breathing exercise is executed.

Square Breathing Visuals to learn Box Breathing

Adapted Box Breathing Visual for Kids

When practicing this breathing exercise with little kids or kids with disabilities, I find it a bit distracting keeping track of the 4 count.

We do a variation of the square breathing exercise that I find easier.

The important thing is to maintain the inhale-hold-exhale-hold sequence, emphasizing the slow breathing in and out.

I don’t ask them to count, but I still use the square drawing as a visual support, and the corners of the square as breathing stops /holds.

You’ll be able to understand better how we practice this in the adapted box breathing visual below

Adapted Square Breathing Pdf to Make it Even Easier for Kids

How to Practice this Breathing Exercise:

  • Deep breathe in slowly 
  • Hold your breath when you reach the circle
  • Breathe out slowly 
  • Hold your breath when you reach the circle
  • Continue the sequence

Square Breathing Game

I am always looking for ways to make breathing exercises fun.

I have prepared another take on the square breathing technique in which I mix a sensory input with the breathing exercise.

I use embossed cardstock to add a twist to the feel you get when you trace the square with your finger. 

Learning deep breathing with a fun square breathing game

How We Practice our Square Breathing Game

  • Start on the heart and trace the square shape while we breathe in
  • Hold your breath on point 1 (each number is a “breath holding point)
  • Breathe out while you trace the next side
  • Hold your breath in point 2
  • Continue the sequence stopping / holding your breath on each subsequent number until you arrive at the smile message.

Materials Needed for your Breathing Activity

  • Embossed cardstock in assorted colors (touching them while you follow the shape produces a nice sensory input)
  • Glue
  • Stickers for the numbers and the decoration motifs (arrow, heart, smile message). You may also use a pen to mark those points.

How to prepare this Deep Breathing Game

  • Cut four squares of different colors 6 cm (2.4 in), 9 cm (3.5 in), 12 cm (4.7 in)and 15 cm (6 in) – I know it reads funny in inches but I did my measuring in cm, so it doesn’t look that great when you convert to inches.
  • Glue them together so that the small one is on the center
  • Stick numbered stickers to each corner, a heart on the starting point and a smile sticker on the smaller square

Other Fun Breathing Exercises for kids

Other Calming Resources in the Blog

 Download your 3 Square Breathing Visuals (Including a Box Breathing Inspired Game)

You can download all the square breathing visuals in this post by filling in your details below:


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