A list of simple sensory “hacks” for helping a child calm down when they are angry. Of course, these will not work with every child and every child will not respond the same way to these strategies. These strategies are simple that… a toolkit meant to help you and your child be better equipped next time an explosion occurs.
- Click here for instructions on how to make Lego Calm Down Jar using Glitter Glue. Simply shake and wait for the calming to begin.
- Click here for instructions on how to make Worry Stones. For children to use when they are feeling nervous or anxious. Great to use in the car, at a desk or on the go.
- Pool Noodle Stress Relievers – cut 1in pieces. A great hack to creating your own squeezy tool. Have kids squeeze and take out their anger on these instead of hitting or pushing others.Here is a You Tube Video Tutorial:
- Wacky Sacks made with 2 ingredients. For your child to use anytime they are angry. Squeezing the balloons helps provide proprioceptive input and organizes their sensory system.
Materials Needed: You can buy everything you need at the dollar store!
- Play Dough
- 12″ latex balloons
- Sharpie Marker
- Roll out your play dough into a long, thin line. (one small tub of dough per balloon)
- Stretch your balloon as wide as you can and stuff the play dough inside. (Adults can do this themselves, but kids will need help with this part.)
- Press the filled balloon to make it flat and get as much air out as possible. Tie it off with a knot.
- Add a face using your sharpie.
- Make a DIY Squoosh Box out of a cardboard box to give your child somewhere to calm down.
Cardboard Rocket Ship |The Perfect Calm Down Retreat
A safe, quiet space that you can encourage your child to use when they are getting overstimulated or frustrated. The perfect calm down sensory retreat, but also be a great place for creativity, pretend play, and reading fun! The key, is to make sure the rocket is not seen as a punishment, or a negative place. It is used during times of excitement, times of frustrations, and times of completely happiness.
- Cardboard Boxes one Large and One small box)
- Exacto Knife for cutting details and holes out
- Duct Tape (decorative tape)
- Aluminum Foil
Additional Materials to Turn your Rocket into a Squish Box
- Stuffed Animals
- Favorite Books
To learn more about squish boxes, be sure to check out A Sensory Life where she gives more great examples and explains all the benefits!
- If you are looking for something to have on hand at all times, you can put together an anti-anxiety kit complete with essential oils, songs, and stress balls. Click here for a tutorial on How to Create an Anti-Anxiety Kit for Your Child, including free printable relaxation prompt cards.
- Make a fire-breathing dragon out of a simple cup to practice calming breathes.
- Paper cup (if already green you are a step ahead!)
- Green streamers or tissue paper (to cover cup if your cup is not already green)
- Red streamers or tissue paper
- White construction paper
- Black crayon or marker
- Scissors, Glue stick, Tape
How to make your dragon breathing fire craft:
- Poke a quarter-sized hole in the bottom of the cup.
- Cut red streamers that are about 6-8 inches long. Tape the streamers on the inside of the cup, all the way around the rim. Taping them about an inch inside the cup gives the best effect.
- Use the glue stick to cover a small area of the cup at a time. Rip green tissue paper or streamers and tape the pieces to the cup. Cover the whole cup with green paper, gluing down any flaps.
- Make Dragon eyes (or use goggly eyes)
- Draw a black circle on each eye piece.
- Fold the bottom of the eye as shown and tape each eye to the top of the cup.
- Once dry, tuck the red streamers loosely into the cup. Blow in the hole in the back of the cup and the streamers should blow out like fire!
- A DIY Crash Pad is a fantastic place for your angry child to thrash and bang around without hurting them or anyone else. If this idea is appealing to you click here for a link with a tutorial on making a Crash Mat for Kids.
- Use ice cubes to create these awesome calm down cubes for your children (or for teachers your classroom).
Using a permanent marker write a safe “cool down” strategy on each ice cube. For example: count to ten, walk away, talk to a friend, take three deep breaths, etc. Also leave a few of the cubes blank so that kids can come up with their own strategies. Place the ice cubes in the freezer for an additional “cool” effect.
- Use pillows or stuffed animals to make a pillow cave to provide joint compression to help your child organize their nervous system while calming down. Click here for a website full of ideas on how to create a sensory pillow cave and squish box.