Thursday, April 14, 2016

40+ Things to Put in a Calm Down Kit for Kids {Free Printable}

A major focus for us lately is to give my kids lots of tools and strategies for self-regulation. I've come up with a brilliant technique to teach visual learners to do deep breathing (I still have to blog about that though!) and made a set of visual calm down strategies cards. Another item on my to do list is creating a calm down kit for my boys, filled with lots of tools and ideas for promoting relaxation and self-regulation.

While trying to build our ideal calm down bin, I decided to brainstorm a master list of things to include in a calm down kit for kids. I've compiled over 40 ideas and put together a free printable list so that you can easily brainstorm your own ideal calm down box as well! This list is geared towards smaller children, but if you have older kids or preteens, then check out this free printable list of 40+ calm down tools for older kids!

40+ things to put in a calm down bin or calm down box for kids with free printable list from And Next Comes L

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What to Include in a Calm Down Kit for Kids

There are lots of different things that you can include in a calm down kit and obviously, you will want to tailor it to your child(ren). Here are 40+ things you can put in a calm down kit for anxious kids:

  1. Free printable visual calm down strategies cards
  2. Bottle of bubbles
  3. Chew toy or chew necklace
  4. Small puzzle
  5. Fidgets such as Tangle Jr. or puffer ball
  6. Weighted lap cushion or stuffed animal - You can find some great DIY ideas under tip #10 here.
  7. Weighted vest or pressure vest
  8. Stretchy resistance bands
  9. Sensory tunnel
  10. Hearing protection ear muffs or noise canceling headphones
  11. Chewing gum, hard candies, or lollipops - We love Pur natural chewing gum and Spry natural chewing gum!
  12. Calming essential oil spray
  13. Rescue remedy - I swear by this stuff! Seems to instantly calm meltdowns!
  14. MP3 player with music and/or audiobooks - Be sure to include headphones and an accompanying book for the audiobook so they can read along while listening.
  15. Book of yoga poses or printable yoga cards
  16. Blank notebook and a writing utensil (crayons, pencil crayons, markers, or similar)
  17. Sensory bottle or calm down jar - I love this post about 6 ways to make a calm down jar from Preschool Inspirations.
  18. Skipping rope - Try our DIY skipping rope that's made from straws!
  19. Visual stims such as a kaleidoscope or an hourglass
  20. Books to read
  21. Activity books: dot to dots, mazes, word searches, I Spy, etc. - Or print off a bunch of our I Spy printables and include them in your calm down kit!
  22. Stress balls
  23. Play dough or silly putty
  24. Photo album filled with photos of family and friends
  25. Small blanket
  26. Bubble wrap
  27. Pinwheels - To encourage deep breathing and blowing out.
  28. Rubik's cube
  29. Small chalk board and chalk, Magna-Doodle, Etch-a-Sketch, or Boogie Board for doodling and drawing
  30. Eye mask
  31. Tissue paper to rip - Fill a zipper seal bag with tissue paper and let kids rip it.
  32. Light up toys, flashlight, or similar
  33. Plastic snow globe - Acts like a calm down or sensory bottle and makes for a great visual stim.
  34. Snacks with a variety of textures like crunchy (pretzels or nuts), chewy (fruit leather or dried fruit), or soft (marshmallows)
  35. Pipe cleaners to twist and bend
  36. Coloring books
  37. Scarves or fabric scraps
  38. Spinning top
  39. Mini massager
  40. Scratch and sniff stickers
  41. Whistle, harmonica, party blowers, or similar small wind instrument - To encourage kids to breath out. Also, making music is a great way to release a variety of emotions.
  42. Small mirror for making silly faces and exploring emotions
  43. Straws and pom poms or cotton balls - A great oral motor idea to encourage deep breaths.
  44. Body sock - Kids can retreat into a body sock for calming proprioceptive sensory input. Since they fold up relatively small, they make a great addition to a calm down kit.
  45. Smelling bottles - Just fill bottles with calming scents, such as lavender.
  46. Scratch art doodle pad

Other Great Calm Down Tools for Anxious Kids

Here are some items that you might want to have accessible to your child during their calm down time. You'll want to keep these items near your calm down kit to encourage vestibular and proprioceptive sensory input. 

  1. Wiggle/balance cushion - Great for sitting on, walking on, balancing, on, etc.
  2. Weighted blanket
  3. Large cardboard box, fort, or ball pit - Kids will love retreating to these quiet places, but using a ball pit also provides lots of calming proprioceptive input.
  4. Exercise ball - Perfect for bouncing or balancing on.
  5. Mini trampoline - Great for kids who love to jump as a way to calm down.

Download the Free Printable Calm Down Kit List

Grab a copy of this free printable list. Then take it with you when you go shopping so that you can easily build a calm down kit of your own!

40+ things to put in a calm down bin or calm down box for kids with free printable list from And Next Comes L


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6 comments:

  1. Thank you for your lists! your suggestions are well thought and I'm excited to get my boxes started with the kids in my different classrooms.

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  2. Another excellent list! Love all these lists! I work with a lot of kids and teens on the autism spectrum, as well as a lot of those just struggling with anxiety in general. I'm excited that I found your site, it's an amazing resource!

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  3. We have been struggling with some extreme anger and outbursts at school. I always tell my 6yo daughter that she has the "tools"she needs to get back to her calm, happy place, but she tells me she can't always remember. This is such a great list! I always put some sensory toys in her backpack but I don't think that's enough as of late. We have been looking for some new strategies. I can't wait to create a kit for her. Thanks for taking the time it to share

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