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!
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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:
- Free printable visual calm down strategies cards
- Bottle of bubbles
- Chew toy or chew necklace
- Small puzzle
- Fidgets such as Tangle Jr. or puffer ball
- Weighted lap cushion or stuffed animal - You can find some great DIY ideas under tip #10 here.
- Weighted vest or pressure vest
- Stretchy resistance bands
- Sensory tunnel
- Hearing protection ear muffs or noise canceling headphones
- Chewing gum, hard candies, or lollipops - We love Pur natural chewing gum and Spry natural chewing gum!
- Calming essential oil spray
- Rescue remedy - I swear by this stuff! Seems to instantly calm meltdowns!
- 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.
- Book of yoga poses or printable yoga cards
- Blank notebook and a writing utensil (crayons, pencil crayons, markers, or similar)
- Sensory bottle or calm down jar - I love this post about 6 ways to make a calm down jar from Preschool Inspirations.
- Skipping rope - Try our DIY skipping rope that's made from straws!
- Visual stims such as a kaleidoscope or an hourglass
- Books to read
- 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!
- Stress balls
- Play dough or silly putty
- Photo album filled with photos of family and friends
- Small blanket
- Bubble wrap
- Pinwheels - To encourage deep breathing and blowing out.
- Rubik's cube
- Small chalk board and chalk, Magna-Doodle, Etch-a-Sketch, or Boogie Board for doodling and drawing
- Eye mask
- Tissue paper to rip - Fill a zipper seal bag with tissue paper and let kids rip it.
- Light up toys, flashlight, or similar
- Plastic snow globe - Acts like a calm down or sensory bottle and makes for a great visual stim.
- Snacks with a variety of textures like crunchy (pretzels or nuts), chewy (fruit leather or dried fruit), or soft (marshmallows)
- Pipe cleaners to twist and bend
- Coloring books
- Scarves or fabric scraps
- Spinning top
- Mini massager
- Scratch and sniff stickers
- 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.
- Small mirror for making silly faces and exploring emotions
- Straws and pom poms or cotton balls - A great oral motor idea to encourage deep breaths.
- 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.
- Smelling bottles - Just fill bottles with calming scents, such as lavender.
- 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.
- Wiggle/balance cushion - Great for sitting on, walking on, balancing, on, etc.
- Weighted blanket
- 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.
- Exercise ball - Perfect for bouncing or balancing on.
- Mini trampoline - Great for kids who love to jump as a way to calm down.