32 Things To Put In A Calm-Down Box for Kids

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If your child becomes anxious or very upset, having a Calm Down Box can help your child feel more comfortable and self-regulate. Here are 32 ideas of what to include in a calm-down box for your child or student.

32 Things To Put In A Calm Down Kit for Kids

The items you can include in a calm-down kit are really endless. But here are 32 ideas to get you started. 

  1. Building blocks 
  2. Chewing gum 
  3. Chalk 
  4. Coloring books 
  5. Stress ball 
  6. Hourglass 
  7. Paint and brush 
  8. Glitter jar (here's a DIY idea for glitter jars
  9. Scented playdough (here's a recipe for homemade playdough
  10. Pinwheels
  11. Fidget toys 
  12. Flashlights 
  13. Stuffed animal 
  14. Bubbles 
  15. Straws
  16. Clothes pins 
  17. Snow globe 
  18. Sensory bottles (Here are some DIY ideas for sensory bottles
  19. Crayons 
  20. Audiobook
  21. Chew necklaces
  22. Bubble wrap 
  23. Cotton balls
  24. Pom poms 
  25. Skipping rope 
  26. Puzzles 
  27. Blank notebook 
  28. Calm down jar (here is a DIY calm down jar idea
  29. Photo album (can include pictures of family or some of their favorite items) 
  30. Pillow 
  31. Calming music 
  32. Resistance bands 

Some other ideas can include noise-canceling headphones, clay, hard candies, kinetic sand, slime, pipe cleaners, kaleidoscopes, silly putty, or markers. 

What are some of your favorite tools to include in a calm-down box?

Benefits of Calm-Down Boxes or Kits

Calm-down boxes or kits have been found to be helpful for children to help reduce anxiety and stress. Many children on the Autism spectrum, or diagnosed with Anxiety, ADHD, or any child who struggles with emotional regulation skills. 

Teaching children safe ways to regulate their emotions in different environments is where having a calm-down box can be helpful. 

Having a calm down box or kit available for children at home, in the classroom, in the doctor's offices, and even in the hospital has been shown to be very helpful for many children by helping to decrease their anxiety and help them cope with stressful situations. 

With the emergence of trauma-informed practices in the classroom, having a safe and peaceful space for students to work through their emotions and take a break in a positive way. Improving how children cope and react to their emotions has a positive outcome on their learning 

For many children, doing activities that include proprioceptive input, or heavy work, can have a calming effect. Other activities that focus on oral-motor and supporting deep breathing and relaxing can also be extremely beneficial for many kids. 

You can read more about proprioceptive input here

Free Handout of What To Put In a Calm Down Box

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References: 

Drake, Jennifer; Johnson, Norah L.; Stoneck, Alice V.; Martinez, Deb M.; and Massey, Megan, “Evaluation of a Coping Kit of Items to Support Children with Developmental Disorders in the Hospital Setting” (2012). College of Nursing Faculty Research and Publications. 155. https://epublications.marquette.edu/nursing_fac/155

Duginske, J. “Tier two social-emotional learning to increase academic achievement.” (2017) Concordia University Chicago.

Luze, G. “Supporting Children to Regulate Their Emotions with a Calm Down Kit” (2019). Iowa State University Early Childhood Education Information Brief. https://hdfs.hs.iastate.edu/

Nagy, A., Rude, C. “Calm spaces in schools: a resource guide” (2022). Hennepin. State Health Improvement Partnership. https://www.hennepin.us/ 

Thompson, C. “The Impact of a Classroom Calm Down Corner in a Primary Classroom”. (2021). Northwestern College, Iowa. https://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/education_masters/

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Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
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