Calming, Organizing and Alerting Activities for Children

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Children, in particular, those with special needs, often need many breaks throughout their school day to help them focus, stay on track, or calm in order to self-regulate. If you are in a public school environment, sitting at a desk all day can be a challenge. Today I am sharing some calming, organizing, and alerting activities for children.

Organizing, Alerting, and Calming activity ideas for kids for home, classroom, or therapy.

These can be used in school, at home, in homeschool routines, really anywhere. There is also a free printable packet of all the ideas below for you to grab.

Organizing Activities for Kids

  • Heavy work (gives input to muscles and joints and causes fatigue)
  • Wall pushes with hands and feet.
  • Jumping on trampoline
  • Popcorn jumps  (jumping from a squat position and then landing back in a squat position)
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Crawling through tunnels
  • Obstacle course
  • Putting up/down chairs
  • Sitting on “move and sit” therapy ball during classroom activities
  • Passing the weighted balls
  • Scooter board on belly and bottom (wall push-offs) 10+ reps
  • Resistance Bands 

Alerting Activities for Kids

Now for some Alerting Activities. These are great to use with kids who are quieter and tend to be lethargic. Also great to use after sitting activities to get the juices flowing again. Just make sure you do some type of calming activity after an Alerting activity before asking your child to sit back down to learn and work again.

  • Bouncing on a therapy ball
  • Upbeat music with a strong beat
  • Vibrations on the arms, hand or back
  • Swinging
  • Jumping on a mini-trampoline
  • Going outside
  • Heavy work activities (moving a stack of books, re-arranging chairs, etc)
  • Use two fingers on both sides of the spine, give a light upward stroke 3-5 times.
  • Controlled spinning (no more than 10 repetitions at a time – do not do this if there is any known heart or seizure history)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push-Ups or Wall Push-Ups
  • Skipping
  • Running (Relay races, obstacle courses, etc)

Calming Activities for Kids

  • Rocking slowly over a ball on the belly
  • Turning off the lights
  • Swinging in a large circle with the child facing an adult (no spinning)
  • Laying under a heavy blanket
  • Soft music (spa CD)
  • Beanbag squeezes
  • Laying on the floor while an adult rolls a ball over top giving some deep pressure.
  • Use of body sock/lycra material to wrap in
  • Light touch/hard touch (depending on the child) – have the student brush a feather over their arms, or squeeze their arms with their hands for deep pressure.
  • Using two fingers on both sides of the spine to give form downward strokes 3-5 times.
  • Hand fidgets (such a play dough, Wikki Stix®, Thera-putty, etc.)
  • Heavy work (moving furniture, a stack of heavy books, pulling a weighted backpack/rolling cart)

Subscriber Printable of Organizing, Alerting, & Calming Activities for Kids

I have this list available as a free printable for those who wish to subscribe to the blog.

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CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
All information on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult with a medical professional if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child. The information on the Websites does not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one-on-one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation. The information provided on the Website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

Do not rely on the information on the Website as an alternative to advice from your medical professional or healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment as a result of any information provided on the Website. All medical information on the Website is for informational purposes only.

All activities outlined on the Website are designed for completion with adult supervision. Please use your own judgment with your child and do not provide objects that could pose a choking hazard to young children. Never leave a child unattended during these activities. Please be aware of and follow all age recommendations on all products used in these activities. Growing Hands-On Kids is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY The Website was developed strictly for informational purposes. You understand and agree that you are fully responsible for your use of the information provided on the Website. Growing Hands-On Kids makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees. You understand that results may vary from person to person. Growing Hands-On Kids assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions that may appear on the Website.