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Calming Activities for Back to School

kids on bean bag chairs

Back to school can be fun, but change can be hard. Help your little one adjust to the demands with these two sensory-based calming crafts, to be used in the classroom:

Weighted Lap Pad

Stress Ball

Calming Activities Using All the Senses

Calm Down Corner

A great way to limit auditory, visual, and other input so a child can regroup and calm themselves down

  • a corner with a bean bag chair
  • a small tent
  • a private desk


Promotes full-body relaxation for children who are overwhelmed or anxious

  • a shoebox-sized plastic container with sand, dry rice, or dry beans
  • weighted blankets or weighted stuffed animals
  • squishes with a pillow or bean bag chair


Chewing and sucking are great for self-soothing

  • chewing on oral sensory snacks (fruit leather) or jewelry (Chewigems)
  • sucking against resistance (smoothie through a straw)


Soothing noise can help when kids are overstimulated from school

  • using a quite voice
  • white noise (rain sounds, using a fan)
  • calming music


Decreasing visual stimulation or providing calming visual input can promote regulation

  • turning off or dimming lights
  • maintaining a clutter-free workspace
  • using dividers
  • looking at a glitter jar as it moves
  • providing a visual picture schedule to help kids follow a routine


Heavy work or moving the body against resistance provides stimulation to the muscles and joints which can be calming and organizing

  • squeezing play dough or a stress ball
  • pulling against resistance bands
  • pushing chairs or desks
  • climbing
  • carrying books or laundry


Repetitive and rhythmic movement helps with kids who are overstimulated, overwhelmed, or have tantrums

  • rocking in a chair
  • swaying in a parent’s arms
  • swinging