calm down activities for kids, blow bubbles

School can be exhausting for children, which is why we have collated these 60 calm down activities for kids. It’s your go-to guide for after school strategies when you sense your child is feeling overwhelmed and in need of some relaxation.

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Many kids hold their emotions together all day and let loose with tears and tantrums when they get in the car or walk through the front door. Sound familiar? It’s got a name – ‘after school restraint collapse’, where our kids just cannot hold it together anymore. Take it as a compliment though – you are a trusted and loving presence, so your child feels safe to let go of his or her stored emotions.

Here are a collection of tried and tested practical calm down activities for kids that might help to prevent meltdowns in your home as your child decompresses after school. Many of these ideas work to calm kids down (and parents ;)) because they relax the parasympathetic nervous system and provide sensory integration. As a bonus, they are fun too!

calm down activities for kids, swings

Try These Calm Down Activities For Kids When They Get Home From School

Jump on the trampoline

Play on the swings

Play with playdough

Make oobleck – combine 1.5 cups cornflour with 1 cup water in a bowl or tray, with food colouring if you wish.

Play in the sandpit

Drawing or painting

calm down activities for kids, painting

Ride on rocking horse or outdoor toy

Play on a see-saw

Cosmic Yoga

Heavy work activities, such as digging in the garden, pushing chairs, kneading bread dough, lifting shopping bags or raking leaves.

Have a crunchy snack, such as carrot sticks and apple

Chewing gum

Suck on a lollipop

Blow bubbles

calm down activities for kids, blowing bubbles

Listen to music and dance

Stretch and pull resistance exercise bands

Diffuse essential oils

Gargle water

Provide a large exercise ball to bounce or lay on

Scrape out a frozen popper

Water the plants

Name 5 favourite things


Listen to an audio book in the car on the way home

Play with and pat a cat or dog

A firm hug

Climb a tree

Drink cold water

Hang upside down on play equipment

calm activitties for kids, hanging upside down

Eat an iceblock (natural flavours and colours)

Take a relaxing walk around a quiet garden, such as the Rhododendron Gardens in Blackheath

Eat or suck on frozen fruit, like strawberries

Use a bubble tea straw to blow bubbles in the bath or push a ping pong ball around

Have a warm shower or bubble bath

Fill a doona with pillows or foam and use it as a crash mat in the trampoline

Push against a wall

Animal walks such as crab walks, frog jumps or bear walks

Colour in

Squeeze a toy, pillow or stress ball

Cartwheels and handstands

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Touch things around your home and garden with different textures

Deep, slow breathing

Close eyes or wear sunglasses

Paint with water on the deck or pavement outside

Go for a bushwalk

calm down activities for kids, bushwalk

Drink warm milk

Wrap up tightly in a favourite blanket

Hand or foot massage with scented lotion

Watch a lava lamp

Play with a Stretch Armstrong doll

Make a picture or just play with Wikki Stix or pipe cleaners

Buy sensory toys from Kmart to create a home sensory box, including sticky and stretchy animals, play dough, water snake, hand therapy balls, sticky hands, putty, slime etc.

Play with kinetic sand

calm down activities for kids, kinetic sand

Make natural slime – 1 tablespoon psyllium husk, 1 cup water, food colouring, scent it if you wish, with perppermint essence, for example. Whisk together and microwave for 5 minutes. Warning: the slime is very hot straight out of the microwave, so let it cool well before children play with it.

Draw with chalk on a chalk board or on the pavement

Draw on a white board

Tidy up clutter or mess before the kids get home

Go for a bike ride

Play an instrument

Sit in a quiet space and read

calm down activities for kids, reading quietly

This list of calm down activities for kids is by no means exhaustive and there are surely many more that could be added. Particular activities might suit some children more than others but it is a matter of finding out what works for your child. Just remember to listen to your child, validate his or her feelings and breathe. When your child releases all of those big feelings at home, it isn’t easy, but they are trusting you and feeling safe.

Please let us know in the comments if any of these strategies worked for you or if you have any other ideas that work for your child.

More from Blue Mountains Mums

blue mountains term 1 kids activities 2021

‘Pick your own fruit’ farms and orchards welcome families to visit throughout the year. This is a lovely activity to do on a weekend with the kids.

For more family ideas these school holidays, check out our Spring School Holiday Guide.

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