Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Calming Activities for Preschool


Calming Activities for Preschool
Prior to or upon arrival to school
  • Walk to school if that is an option, carry a heavy backpack or pull a wagon, push a stroller with heavy objects or another person in it.  
  • Use a scooter, scooter board, roller skates or a bike to get to school
  • Open (heavy) doors independently 
  • Various animal walks incorporating crawling, jumping, arm movements, etc.

Circle Time or seated tasks
  • Hold squeeze toys, silky fabrics, vibrating toy, small amount of playdough
  • Sit on a ball, rocking chair, bean bag, or almost fully deflated beach ball on a chair
  • Do chair push ups while sitting (place palms on seat of chair and push body upward) 
  • Hold objects with weight (books, cans) in lap
  • Tape a circle on the floor or use a carpet square where child is to sit
  • Allow child to lie on stomach on floor 
  • Have child slide or carry chair to circle area
  • Incorporate animal walks (frog, bear, crab, snake etc.) to provide movement to seated tasks
  • Incorporate reward system (small piece of gummy or crunchy candy, stickers, stamp to hand, high five, verbal praise) intermittently for appropriate behavior.  Be sure to simply explain appropriate/inappropriate behavior


Heavy work throughout the day (center time/guided free play)
  • Playdough, dough, putty (rolling pin, flatten, pull apart, knead, push together, push pegs/coins into it, hammer)
  • Dry noodles, rice, beans, birdseed, sand, water (pour, touch, mix)
  • Mop, sweep, vacuum
  • Use hole punch 
  • Finger-paint, shaving creme
  • Tweezers
  • Blow toys (straws, instruments, cotton balls)
  • Vibrating pens, drawing on textured surface (sandpaper, bubble wrap, Lego table)
  • Standing at an easel for painting, drawing, cutting
  • Resistive manipulatives (pop beads, Legos, foam puzzles)
  • Wear heavy backpack during this time (be sure to remove prior to gross motor play)
  • Laundry play (fold, iron, carry laundry basket, slide another child sitting in the basket)
    instruments (marching, banging, blowing)
  • Obstacle course
  • Make a quiet area with pillows, beanbag, tent or small child pool with balls in it (ball pit), low light, calming music, books, squeeze toys or vibration, silky fabrics for self calming
  • Row your boat (stand or sit holding another’s hands, rock back and forth)


Heavy work for outside/gym
  • Bikes, scooters, scooter board (pull another child as they are on their stomach or have child hold rope as they are pulled on their stomach on scooter board), roller-skates
  • Swinging, monkey bars, playground equipment, tug of war
  • Shovel snow, rake leaves
  • Spray bottles, chalk, blow bubbles, paint walls/ground with paintbrush and water
  • Obstacle course (jump, roll, run, crawl, etc.)
  • Wagon pull and wagon rides
  • Catch, kick, throw, t-ball
  • Fly a kite
  • Sand and water play

Snack/Meal Time
  • Have the child be a snack helper to pass out cups, plates, etc.
  • Wipe off the tables using large motions
  • Carry heavy cans of juice, pitchers
  • Chair push-ups
  • Crunchy or gummy candy, Twizzlers, milkshakes through a straw
  • Stack chairs at the end of meal times

Nap/Bedtime
  • Quiet music, white noise, low lights
  • Rocking, vibration, deep massage
  • Heavy blanket on legs, wrap in blanket or youth sleeping bag
  • Lie in hammock or beanbag
  • Hold silky fabric, Taggie blanket, etc.
  • Token rewards (stickers, verbal praise) for staying in bed, on mat
  • Page through books



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