Disclaimer: No compensation was received for the links inside this post. The links were placed by Shara solely for the purpose of showing you the items she likes. All opinions expressed are her own.
I recently went back to work in a school setting as a Special Education Paraprofessional (K-5th). When I walked into the classroom on the first day I looked around and said, “Oh, I have that in my house!” and “Oh, I use that with my own kids, too!” I was pleased to see that many of the coping strategies I use at home are also being used for the students.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. A mini trampoline
My kids have had a mini trampoline inside the house for many years now. They jump while watching TV (I call this our “Old School Wii”) or any other time they feel the need to get their wiggles out. The trampoline cost about $20 and is similar to ‘Golds Gym Mini Trampoline‘ from Walmart; it’s still going strong, years later. We have an outdoor trampoline, too.
2. Bubble wrap
I love to keep bubble wrap around for my kids to use. They pop with their hands or I tape it down to the floor so they can STOMP on it with their feet. The kids in the classroom use bubble wrap, as well.
3. Punching pillows
One of my kids struggles with BIG FEELINGS (as Wendy from Kidlutions calls them). With this child I like to have pillows around for hitting. Sometimes I hold a pillow in front of me and allow my child to punch and hit. I never get hurt and this provides a safe way to get the frustration out.
4. Hugging bear
In the classroom, in which I work, we have a huge teddy bear. The kids are allowed to hug and snuggle the bear when they feel the need.
In my home I have a CD player alongside many children’s CD’s. My kids can pop in a CD, any time, and dance around the living room. We sing, laugh, giggle and spin the worries away.
6. Wikki Stix and Play Dough
I always have Wikki Stix and Play Dough around for my kids to use. This helps with hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and it also assists with frustration.
The Stix and Dough can be twisted, mashed and mangled into something silly, funny or useful. I make homemade play dough with natural ingredients. It only takes about five minutes and if the kids eat a piece, it’s not toxic.
7. Walks, the Park and Swings
We go for walks every single day. We visit the park almost daily, too. My kids love to run, skip, jump and slide. Sadly, our local park decided that swings are dangerous but we’ll be putting swings in our back yard soon. My kids LOVE to swing and I LOVE the ‘Swing-N-Slide Extra-Duty Swing Seat‘ from Target.
My children sometimes like to tear up paper when they are mad. I give them magazines that we don’t want or need – or mailbox ads, etc. They are allowed to rip and tear to their heart’s content. We then clean everything up and recycle the paper.
9. Lego and Building Blocks
Fine motor skill activities can be great for ‘calming down’ activities. One of my kids, in particular, loves to use his hands to build and knock things down. It’s a great way to release negative energy. The kids in our classroom love this, as well.
10. Anything with wheels
My husband and I made a deliberate choice to leave our living room area quite bare. We have tile floors and we keep the following items inside: small bikes, scooters and roller skates. Our kids are allowed to use these items at any time, in order to release pent-up energy. Every morning they wake up and grab something that moves, get on, and whiz around. It’s amazing to me just how much energy kids have. After a night of sleep they wake up raring to go!