Haven’t you ever felt so worried you could scream or run or hide or kick? I certainly have. But we often forget how absolutely terrifying things can seem when you’re very small and very unsure of the world around you. Sometimes you’re afraid that your dinner could be spicy. Sometimes you’re afraid if you don’t tie your shoes right they could fall off. Sometimes you’re afraid that if you make a mistake you’ll be in trouble. Sometimes it can all be too much for your very tender little heart to handle. When that happens it can be very hard to remember that you can stay calm. That you can figure it out. That you can ask for help. That people love you.
When we find ourselves in that spot, there a few tricks we’ve discovered work very well to help bring ourselves back to the real world. We thought perhaps they would work for you too.
There all sorts of seek-and-find books. We love the Seek and Find Classics collection. They help us sit still. They give us a job. A job that we know we can do. And when we’ve found that hidden teacup, we feel smarter, stronger, braver, and think perhaps we can calm down and figure out this problem.
Calm Down Cube
For a while we used calm down cards, but they weren’t quite durable enough for us. We also like to hold things. And we like to play. So we made the Calm Down Cube. It’s a giant die, and to play you take turns rolling it and do whatever exercise you land on. The exercises are jumping, pushing, blowing, counting, hugging, and naming things you see around you. Sometimes when you don’t want to calm down, seeing someone else playing a very fun game makes you want to join them.
We found that the calm down cube worked so well, we decided to make one for another of our favorite calming exercises. Sometimes to bring us back into the real, tangible world around us, we need to notice the real things around us. We do this using our five senses. Each side of this die features one of the senses, things we see, hear, taste, touch or feel. The star on the sixth side means you get to choose!
Once we’ve begun to calm down, the feelings chart helps us explain why we became upset in the first place. Sometimes it can be hard to tell someone how you feel when you’re not sure what that feeling is. The Feelings Chart helps us see the difference between certain feelings, and understand why we felt them. We made all of these tools very simple and black and white, so they are clear and easy to understand, without being too bright and overstimulating.
Our Calming Kit Printable includes a PDF of all the icons for the Calm Down Cube and the 5-Senses Cube, and also includes a PDF of the Feelings Chart. We made our cubes using these large dice from Hobby Lobby. We cut out each circle and glued them on with Mod Podge. Once dry, we gave the whole thing a thin coat of Mod Podge to seal it. If it’s easier, they are laid out on the Avery Presta 94506 Round Label Template, so you could simply print them on labels and adhere them to the die. If you want to know more about how we use our Calming Kit you can watch my instagram highlight “Calming Down.”