How to make your own DIY Calming Kit

When you’re on the road, traveling, going to a friend’s house or just out at school, having a DIY Calming Kit to take with you can save the day. Make a box of your own calming tools that include sensory inputs, prompts for calm and positive thinking, and tools that work for you and your child.

Why do you need a Calming Kit?

The smallest things can be a trigger for big emotions.

One of our kids started refusing to leave the classroom to go to other lessons and activities at school. Having a Calming Kit helped provide the security and resilience to step out from the calm corner and try new things.

Going on holidays meant everything was different – new bed, different eating arrangements. Having a Calming Kit helped support emotional regulation when tired and dealing with change. It allowed for more quiet moments with activities that help regulate and calm.

Doing homework can be super frustrating. Having a Calming Kit at the dinner table meant sensory tools were at-the-ready to reduce the height of the big frustrating emotions.

What goes in a Calming Kit?

Your kid’s Calming Kit is completely custom to you – because every child responds slightly differently to sensory input.

One of our kids calms down quickest through touch. Their Calming Kit contains things that promote touch and hand movement like

  • playdough
  • squishy toys
  • soft teddy for hugging
  • colouring/drawing materials

Our other kid doesn’t like drawing or playdough. They calm down most effectively through

  • fidget toys that encourage fast finger movement like a game controller
  • heavy weighted materials for compression and deep pressure, like a cushion or big hug
  • big movements like punching, jumping or running that gets energy out quick

Through experimentation, you can work out what calming strategies work best for your child.

Build your own DIY Calming Kit

  1. Experiment with a variety of calming strategies to find what works best. Use the giant list of 63 Calming Activities to select what works – sensory, active or quiet.
  2. Build a custom calming kit and package it in a cardboard box or cloth bag for easy transport.
  3. Use it when the emotions are getting big!

Selecting items

Purpose/Sensory InputSuggested Items
Calm PromptsPrint out and cut up into strips the 63 Calming Activities. Place them in a jar as a ‘Jar of Calming’. Remove the items that don’t work well or don’t suit your child to curate a perfect list of calming ideas.
Make your own Steps to Calm poster/card to prompt calming before problem solving.
Print the 7 Ways to Breathe poster and place it in the kit to prompt different ways of breathing deeply to promote calm. Add a windmill, feather, teddy or bubble wand to encourage a particular way of deep breathing.
Print out the 50 Positive Self-Talk Statements for kids to encourage positive (not negative) self-talk.
Tactile Sensory InputA little container of playdough, plasticine or slime. Buy a store bought version, or make your own at home.
A squishy toy or stress ball for squeezing with the hands, or a fidget toy.
A soft toy or cushion for cuddling up to, or a weighted blanket/toy or even a smooth rock to hold in your hand.
Oral Sensory InputChew toy such as a silcone chew, or a homemade scrap fabric chew toy.
Mints, chewy lollies or gum for putting in the mouth and getting sensory input.
Calming ActivitiesMaterials for reading, colouring-in, drawing, journaling on a whiteboard or in the Resilience Journal, looking at glitter jars, find-it-bags or touch-sensory bowls

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