Inside: Calm Down Corners are growing in popularity. So, I’ve compiled a list of Calm Down Corner Ideas for you to create one in a home or classroom.

When used properly, calm down corners are fantastic. Heck, I want to create one some place in my own home. The problem that I run into frequently, as an advocate, is that they are overused and used as punishment rather than for self regulation. Or, used as a moniker for a seclusion room.

When I view pictures of calm down corner ideas online or on Pinterest, I get feelings of “oh, I’d love to just chill out there!” Our kids should experience the same emotions. It should be a place that they want to go.

And, they should be used preemptively–not after the child is in crisis mode. Once a child is in crisis mode, they don’t want to be anywhere–not even in their own skin. It’s near impossible for them to process directions or emotions.

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calm down corner idea
One calm down corner idea is a giant pillow or beanbag.

Creating a calm down corner can be a great way to help children regulate their emotions and behavior, before a crisis hits. Whether in a classroom or at home, a designated space for calming down can be a helpful tool for children who are feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated.

Especially for teachers who create a busy classroom atmosphere with lots of visual clutter (sorry, most of us advocates hate them!), you can give the appearance of calming classroom decor by having a designated space.

A calm down corner can be customized to fit the needs and preferences of the child, but some common elements include soft lighting, comfortable seating, and sensory items such as fidget toys or weighted blankets. It can also be helpful to include visual cues such as posters or pictures with calming messages or breathing exercises.

There are many benefits to using a calm down corner, including improved self-regulation skills, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased focus and attention. By providing a safe and supportive space for children to calm down and process their emotions, a calm down corner can be a valuable tool for parents and educators alike.

pillows in a calm down corner

Essential Calm Down Corner Items

A calm down corner can be a great tool to help children regulate their emotions and behavior. But to make it effective, it’s important to have the right items in the space. Here are some essential calm down corner items that can help children calm down and feel more in control:

1. Comfort items

Comfort items can help children feel safe and secure. These can include stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, or soft toys. Having a comfortable space to sit or lie down can help children relax and calm down.

2. Sensory items

Sensory items can help children focus their attention and regulate their emotions. These can include fidget toys, stress balls, or sensory bottles. Sensory items can also provide a distraction from overwhelming emotions.

3. Visual Aids

Visual aids can help children understand their emotions and learn coping strategies. These can include emotion charts, calming pictures, or breathing exercises. Visual aids can also help children feel more in control of their emotions.

4. Educational Materials

Educational materials can help children learn about emotions and coping strategies. These can include books, worksheets, or posters. Educational materials can also help children feel more empowered to manage their emotions.

5. A Timer

A visual timer can help children understand how long they can stay in the calm down corner and when they can leave. A timer can also help children feel more in control of the situation.

By including these essential items in a calm down corner, children can have a safe and effective space to regulate their emotions and behavior.

A color coded visual timer is a great option for visual learners.
Visual timers are great for calm down corners.

Sensory Tools

Sensory tools can be a great addition to a calm down corner. They can help individuals regulate their emotions and provide a calming effect.

Here are some popular sensory tools to consider:

6. Fidget Toys

Fidget toys are small handheld objects that can be manipulated to help individuals focus and reduce anxiety. They are perfect for individuals who need to keep their hands busy and can help with stress relief. Some popular fidget toys include:

  • Tangle toys
  • Stress balls
  • Rubik’s cubes
  • Fidget spinners
  • Squishy toys
rainbow colored fidget toy
Fidget toys are quiet, fun and affordable. Click image to see list of fidget toys.

7. Sensory Bottles

Sensory bottles are a great visual tool for calming down. They are typically made with a clear plastic bottle filled with water and other materials, such as glitter or beads. When the bottle is shaken, the materials move around and create a calming effect. Here are some ideas for sensory bottles:

  • Glitter bottles
  • Ocean bottles (with sand and shells)
  • Nature bottles (with leaves and flowers)
  • Rainbow bottles (with colorful beads)

8. Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets are a popular sensory tool for individuals who need deep pressure stimulation. They provide a gentle pressure that can help individuals feel grounded and calm. Here are some things to consider when choosing a weighted blanket:

  • Weight: Choose a blanket that is about 10% of the individual’s body weight.
  • Size: Make sure the blanket is the right size for the individual.
  • Material: Choose a material that is comfortable and breathable.

Sensory tools can be a great addition to a calm down corner. They can help individuals regulate their emotions and provide a calming effect. Consider incorporating fidget toys, sensory bottles, and weighted blankets into your calm down corner.

Comforting Items

When creating a calm down corner, it’s important to include comforting items that can help soothe and calm a child’s distress. Here are two examples of comforting items that can be included in a calm down corner:

9. Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals can be a great addition to a calm down corner. They provide a soft, comforting texture that can help a child feel safe and secure. When selecting stuffed animals for a calm down corner, it’s important to choose ones that are soft and cuddly. Additionally, it can be helpful to choose animals that have a calming association, such as a teddy bear or a lamb.

10. Soft Blankets

Soft blankets are another great comforting item to include in a calm down corner. They provide a sense of warmth and security, which can help a child feel calm and relaxed. When selecting blankets for a calm down corner, it’s important to choose ones that are soft and cozy. Additionally, it can be helpful to choose blankets that have a calming color or pattern, such as blue or green.

In conclusion, including comforting items such as stuffed animals and soft blankets in a calm down corner can be a helpful tool for children to regulate their emotions and feel safe and secure.

11. Mindfulness Activities

Mindfulness activities can be a great addition to any calm down corner. These activities can help children and adults alike to focus their minds and calm their bodies. Here are some ideas for mindfulness activities that can be used in a calm down corner.

mindfulness activity for kids
Click image to see our full list of mindfulness activities for kids.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to help calm the mind and body. One popular breathing exercise is the “4-7-8” technique. To do this exercise, inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Repeat this cycle a few times to help calm down.

Here are two popular breathing exercises, with PDF printouts to use:

Another breathing exercise that can be used is “belly breathing”. To do this exercise, place one hand on your belly and breathe in slowly through your nose, feeling your belly rise. Then exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your belly fall. Repeat this cycle a few times.

Yoga Cards

Yoga cards can be a great addition to a calm down corner. These cards typically have pictures of yoga poses on them, along with instructions on how to do each pose. Children can choose a card and then try to do the pose, which can help them to focus their minds and calm their bodies.

Guided Meditations

Guided meditations can be a great way to help children and adults to calm their minds and bodies. There are many guided meditations available online that are specifically designed for children. These meditations typically involve visualizing a peaceful scene or imagining themselves in a calming situation.

During guided meditations, it is important to encourage children to focus on their breathing and to let go of any distracting thoughts. This can help them to relax and feel more calm.

Overall, mindfulness activities can be a great addition to any calm down corner. These activities can help children and adults to focus their minds and calm their bodies, which can be especially helpful during times of stress or anxiety.

Creative Activities

A calm down corner can be a place of creativity and expression. Engaging in creative activities can help children process their emotions and calm down. Here are some ideas for creative activities to include in a calm down corner:

11. Coloring Books

Coloring can be a relaxing and meditative activity for children. It can also help them focus their attention and distract from negative thoughts or feelings. Providing a variety of coloring pages with different themes and designs can keep children engaged and interested.

Some coloring page ideas to consider:

  • Mandalas
  • Animals
  • Nature scenes
  • Inspirational quotes

12. Drawing Materials

Drawing can be a great way for children to express themselves and process their emotions. Providing a variety of drawing materials can encourage creativity and experimentation. Some drawing materials to consider:

  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Chalk
  • Charcoal

13. Playdough

Playing with playdough can be a calming and tactile experience for children. It can also help them release pent-up energy and frustration. Providing a variety of playdough colors and tools can encourage imaginative play and exploration. Some playdough tools to consider:

  • Rolling pins
  • Cookie cutters
  • Plastic knives
  • Stamps
  • Texture plates

Overall, providing a variety of creative activities in a calm down corner can help children regulate their emotions and find a sense of calm.

Alternative Calm Down Corner Ideas

If you’re looking for some unique ideas for a calm down corner, consider creating a cozy reading nook, setting up an indoor tent, or providing bubble wrap for sensory play. These alternative options can provide a calming environment for children to relax and recharge.

Reading Nooks

Reading nooks can be a great addition to a calm down corner. They provide a quiet space for children to read, relax, and escape from the stress of the classroom. Here are some tips to create a cozy reading nook:

  • Use soft pillows and blankets to create a comfortable space
  • Provide a variety of books to cater to different interests and reading levels
  • Use low lighting or natural light to create a calming atmosphere
  • Add some plants or other natural elements to bring the outdoors inside

14. Indoor Tents

Indoor tents can also be a unique and calming addition to a calm down corner. They provide a cozy, enclosed space for children to retreat to when they need a break. Here are some tips for setting up an indoor tent:

  • Use a small tent or teepee that can fit comfortably in the calm down corner
  • Provide soft blankets and pillows inside the tent for comfort
  • Use fairy lights or other low lighting to create a calming atmosphere
  • Consider adding some sensory items, such as fidget toys or stress balls, inside the tent for additional sensory input

15. Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap can be a fun and unique sensory tool for a calm down corner. It provides a tactile experience that can be calming and satisfying for children. Here are some tips for using bubble wrap in a calm down corner:

  • Provide a roll of bubble wrap for children to play with
  • Encourage children to pop the bubbles slowly and mindfully to help them regulate their breathing and calm down
  • Use bubble wrap as a reward or incentive for completing tasks or behavior goals
  • Make sure to supervise children when using bubble wrap to ensure safety and prevent overstimulation

Overall, these alternative calm down corner ideas can provide a unique and calming environment for children to relax and recharge. Consider incorporating one or more of these ideas into your calm down corner to provide a variety of options for children to choose from.

Mindfulness

  1. Free Kindness Coloring Pages (PDF sheets)
  2. 26 Free Coping Skills Coloring Pages (PDF sheets)
  3. 23 Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Teens
  4. 16 Free Finger Tracing Calming Cards
  5. Valentine’s Day Yoga for All Ages: Free Printable Yoga Cards
  6. How to Calm Yourself Down: 5 Activities for Any Environment
  7. Triangle Breathing: A Simple Stress Relief Technique for All Ages (free worksheet!)
  8. Positive Self Talk: 10 Free Worksheets for Kids and Adults
  9. Do Chair Bands for ADHD work?
  10. 15 Affordable Calm Down Corner Ideas for School or Home
  11. What is the Star Breathing Technique for Kids?
  12. What is the 5 Finger Breathing Technique to Calm Kids?
  13. 115 Morning Meeting Questions and Ideas for All Ages
  14. Does mindfulness work?

Frequently Asked Questions

What items can be included in a calm down corner?

A calm down corner can include a variety of items that can help students regulate their emotions and calm down. Some common items that can be included are sensory toys, fidgets, stress balls, noise-cancelling headphones, calming music, books, and coloring sheets.

How can a calm down corner benefit students?

A calm down corner can benefit students by providing them with a safe and quiet space where they can regulate their emotions and calm down. It can help students learn self-regulation skills and reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom.

What are some rules that can be established for a calm down corner?

Some rules that can be established for a calm down corner include using quiet voices, respecting others’ space, using items appropriately, and only staying in the calm down corner for a designated amount of time.

What research supports the use of calm down corners?

Research has shown that calm down corners can be an effective tool for promoting emotional regulation in students. They have been found to reduce disruptive behavior, improve social-emotional skills, and increase academic engagement.

What should be included in a calm-down corner kit?

A calm-down corner kit can include items such as stress balls, fidget toys, sensory toys, noise-cancelling headphones, calming music, books, and coloring sheets. It can also include visual aids such as a timer or visual schedule to help students manage their time in the calm-down corner.

How can a calm down corner be adapted for students with autism?

A calm-down corner can be adapted for students with autism by incorporating sensory items that are specific to their needs. For example, weighted blankets or vests, chew toys, and visual aids such as a picture schedule can be included. It is important to consider the individual needs of each student when creating a calm-down corner.

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