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5-10 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


A range of low-cost materials


To help students focus, calm down or bring up their energy, and practice self-regulation

  • Encourage students to play with materials in the calming box from time to time, especially when they (or you) are having difficulty regulating their emotions. 
  • This practice can be self-directed, or educator directed. 

NOTE: Set common expectations with the students for the use of the calming box.

  • A range of low cost materials that students perceive as calming. Consider including a flipchart with picture cues of things students can do in the calming space. 
  • Low-cost materials for calming could include: pipe cleaners, squishy balls, pinwheels, theraputty, weighted frogs, pencil crayons, colouring pages, optical illusion books, find hidden object books, and/or origami. 
  • Complementary practice: Calming spaces/havens (Stress management and coping skills)
  • Can be used with older students if the materials are age appropriate (e.g., fidget toys, mindful colouring pages, worry stones) and/or use a calming idea jar with several suggested activities for calming. 
  • You may wish to encourage students to bring things from home that they find calming.  
  • Students understand the box is for when they are feeling anxious. Some may wish to use it all the time, so establishing criteria for using the box is important (e.g., being sensitive to student needs, some may require personalized objects). 

Having designated space or time for calming in the classroom normalizes emotions, and allows students to manage emotionsso they can refocus and engage in learning (Blair & Diamond, 2008; Diamond, Barnett, Thomas, & Munro, 2007). 

Blair, C., & Diamond, A. (2008). Biological processes in prevention and intervention: The promotion of self regulation as a means of preventing school failure. Development and Psychopathology, 20(3), 899-911. doi:10.1017/S0954579408000436 

Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007). Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control. Science, 318(5855), 1387-1388.