Updated: Nov 7, 2021
Often when people think of calm-down activities they think of things that involve quiet and stillness. This is exactly what many people do need to calm their brain, ground themselves and regulate. But, for lots of people, especially children, that grounding and regulation comes from moving.
If you are a teacher or school support worker, consider how you can incorporate some movement into transitions. You're probably already very good at noticing when children start to get restless and wriggly. If you see this behaviour, chances are not much learning is 'sticking,' so it might be time for either the whole class or select wriggly children to get up and stretch, do a 5 min brain-break dance or think of a way to conduct some of the lesson whilst everyone stands or moves.
I love the idea of having a watering can in the classroom ready to give a child when you notice they're starting to become agitated. Asking them to fill it up then water the school vegetable garden or plants can be very calming as it involves the child holding something weighted, walking and being outside in nature. When they return, you can either chat with them or they can get back to focusing on learning.
When a child is dysregulated due to experiencing big emotions, allowing them the opportunity to move and expel some energy, might be just the thing they need so they can focus and talk about what happened.