Calm down corners and take a break stations were created to cut down on classroom disruptions. Students learn to self regulate their emotions during class time rather than causing a disruption. Students recognize when they are overwhelmed and have the choice to visit the station filled with mindful, calming activities. You can create your own effective calm down corner using a 3 ring binder and a handful of printables. (No time to read now, pin this post for later.)
You will need a 3 ring binder with pockets, sheet protectors, dry erase markers, colored pencils, and anxiety reducing coloring sheets and coping prompts.
Create a corner in the room that is designated as a “calm down area” for students who need to escape from big emotions. Make it cozy with pillows and a comfortable chair. As an alternative, you can create a binder for every student to have at their desk.
Rules & Sign In Sheet in Front Pocket
In the front of the binder or in the front pocket, include clear guidelines for using the resource. Before introducing the binder, model those rules for students. For instance, show students how to quietly walk over to the calm down area without disrupting others. A small sand timer could be used to keep time. Place a sign in sheet in the front pocket of the binder so that you can keep track of who is using the binder. You can use this data to refer students to the counselor for additional intervention.
Coloring Pages in Back Pocket
Find coloring sheets that have intricate patterns for concentrated, mindful coloring. Place these in the back pocket of the binder.
Breathing and Mindful Prompts in Sheet Protectors
In the first pages of the binder, include breathing exercises and calming activities that students can do on their own. You can find several free printable resources on google by searching terms such as “breathing exercises for kids” and “mindful tips for kids.”
Mindful Worksheets in Sheet Protectors
Mindful worksheets such as labyrinths, mazes, puzzles, and brainteasers are important for calming students. You can find many of these free online with a quick google search. Place these reusable worksheets in sheet protectors and provide dry erase markers and wipes nearby.
If you have access to iPads and other devices, you can include headphones for students to listen to spa music and use calming apps. There are several mindful apps for students such as Calm and Headspace. The Calm App is free for educators. I also suggest introducing students to “The Honest Guys” channel on youtube. They has dozens of free mindful videos for calming.
Ready to Print Calming Kits
No time to make your own? This year, I made a couple of ready to go kits for calm down binders. The Mindful Monsters theme is geared towards lower elementary, while the Dreamcatcher theme is for upper elementary and middle school. (Pin this now to save for later.)
Leave a comment with your tips for a calm down corner.