Inside you’ll find: What to put in a calm down bin, a travel sensory bin, and in a calm down corner or area. Sensory calming toys galore!
When kids are having a meltdown, they need us to equip them with resources to help regain control. When you’re in the middle of a sensory meltdown, it can be very helpful to have calming sensory toys on hand.
I’ve broken these suggestions down into three categories.
- The first are toys that are easy to keep with you in your purse for use out in public.
- Next are the classic calm down bin suggestions, a little too much to always have with you when you’re out and about, but easy to bring to your child where ever they are in your home when they’re having a hard time sensory wise.
- And lastly, there are some ideas on how to create a calming corner or area of your home for your child to retreat to when the sensory world is just too much!
Please remember, you don’t have to have EVERYTHING to be a significant help to your child. Try to have something that will help each of the senses. And most importantly, remember that proprioception is the key regulator to all the other senses, so the more proprioception they can get, the better!
What to Put In a Travel Calm Down Bin (ie your purse!)
Sensory Chew Necklace or a Chewie for short!
Perfect for oral AND proprioceptive sensory input! My boys love this style for the coolness factor, but there are TONS of options to choose from. And don’t forget to consider how chewy they are. Some kids prefer something with a lot of give while others want something super tough. Just because they don’t like one chewy doesn’t mean they won’t find a chewy they like.
These are great because they shrink to fit into most purses. Or if your child doesn’t mind ear plugs, that’s a super portable option!
If you haven’t heard of the Wilbarger Therapy technique, search for a video demonstrating it on YouTube. It’s a HIGHLY effective technique to help children with tactile defensiveness because it provides not just tactile sensory input, but proprioception! VERY CALMING!
Don’t forget about the sense of smell and the power it can have over a child. These diffuser necklaces are super cool and you can use whatever essential oils help your child regulate!
These little stretchy strings can be pulled up to eight feet long! Great proprioception that doubles as a fidget!
This is a fun QUIET fidget that doesn’t draw attention to itself. It simply looks like a key chain, but it can flip and roll around in a child’s hand, giving them the movement they crave!
These are so simple, but SO helpful that has the wiggles or is stressed out! These little guys feel like marshmallows and by squeezing them, kids get lots of calming proprioceptive input.
I loved playing with bubble wrap as a kid. Ok I STILL do! But this “bubble wrap” can be popped over and over and fits on your key chain. Mind blown!
What to Include in a Calm Down Bin
Since these tools will be used at home, give them a chewy that isn’t as disguised. This chewy as many different textures to choose from. Plus, the long arm helps reach the back molars.
We LOVE this variety pack of fidgets. I find that each kid gravitates to different things and having a couple options is a good idea. The blue ball with the water beads inside was MY personal favorite.
This weighted lap pad is great for getting proprioception. But sometimes it can be hard to get kids to hold still long enough to let the weight do its thing. That’s why Laki Kid made this weighted lap pad writable with a water pen that can be used over and over again!
Help your child calm down and breathe by providing mezmorizing visual input via these glitter wands or make your own DIY calm down bottles.
Noise Cancelling Headphones w/Bluetooth
These headphones can really silence the world around you! I like that it has a blue tooth connection so you can play your child’s favorite calming song from a distance without having to deal with cords.
I like to keep a spray bottle in our calm down bin so my boys can decide if they want to spray their favorite essential oils in the air, or not. Vetiver is a go to for us.
See above for information on why the wilbarger brush is a must have.
This putty is great for tactile seekers. It’s great for fidgeting hands. AND it’s great for proprioception as the fingers have to work hard to dig the little objects out.
What to Put In a Calm Down Room or Area
With so many sensory tools out there, I think a pod swing should be a top priority. Swings provide LOTS of vestibular input, as well as proprioceptive. I like the pods because of the comfort of the enclosure. It also can swing in multiple planes. This is important since spinning is usually alerting, while front to back rocking is typically calming. (Follow your child’s lead as vestibular input can be very finicky!)
Weighted blankets almost seem to good to be true. Try one yourself and you’ll be a believer within seconds of their calming effect. I sleep with one every night!
Lighting is a big deal. Fluorescent lights can be irritating to many folks while twinkle lights are full of warm (and a bit of magic). Set the tone of your calming corner with these lights.
String Lights Color Changing
Or try these incredible color changing lights! Kids with sensory needs often feel out of control, so letting them have control of the color of the whole calm down area could be HUGE!
Essential Oil Diffuser
An essential oil diffuser can help the whole sensory haven feel secure. Plus this one has a cool light feature if you want to kill two birds with one stone!
These pillows are captivating! Run your finger along it to fill the sequence and “draw” on the pillow while getting a delightful tactile experience. Also good for hugging/proprioception.
Your child will need a comfortable place to sit, and this bean bag can double as a crash pad which is so so so good for proprioception. Plus, the way the chair hugs you is perfect for regulating after a sensory meltdown.
If ear plugs or head phones aren’t being used, this white noise machine can drown out the other annoying auditory input from the rest of the house. Multiple sound options to again give your child control over their environment.