A variety of tools is used to teach the FocusedKids curriculum. Everything from puppets to illustrate brain parts, to tools that visually and tactilely support learning the exercises. Some of these are printed materials available here to download, and others can be found on Amazon.
We feel these are integral to the success of kids in learning the concepts. At the minimum, you should have puppets, a chime, and the Hoberman Sphere. Having a variety of items to satisfy different learning styles, engage different senses, and to keep it interesting, is essential.
Ultimately we plan to offer a toolkit called the “Calm Down Basket” that can be ordered directly from the website. In the meantime, the following includes descriptions of the tools we use and why. Please know that what we include does not preclude adding additional items to your basket. Things you know help your child or students calm down should be included!
Chime – The chime is a great auditory tool to accompany breathing to calm and focus. We encourage teachers and parents to use this tool regularly throughout the day, at times of transition or during a moment of stress. Click here to order.
Hoberman Sphere – This a favorite of children. It is a colorful, moving visual prop that can help children focus outside themselves. Children this age often need an external cue to assist them in focusing. Even babies respond to this tool, mimicking their parent in breathing! Click here to order.
Glitter Jar – We use this as a metaphor for what happens in our brains when we are overwhelmed. Watching the glitter settle is a great way for kids and adults to calm and re-focus. Click here to order
Pinwheel – Blowing a pinwheel at different speeds gives us the experience of how we can control our breath. Most of us use very shallow breathing throughout the day. Bringing our breath deep into our bellies to make the pinwheel spin as long as possible, versus a quick, short breath are very different experiences. We quickly get a sense of what helps calm us and what doesn’t. Click here to order.
Squish Ball – Is a physical tool for releasing aggressive energy. It stretches, twists, squeezes into a bubble and hangs by a string. One little girl even tied it to the Calm Down Basket! It is important to release energy and do it in a safe, non-harming way. Click hereto order.
Small Teddy – For belly-breathing, placing a small stuffed animal on a child’s belly while breathing allows her to experience the physical sensation of the breath. It’s important to make sure she is breathing and not just moving her tummy up and down! Click here to order.
Puppets – Play is how children work out what is going on in their lives. Puppets, especially ones they have learned to associate with the brain parts, give them the opportunity to dialog about the difficulty they are having. For example, the Guard Dog can talk to the Wise Owl about what he feels, and the Wise Owl can, in turn, advise how to solve the problem. The child gains a sense of mastery by solving the problem. Click here to order.
Coloring Book – The world has a plethora of coloring books for all ages and all purposes. The one thing that is constant is that coloring quietly is very calming and requires focus. We made our coloring book, and additional pages to reinforce the concepts of healthy social-emotional skills. We encourage teachers and parents to make copies of the pages and use them in moments when we need to settle. Click here to order.
Calm Down Corner:
Calm down corners are a key concept in the FocusedKids program and are extremely effective at all levels. They give students a place to re-focus and use self-regulation skills they are learning and practicing daily from the FocusedKids program. They also function as a positive behavior strategy. Calm down corners work especially well in preschool and elementary classrooms. At this age, though, children do require explicit instructions that support successful mastery of self-regulation skills. Below, see a photo of a recently installed calm down corner in one of our developmental preschool classes.
Don't miss the child using the breithing ball inside the cube!
Click here for the calm down corner lesson.