After a morning of hard work in school, kids need some time to let off some steam. That's why recess and lunchtime are important parts of the day. However, after an hour or so of running around and playing, it can be tough for kids to calm down and get back to work.
This becomes a challenge to teachers, who now have to find a way to get kids refocused on learning. In between preparing your lessons and managing your classroom, it can be tough to find the time to come up with strategies to help kids get back on track.
Thankfully, there are a few easy calming activities for kids that you can try. To engage unfocused students after lunch, consider incorporating after-lunch activities like quick games, outdoor walks, or sports. For students who need a calming activity, mindfulness exercises or gentle yoga stretches can help them relax and refocus. Similarly, after recess cool down activities like deep breathing, meditation, or journaling can help students transition back to the classroom and focus on their learning. Soft lighting, soothing music, and sensory activities like playing with putty or stress balls can also aid in calming students down.
10 Calming Activities to Settle Kids Down
It's been a long day at school and now it's time for lunch or recess. But, after all that energy expended, the kids are wired and won't calm down. Here are 10 calming activities to help them relax and recharge.
1. Create a Calming Atmosphere with Soothing Music
According to Healthline, music can have a powerful effect on our mood and can help to reduce stress levels. There are many different genres of music that can be calming, so experiment until you find something that works for your child.
Classical music, nature sounds, and even certain types of pop music can be soothing and can help kids to feel more relaxed. If you don't have access to a stereo or speaker, there are many apps and websites that offer streaming calm music for free.
After a few minutes, start to transition back into the school day and begin working on their next task. Hopefully, they will be more focused and able to complete their work successfully.
2. Have Them Practice Handwriting
One of the best calming activities for kids is to have them practice their handwriting. This doesn't mean hours of tedious worksheets; instead, try giving them a few minutes to draw or write whatever they want.
Not only is it a productive way to spend some time, but the act of physically forming letters with a pencil can help to calm and focus the mind. This is also a great way for kids to improve their fine motor skills.
Plus, it gives them a chance to focus on something other than the energy-draining activity they just did.
3. Practice Yoga With Your Students
According to Harvard Health Publishing, yoga is a great way to get kids up and moving, while also helping them to focus and relax. There are many benefits of yoga for kids, including improving flexibility and strength, increasing body awareness, and promoting calmness and relaxation.
Yoga can also be a great way to bond with your students. If you're looking for a fun and calming activity to do with your students, try incorporating some yoga into your lesson plan.
Start by teaching them some basic poses, such as downward dog and warrior III. Then, have them follow along as you lead them through a short yoga sequence. Finish up by having them lay in savasana (corpse pose) to encourage relaxation.
4. Do Some Brain Games
A brain game is one of the fun and effective calming activities for kids to settle down. In fact, Berta Rezik, M.D., a family medicine specialist at Henry Ford Health says that brain games can help engage a kid’s mind and facilitate a sense of well-being and accomplishment.
In addition, brain games help to reduce stress and improve concentration by providing a distraction from whatever is bothering them.
There are a wide variety of brain games available, so it's easy to find one that's appropriate for your child's age and interests. Some popular choices include Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and memory games. Best of all, brain games can be played both offline and online, so they're always readily available.
5. Play Interesting Educational Videos
In today's fast-paced world, it's important for kids to have opportunities to relax and recharge. One way to provide this opportunity is by playing educational videos in the classroom.
Videos can be a great way to introduce new concepts, review material, or simply provide a break from more active activities. Best of all, when carefully selected, they can be both educational and entertaining.
There are a variety of ways to incorporate videos into the classroom. For example, they can be used as part of a morning routine or during transition times. They can also be played during centers or as part of a whole-class lesson.
One of the most helpful calming activities for kids is coloring. Coloring requires concentration and focus, which can help kids settle down and get ready to learn. And because it's a quiet activity, it can also help kids wind down after a noisy lunch period.
Through it, children can express their creativity. This can be a fun break from traditional schoolwork, and it can also help prepare kids for upcoming tests or projects.
There are plenty of coloring books available that feature favorite characters from movies, TV shows, and books. Or, you can print out coloring pages from the internet. Whatever you choose, be sure to have plenty of crayons or markers on hand. And don't forget to set a timer so that kids don't spend too long on their project.
7. Have Kids Read Independently
One of the best ways to get kids calm and focused after lunch or recess is to have them read independently. This can be done with a book, ebook, or even an online article.
Just a few minutes of reading can help kids transition from being hyper and outdoors to being calm and indoors. When kids are able to choose their own reading material, they are more likely to be engaged and interested in what they are reading.
This makes it more likely that they will stick with it for the recommended amount of time. In addition, reading is a great way to improve vocabulary, learn new information, and build critical thinking skills. So not only will this activity help to calm kids down, but it will also help them learn and grow.
8. Teach Calming Breathing Exercises
After lunch or recess, kids can often be antsy and full of energy. To help them settle down, try teaching them some calming breathing exercises.
Start by having them take a few deep breaths in and out. Then, have them close their eyes and focus on their breath. Have them count to four as they breathe in, and then count to four as they breathe out. Once they get the hang of it, have them increase the count to eight.
Breathing deeply and slowly like this will help to calm their body and mind. If they start to feel fidgety, have them focus on their breath and count again. With a little practice, your students will be able to use these breathing exercises to calm themselves down whenever they need to.
9. Engage Kids in a Read-Aloud
One of the most effective calming activities for kids to settle down and refocus their energy is to engage them in a read-aloud. Not only does this provide a much-needed break from work, but it also gives kids a chance to relax and “unwind” with a favorite book.
If possible, try to choose a book that is calm and soothing, with peaceful illustrations. This will help to create a calming atmosphere in the classroom and encourage kids to sit quietly and listen.
In addition, be sure to take your time reading the story, using expressive voices and gestures to bring the characters to life. By doing so, you can help kids transition smoothly from lunch and recess back to their studies.
10. Gamify Pre-Class Activities
Gamifying pre-class activities through Rolljak can be an excellent way for students to settle down. There are a lot of ways you can use Rolljak in your lessons. With it, you can create quizzes, icebreakers, and more.
By turning simple tasks into fun competitions, you can help your students burn off excess energy and refocus their attention.
For example, you could create a Rolljak quiz about the day's lesson plan or have students race to see who can put away their materials the fastest. With a little creativity, you can help your students wind down and prepare for a productive afternoon of learning.
Implementing a calm activity after lunch or recess can be very beneficial for children. It can help them to refocus and prepare for the rest of the day. There are a number of different activities that can be used, such as reading, writing, drawing, or listening to music.
The important thing is to find calming activities for kids that works for each of them. Some children may respond well to one activity, while others may need to try several before finding the right fit.
Ultimately, taking a few minutes to calm down after lunch or recess can help children to be more productive and engaged in the afternoon.