Most people will report suffering from anxious feelings in their childhood. It’s important to address anxiety in children and manage this in a fun and non-threatening way. Many creative worry activities can help during these crucial times and get kids to talk about their concerns. Promoting feeling happy and focusing on mental health gives anxious kids a feeling of being heard and understood. These activities give kids some control over their worries and promote letting go of worrisome emotions.
1. Worry Hearts
Help your kids navigate feelings of anxiety with this sweet worry heart craft. You will need a muslin favor bag, felt, glue, and scissors. When kids need reassurance, they can take a heart from the bag and hold it in their hands.
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2. Worry Jar
Simply re-purpose an empty jar and have your learners write their worry on a piece of paper and place it into the jar. When putting their worry in the jar, it’s important to visualize the worry going with the paper, and becoming trapped inside the jar!
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3. Worry Stones
For this activity, you will need; flour, salt, warm water, gel food coloring, and glitter to make salt dough. Ask your little ones to mold their stone- pressing gently at the sides. Leave the stones to dry overnight. Once dry, learners can rub their worry stones when they feel anxious as a soothing way to ease stress.
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4. Worry Doll Activity
Legend says to tell your worry doll your worries and they’ll take them away. Make these sweet guys with popsicle sticks, knitting yarn, craft glue, and a black marker.
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5. Worry Box
You can decorate your box as simply, or as intricately, as you wish but the basic shape of the box is made with a tissue box. Kids post their worries through the hole, or mouth, of the box. Littles may wish to paint their monster and decorate it with stickers and other embellishments.
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6. Make Your Own Worry Monster
For kids, the concept of worry monsters that take away their worries can bring a sense of peace and calm. Make this monster with a recycled container with a lid, green paper, colored sticky dots, two circles of white card, googly eyes, and a pen.
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7. Coping Skill Cards
These free printable coping skill cards and posters make the ideal resource to keep on hand at home or at school. Each pack includes one poster and one set of cards and teaches kids how to shrink their worries.
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8. Magical Calming Cards
Sometimes little kids can have BIG feelings. It’s our job as caregivers to help them navigate these emotions when they arise. These fun cards introduce coping strategies to help kids better manage their emotions; keeping everyone calm and happy!
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9. Five-Finger Breathing
Have learners hold their hand in front of them and with a finger, trace around their hand slowly. They can inhale as they trace up a finger and exhale when tracing down. A perfect calming exercise!
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10. CBT Flower Activity
This CBT flower activity compares thoughts to seeds and describes how they can grow into flowers or weeds depending on how we look after them. All you need is some red, green and blue paper, scissors, and a pen.
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11. Mindfulness Videos for Kids
It’s important to have quiet time. By practicing mindfulness, kids learn to be aware of their feelings and physical body. Taking time out to practice mindfulness techniques can break the cycle of anxiety in kids.
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12. UNO Emotions Activity
This game can easily be adapted to suit each child’s interests and needs. Play a regular game of UNO, but each time the deck color changes, the player must talk about an emotion linked to that color (e.g. red= angry, green = calm, etc.). A great way to get kids to open up!
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13. Happy Brain, Worry Brain
Using a flashlight, project their profile onto a large sheet of paper and draw around the shadow. Trace a mirror image. One side is the happy brain and one side is the worried brain. Kids fill in each side with writing and pictures from magazines to represent what both brains mean to them.
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14. DIY Stress Balls
You need balloons, flour, netting, and a funnel. Secure the end of the balloon around the funnel and then add the flour; be careful not to over-fill it! Secure the balloon with a knot and then wrap a circle of netting around it before securing this as well. Students can squeeze their creations whenever they feel worried.
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15. Buzzy Bee Breaths
Deep breathing skills teach kids to control their breathing- keeping them regulated and calm. In this bee breathing activity, have your learners take a slow breath in, before exhaling and making an “mmmm” sound like a buzzing bee.
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16. Pool Noodle Fidget
Simply cut a pool noodle into 2″ strips and use it as a cost-effective fidget toy in your classroom. Kids will love the simplicity of this and it will quickly help them to ease any feelings of worry.
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17. Rainbow Breathing Craft
Rainbows have a strong association with happiness. These colored strips are made for little fingers to slowly run over; taking a deep breath in as they do so. This helps calm kids when experience feelings of worry.
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18. Birthday Cake Breaths
Encourage your learners to imagine they are blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. This short, shallow breathing can help ground your kiddos when they feel out of control.
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19. Keep a Mindfulness Journal
Getting kids to keep a journal encourages them to write their feelings down which can be helpful during periods of worry. More visual learners may even benefit from adding doodles to their pages!
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20. Worry Worm
This cute little worm promises that everything will be alright. He’s the perfect size to keep in a pocket and hold when worries get too much. Squeezing something tight is a well-known grounding technique that works well for little ones.
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