Calming sensory activities for 3-5-year-olds abound. There are plenty of activities for soothing anxious, frustrated, or distressed toddlers.
Having kids with calm, cheerful, and less reactive personalities alleviates the stress associated with being a parent. It should be noted, however, that not all children exhibit the same type of personality. Most toddlers become anxious and cry at the slightest inconvenience or discomfort.
Note: Identify what is causing kids emotional stress before engaging them in sensory activities.
It is not advisable to distract them with stress-relieving activities without first identifying the underlying cause of their emotional distress.
Here are some things to look for:
- Dehydration [children’s tiny frame and frequent urination make them susceptible to dehydration]
- Hunger cues
- Check the body for insect bites or wounds
- Pains and discomforts that require attention
- Diaper rashes
- An improperly fitted diaper, etc.
Some Kids Can Easily Get Agitated
Some kids have a constant stream of energy and become frustrated when they can’t find an outlet to channel their drive and enthusiasm.
They can also get easily frustrated over small things, which eventually leads to frequent angry outbursts and irritability.
The Benefits of Sensory Play for Raising Calm Children
The benefits of sensory play to soothe children’s anxiety cannot be overstated.
Sensory play can ease children’s jitters and discomfort as it promotes mindfulness. Thus, it enables kids to divert their attention to multisensory activities that stimulate their senses, relieving their stress and agitation.
Soothing textures, smells, and sounds can calm a restless child, allowing him to feel more relaxed and comfortable in his surroundings.
Additionally, not only do these sensory activities help calm young children, but they also help develop kids’ cognitive, emotional, and social skills.
They also boost children’s fine motor skills by providing avenues to refine and hone their hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and physical stamina.
What Are Sensory Activities?
“Sensory activities are any tasks that engage a person’s senses” – study.com
7 Senses Children Can Develop Through Sensory Play
We are more familiar with the usual five basic senses but there are other lesser-known human senses vital to our kid’s well-being, the vestibular and proprioception functions.
To know more about them, here is a link to an article we published that discusses in detail these two little-known but equally vital human senses [found at the bottom of the linked article, vestibular and proprioception functions. ]
So, if the slightest inconvenience sets off your toddlers’ tantrums and crying fits, here are sensory activities that can help ease their agitation and distress.
5. Calming Sensory Activities for 3-5-Year-Olds
1. Let them hear the sounds of the natural world [sense of hearing]
Sometimes, kids need a change of environment. Keeping kids cooped up at home for hours on end can make them feel agitated. Why not take them outside for some fresh air? They can enjoy the greenery, as well as the sounds of bees and birds roaming nearby.
The gentle, meditative rhythms of nature can have a soothing effect on the brain, thereby reducing toddlers’ anxiety and stress.
Examples of sounds derived from nature are as follows:
- The relaxing sound of leaves rustling
- A bullfrog croaking
- The sound of raindrops on the roof
- The melody of chirping birds
- Crickets chattering
- Buzzing bees in the yard, etc.
Aside from the soothing sounds they produce, nature sounds also distract toddlers from negative emotions by prompting them to focus on the present moment.
This is because sounds emanating from nature help foster a sense of connection with the natural world. They offset the perverse effects stress and anxiety can inflict on a child’s mind and body.
2. Homemade playdough to help toddlers release pent-up emotions
Playdough can help calm toddlers by providing a sensory-stimulating experience.
Have you seen adults engaging in boxing workouts as a means of releasing repressed emotions, such as anger and frustration?
It is almost the same with young kids releasing pent-up emotions by participating in clay-sculpting activities.
The process of shaping, pinching, and pressing dough can be deeply healing for children as it releases trapped energy and stress-related emotions.
Furthermore, play dough gives children a chance to express themselves freely and creatively, which helps deviate their attention from any uncomfortable feelings they may be experiencing.
Here is a guide on how to make edible play dough for your kids.
3. Books With Colorful Illustrations [sense of sight and hearing]
You can read to your children using books with colorful and visually appealing illustrations that delight the eyes and mind.
Children are fascinated by the dazzling visuals around them. Hence, captivating images of animals can help divert their attention from negative emotions.
If the child is especially restless, only show soothing colors like blue and green and make your voice soft and enchanting at the same time.
Children enjoy being read to by their parents since it creates a sense of closeness and security. It helps foster a peaceful and relaxing environment conducive to their well-being, thus they feel calmer and less stressed.
4. Animal magnets are effective at reducing toddlers’ anxiety and restoring a sense of calm when agitated.
You can give them animal magnets they can attach to magnetic surfaces. The magnet’s textures and colors can help stimulate their sense of touch and sight. Additionally, hand-eye coordination is enhanced as they attempt to pick and affix magnets to the wall.
5. Container play or posting is one of the best calming sensory activities for 3-5-year-olds
This activity is quite simple. In order to keep them calm and entertained, you can provide them with a myriad of colorful objects to stack or toss in plastic containers.
Each container will hold objects of the same color.
Through this activity, they will not only feel calmer and more collected due to the activity’s meditative nature, but they can also enhance their eye-hand coordination, stimulate their sense of touch and sight, and boost their cognitive development.
Note: Keep an eye on your toddlers as they often chew on small items. In addition, many toys on the market contain harmful chemicals, so make sure to buy toys free of toxic substances.
Key Takeaways: Calming Sensory Activities for Toddlers are necessary to soothe agitated children
- Children’s Anxiety and stress can be alleviated through activities that engage their senses
- Providing children with tactile objects and materials to interact with enables them to focus on the present and relieve their stress and anxieties.
- Allowing children to experience their surroundings through their senses as they try to make sense of the world around them can be soothing.
- Calming sensory activities for 3-5-year-olds must be a part of your children’s daily routine if they are prone to agitation and emotional distress.