Breathing is one of the effective yet most often forgotten strategies to help regulate your sensory system. Most kids overlook breathing because, to be quite honest, breathing can be BORING! The last thing a child wants to hear when they are angry, stressed, anxious, or fidgety are the words “just slow down and breath” because in that moment, it’s so difficult to do. Learn how these 3 simplistic yet motivating straw games lead to calmer breathing. Other games you mish to try include a ‘Make Photo Puzzle‘. I’ll have more information on this in a future post!
Game #1- Fill the cup
Start by scattering several small scrap pieces of paper around an empty cup. Instruct your child to use the straw to suck the paper onto one end of the straw and blow it out into the cup. For a richer sensory experience, position the child prone (on their belly) over a therapy ball to optimize the sensory benefits. This position will provide proprioception input (helps with calming), vestibular input (help with body coordination/movements), weight bearing on hands (helps with calming and hand strength), and deep pressure (helps with calming).
Game #2- Fill in the Picture
Draw a large shape or picture on a paper and fill in the space with glue. Next, scatter small pieces of paper around the picture and ask the child to breath in through the straw to suck up the paper and then blow out to drop the paper off the straw into the glue. Continue until all the pieces have covered the glue spaces and the picture has been filled in.
Game #3- Relay Races
Start with several small pieces of paper cut into squares and scatter them on a desk or table. Next place a small box several feet away from the table. Have the child use the straw to suck up the paper and walk it to the box and blow the paper out into the box. Walk back to the desk and repeat until all of the pieces are in the box.
Again, when your child is upset, anxious, stressed, or irritable, use simple games such as these to help them calm down. Too much cognitive stimulation will likely only cause increased stress, anxiety, or frustration. Try these breathing games in conjunction with other calming activities such as calming joint compressions, or calming cookie dough to maximize results. If after attempting calming games does not routinely provide relief for your child’s anxiety, stress, or frustration, you may want to consider seeking professional therapy services. Professional, real-life therapists are treating kids online, find out more from here about Better Help.
Caution- As with all activities on this blog, supervision is recommended for this activity. In the unlikely event that your child starts feeling dizzy, light-headed, or having difficulty breathing, stop the activity and seek medical attention.