25 Calming Activities for Toddlers to Help Them Focus and Calm Down

When kids are feeling over-stimulated, stressed, or anxious, it can be tough to get them to focus and calm down. However, there are many activities that can help!

In this blog post, I’m sharing 25 calming activities for toddlers that can help them relax and focus. From water play to puzzles, these activities will help your child de-stress and focus on the task at hand.

25 Calming Activities for Toddlers @ AStorybookDay.com

Does this sound familiar? Your little one is bouncing off the walls – literally! And nothing you seem to do gets him to calm down and relax. Or maybe your child is feeling anxious and is struggling with big emotions.

Whatever is going on, having a playbook of calming activities for your child that will help him calm down, focus, and relax is always a good thing!

25 Calming Activities for Toddlers

This list of fun but calming activities is a great resource for those days when you need to quiet your child down – and give yourself a break.

1. Water Play 

Water is a great way to help your little ones calm down. Whether you give your child a bath, let them splash in a little pool outside, or simply let them soak their feet in a dishpan of water, you’ll find that water can really help your child calm down. Splashing in puddles after a rain shower is always a great way to let your child have fun and calm down.

2. Painting 

When I was a child, I loved painting. It’s a quiet activity that gives kids a chance to express their creativity in a fun and unique way. Painting can also be a form of art therapy. Painting can help kids release their big emotions in a healthy way! And you may even inspire them to paint more often just for fun. And a great alternative, if you want to avoid a mess for younger children, is the paint with water books and mats.

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3. Quiet Book 

I loved using quiet books with my kids when they were little. There are patterns available if you’d like to make your own quiet books or you can buy them from places like Amazon or Etsy! You’ll often find quiet books have sensory play inside them, making them even more calming for your kids.

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4. Toy Car Wash

Water can be such a good stress reliever for kids. And kids of all ages love playing with water! You can set up a car washing station for them to give their toy cars and trucks a bath. And if you have any of those large toy cars your kids like to ride in, they could have a life-size pretend car wash! This would be a great activity in the summertime.

5. Dishes 

As much as you may not enjoy doing the dishes, toddlers on the other hand love to wash dishes. Have your little one wash the dishes when they need a break to calm down. Just make sure each item they wash won’t break and is toddler safe. You’ll also be teaching them about being responsible.

6. Yoga 

Sure, you’re well aware of how yoga can help YOU stretch and build strength. But did you know kids can do yoga too? There are all kinds of informative and instructional YouTube Videos to teach your kids how to do different yoga poses.

7. Sand Play 

If you have a sand box, or a tub of kinesthic sand, you can use sand as a way to calm your toddler down then they are over stimulated or need a distraction. Playing in the sand can be a great sensory activity too!

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8. Gardening 

During the warmer months, gardening can help bring your child’s attention around when they need a distraction. Digging in the dirt, planting seeds, watering plants, are all great ways to help your child relax and calm down. They’ll also feel good knowing they are helping something grow!

9. Bubbles, Bubble Wrap, and Pop Its

Even adults love to pop bubble wrap so it’s no surprise that it’s a great calming activity for children. And there’s a reason those Pop Its have become so popular with kids! They are similar in nature to bubble wrap with a similar sensory experience. Another option would be to blow bubbles and let your little one catch the bubbles!

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10. Pom-Poms and Pipe Cleaners 

If you do crafts with your kids from time to time, you probably already have a stash of pom poms and pipe cleaners in your house. They have a great feel – all fuzzy and soft – so there’s a lot of sensory experience going on when you give your child one of these to play with. These are great craft supplies to keep on hand and they can keep your child occupied for a long time.

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11. Playdough 

Playdough was always one of my kids favorite quiet activities. If you make your own playdough, you can add relaxing essential oils like lavender, jasmine, or vanilla to give it a wonderful scent. Doing that would add another layer of sensory experience for your child as they play and creatively express themselves.

Playdough Recipes:

12. Wooden Blocks and Legos

This is another toy that always kept my kids quiet and busy for long periods of time. Building blocks help them concentrate, focus, and play quietly by themselves or with a sibling or adult. If your child gets easily frustrated when blocks get knocked down, this activity might not work, but for a lot of kids, blocks are a great activity to keep in mind.

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13. Pillow Forts 

There’s something so magical about building a fort with pillows, blankets, chairs and tables. My brother and I used to do this all the time as kids and I have so many great memories of my kids doing the same. It can be even more fun when mom or dad join the fun!

14. Paint the Shower or Bathtub

You can easily make homemade bathtub paint with a little bit of food coloring and either shaving cream or whipped cream. Let your little one paint the shower or bathtub. It’s fun. It’s messy. It’s easy to clean up!

15. Scavenger Hunt 

Scavenger hunts are so much fun for kids of all ages. Little ones are no exception. You can create your own scavenger hunt or print one online. Here are a few to get your started:

16. Tape Race Cars 

Help you child use painter’s tape to tape a race track on the floor! Your little one can race their cars all over the house and will likely occupy their imaginations for a long time, helping them to focus and relax while playing.

17. Fizzy Ice Cubes

When it’s warm outside, making fizzy ice cubes is such a fun activity (science experiment). All you need to do is freeze ice cube with a few drops of food coloring. Once frozen, take them outside on a plate or in a dishpan and sprinkle baking soda on top. Let your child squirt vinegar over the colored ice and watch as the vinegar and baking soda bubbles and fizzes together to create lots of colorful patterns.

18. Shape Sorters 

Shape sorters are a great activity for little ones that help them focus and relax. You can buy shape sorters or make your own with a paper plate or bowl, a marker, and some wooden blocks.

19. Painting the House with Water 

It doesn’t take a lot to make toddlers happy and letting them “paint” the house with a bucket of water and a paint brush is a lot of fun. They can pretend to be painters and use their imaginations.

20. Reusable Stickers 

There are lots of books that have reusabe stickers and window clings or window stickers would also be a fun calming activity for your little one. Toddlers love stickers!

21. Puzzles 

I remember my daughter Emily especially loving to do puzzles from a very young age. Make sure the puzzle you give your little one is age appropriate and help them if needed. You don’t want your child to get frustrated. Puzzles can be very relaxing and calming for kids – as they help children concentrate and focus.

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22. Color Matching Game 

Color matching games are easy to put together at home with things you have on hand. You could use colored buckets, construction paper, or poster board with colors drawn on. Use your imagination! Have your child find items from around the house that match the colors.

23. Stack Cups or Blocks

Little ones love to stack cups or containers and then knock them down. Making up games like “how many can you stack before they fall” are fun for toddlers!

24. Glitter Bottle 

Glitter bottles are a popular calming activity. You can make a glitter bottle or buy one that’s already made. Save them for when your child is upset or needs to calm down. They can be a lot of fun to make!

25. Nature Walk 

Hands down my favorite thing to do with my kids when they were little is take nature walks. We still like to take nature walks! Enjoying nature with your child is a great way to calm down, relax, and focus on the beautiful creation around them.

More Calming Activities

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of 25 calming activities for kids. These ideas are a great starting point, but don’t be afraid to get creative and adapt them to your own child’s interests and needs.

Hopefully, you have a few new ideas for calming your child down. These activities should help keep your child busy and relax them for a bit.

And if you have any other favorite ways to help kids focus and calm down, please share them in the comments below!

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