Activity 4: Calming Beads
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Waxed linen, or elastic cord and large needles for all participants
- Assorted beads, at least 16 for each participant, and shallow trays
- One large wooden or metal bead for each participant
Preparation for Activity
- Cut 14-inch lengths of cord, one for each participant. Waxed linen cord is best, because children can string beads without using a needle.
- Place smaller beads in trays and set them at work tables.
- Place the special, larger beads in another tray.
- Make a sample set of Calming Beads using the directions below.
Description of Activity
The children create a strand of beads they can use to calm themselves when they feel angry and learn a tactile counting practice to use with it.
Affirm that is okay to get angry sometimes. However, when we stay angry we hurt ourselves. This activity is about making something we can hold onto instead of holding onto our anger.
Invite each child to choose a large bead. Distribute the lengths of cord. Point out the smaller beads on the work tables.
Explain, demonstrating as needed:
1. String one end of the cord through the starter bead.
2. Then string at least ten smaller beads on the cord, while keeping hold of the end.
3. Pull the cord through the starter bead again. Keep the cord loose enough so the beads can move back and forth, then knot the cord.
4. If the starter bead has a hole too large for the knot, tie another small bead on the end: String both ends of the cord through the smaller bead and tie a knot. You can add even more beads to this "tail."
When everyone is done, call children into a circle and invite them to admire one another's work. Show participants how to take the Calming Beads into their hands, looped over their fingers, and can finger along, bead-to-bead. Ask the children to sit quietly, closing their eyes if they wish, while you repeat these centering words:
As you breathe in, feel your body opening up with air. As you breathe out, feel yourself relaxing.
Breathe in and out as each bead passes through your finger.
Repeat the centering words a few times. Then say, in your own words:
Just like you can put yourself to sleep at night, you can also calm yourself when you are angry. These beads are a great way to help you. Keep them in your pocket or around your wrist to use whenever you need.
Invite participants to continue holding the beads and using them to count quietly. Ask the group:
- Do you think your Calming Beads might be helpful to you?
- Who can try in the coming week to use your Calming Beads when you get angry?
- What other ways do you use to help you remain calm?
Have children make extra sets of Calming Beads to include in the Fidget Objects basket.
Including All Participants
This activity requires manual dexterity and in some cases, patience. Large beads are much easier to string.