We all have to blow off steam and we all do it appropriately and inappropriately at times, whether its arguing with our partners as adults or throwing a tantrums as toddlers. We all have different ways of doing it appropriately too; some enjoy a glass of wine, a bath, some chocolate, a book, the gym, yoga. Kids are the very same.
Now having kids myself it has become more and more apparent that sometimes after playing by the rules they need to let loose. What do you mean playing by the rules I hear you say, the rules of school, society and community all new and novel to them. Don’t shout, run, talk, eat, drink, toliet now, colour here, stand there, hold hands, read this and so on. Its a level of demand and compliance in an environment they feel compelled to conform! So after a few jam packed hours of learning societies expectations of you, you may have a little steam to blow off!
As parents we need to facilitate that decompression or they will have to source an outlet themselves! Sometimes they’ll seek it and it will be accomplished in an “appropriate” way and sometimes they wont and we then as parents find ourselves trying to manage unwanted behaviour.
Below is my list of post school steam blowing activities and tips on how to provide this outlet they seek. I cover rainy days and dry days, physical and mental realise whatever that little person needs.
Top Tip: Vibes are important too so be fun and silly. Remind them they’re not in school now and you’re not the teacher so lets be silly. Lets play;
The following are gross motor activities that can help with frustrations and help physically regulate a child all in the hopes of reducing inappropriate behaviour and nurturing their needs.
Trampoline: Jumping is always a winner try; Count and bounce, jump to five little monkeys, bounce to baby shark. Add a parachute, a ball whatever they fancy and will get them involved. We have a mini trampoline that we can bring inside on rainy days and it has proved very useful and it was inexpensive. Jumping on the bed is a great alternative here too if you have no trampoline but only if you too can let loose and either let it happen or even join in 😉
Tunnel fun; These are great to get them crawling and climbing. Pets can play too and they make a great addition to roadworks and traffic jam play which is a big deal in this house.
Climb a tree: olden but golden and a good activity to practice some risk taking too!
Two wheels or four; scooters, bikes, scuttle bugs, push cars, trikes you name it they all provide great feedback and freedom for this age group and can give such a great sense of freedom and independence.
Wobble Board: These can provide a slow comforting rock or fidget or a full on sensory experience the bigger and faster you move!
Top Tip: let them use bikes/vehicles some where really safe like a closed park or gated yard. It avoids you having to apply rules and reprimands when your trying to let them let loose!
Playground: As above its a safe area you can let them free and not hoover but what makes it an extra great choice is, the climbing opportunities in playgrounds are like no other and this type of exercise can be super fulfilling for them.
Make a fort; This can take us all back a few decades. The best part is it can be done in any room with whatever you have in the house. Climbing, balancing and crawling are great not to mention creating something of your own that has no right or wrong!
Races and chases; I’m not half fit enough for the amount my kids would like to do this but my god they love it and really gets some serious feedback out of it.
Bath Time; Dont under estimate the value of sitting in water. Especially for the school going age. Bath toys are also so valuable to them because they dont have access to them daily or freely. Again try not to worry about splashing if you can’t be easy going it may be better avoided as it wont necessarily serve its purpose.
Yoga: The following videos have all been enjoyed in our house, from cosmic kids previously as they do it through story and role play. I also do yoga and when i suggested he do some of my moves he said “im not doing your tricks Mama” 🤣 so that was that!!
Wheelbarrow; Filling it, carrying it and unloading the wheelbarrow. Its physical and fulfilling there’s no rules necessary. Fill with toys, balls, laundry, sand, water. Whatever is appropriate and fun for them. This also works with a shopping trolley.
Swings and Slides; these probably seem obvious but know this pushing someone on a swing and climbing up a slide are all as effective an activity as doing there counter parts.
Physio ball fun; Ive worked with autistic children with large sensory diets for years. One recommendation which continually popped during occupational therapy assessments was Deep Pressure using weighted blankets, vest and physio balls. Im no OT but i definitely think deep pressure with a physio ball is worth a google or a query for any readers its new too. If deep pressure isn’t your kids cup of tea i highly recommend just a big old game of throwing, catching, bouncing and kicking the oversized ball. Help them bounce on it just like you did in labour! And roll on it belly down hands in yours aeroplane style. Its a giant ball have fun in whatever form…. pretend its a giant boulder chasing you through the jungle?!
Dance Party; Volume up, furniture back and start to boogie make an absolute ass of yourself and they’ll love it and you’ll feel pretty good afterwards too.
The following are a list of activities which are more table top based and handy for a rainy day
Messy colouring; colouring is so therapeutic for all ages but this has no rules the sky doesn’t have to be blue the grass can be purple and you can even colour outside the lines because its “cuckoo” that’s what i say, just have fun! And as my 1st class teacher always said “There are no mistakes in art” what a woman, she was so right!!! Painting is also great and can be used the same and of course finger painting would be fabulously freeing too.
Bubbles; blowing is great and it can be a great time to teach the art of the deep breath which we all use daily!
Sand; sand is such a fantastic sensory experience. Magic sand Kenetic sand whatever the brand is ideal for at the table. It can be creative, constructive or just plain messy whatever the mood takes and thats whats important that it can adapt to fufill that days need. It can also be enjoyed with or without a parent which is also important because that need changes like the weather also!
Playdoh and Pastry; A table top activity every generation enjoyed but never underestimate the pleasure in squeezing, rolling, pressing and cutting up it can be a real realise for some kids. Pastry is a great alternative too and adds another texture to this sort of session. Again avoid this if your the parent who can’t let them mix the colours it’ll only end in tears and more rules and structure. Don’t get me wrong im very rule driven and parent with discipline but i believe in balance. So for these particular activities and this particular topic this is the way i recommend it 😉
Aquadoodle; sure look its a total no brainer you literally can not go wrong. Theres actually no right and wrong!! Its like when your looking for a soap to watch at night because you’re too tired to watch anything that would take more brain power, thats aquadoodle sit back, relax and recharge with your water pen and brush. Not Wet and wild but it does the trick and its strangely satisfying!
I hope you found this helpful and take something from it to help in your week. As always id love to know what you think or if you have any more suggestions that would even be better.
Enjoy Dee x