3 Calming Toddler Activities

Calming Toddlers Activities Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

We all experience stress and anxiety, but as adults, we tend to know how to deal with our emotions and know to avoid certain stressors. But, children are just as susceptible to powerful emotions such as stress, anger, and frustration and they don’t know how to regulate their emotions.

Toddlers will more likely experience these emotions as they grow older and progress through the milestones. Whether it’s when they give up their afternoon nap, start preschool, or the shifts in emotions and behaviors are typically seen when toddlers turn 2 or 3.

When your little one is tired, irritated, or is just in the middle of going through some strong emotions, it’s important to teach them some calming toddler activities and strategies to help regulate their emotions. This helps children to develop their emotional intelligence and are techniques they can use as they get older and these feelings might get stronger. With that in mind, here are 3 calming activities for toddlers that you can use in those moments.

1. Calming toddler activities : Homemade Aromatherapy Lavender Playdough

Calming Toddlers Activities

Playdough is surprisingly easy to make at home and is great to use as part of soothing and calming sensory play for your toddler. Lavender is a calming and soothing scent and when combined with the calming effect of playing with playdough, you’ve got the perfect tool to hand when those emotions come to the surface.

To make lavender playdough, all you need is 400g of plain flour, 200g of salt, and two tablespoons of vegetable oil. You will also need some purple food coloring, lavender essential oil, and some sprigs of lavender for added texture. Add all your ingredients into a bowl and add in 300ml of just-boiled water and mix together. Once it has cooled slightly, knead it as you would bread dough for a few minutes, then you are ready to go!

2. Calming Toddler Activities: Therapeutic Sand Trays

Calming Toddlers Activities

For those times when nothing is quite cutting it, a therapeutic sand tray is a great way to get your toddler calm again using creativity and texture. Sand tray therapy is a common technique used by parents and professionals when calm is needed, as it can be expressive and non-verbal, and all it needs is just a few elements – a tough tray, sand, and some toys!

Simply add some sand – you don’t need a lot – to your tray and a collection of objects for your little one to play with. Then, it’s all down to your toddler and what they decide to do, whether it’s just a few moments of quietly drawing shapes and patterns in the side, doing some play with the objects, or simply just playing with the sand in their hands.

3. Calming Toddler Activities: Bath Time

Calming Toddlers Activities

By the end of the day, if your toddler has become grouchy and irritable, it’s very likely that they are simply overtired and overstimulated. A good bedtime routine is key in this instance and can help your little one quickly relax and get ready for sleep. One of the most important steps in a bedtime routine is bath time and the right elements can help your toddler relax and calm down.

Ensure that the bath is ready for them shortly before their bedtime and is at the right temperature, before telling them it is bath time, as the longer they wait for bath time and inevitably, bedtime, the less calm the process. Then, use a soothing baby wash, preferably in a nighttime scent (this type of bath wash usually contains soothing camomile, lavender, and cocoa) to wash. Avoid washing them using sponges or shower lilies as the actions or feelings can cause them to feel overstimulated. Instead, use baby washcloths that they can wash themselves with (with supervision) to reduce the chance of stress.

Once bath time is over, wrap them in a nice warm towel and follow up with a baby massage using gentle baby lotion. Pop them in their pajamas and get them into bed as soon as possible, giving them their milk or a story to help them settle into their sleep.


Looking after toddlers can be hard work, but it’s important to remember that it’s simply because they have all these new emotions that they just can’t figure out how to handle or process. Introducing them to different techniques and processes to help manage and learn about their emotions, and how to deal with them, is vital for their emotional development as they grow and learn about mindfulness.

15 calming toddler activities by Parenting from the Heart

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