8 Ethical Toys for Your Calm Corner
A calm corner is a designated quiet space in your home or classroom where children can return to focus and calm after becoming dysregulated. It helps if the space limits stimulus by being quiet and not overly bright, and it can be made comfortable with cushions, beanbags or weighted blankets. A few carefully selected activities and tools are then provided to assist the child to self-regulate.
The availability of sensory toys and fidgets on the market has become quite a phenomenon in recent years. Of course, it is wonderful that there is more awareness of sensory needs and the ways in which individuals can regulate their nervous systems to better function. Unfortunately though, many of the products that are promoted for this purpose are poor quality, plastic, or easily broken items that quickly end up in landfill. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to help children calm themselves through sensory input that don't involve unethical purchasing.
The following are some examples of eco-friendly and ethical toys that may be helpful when included in a calm space.
Rattles and Bells
A gentle rattle or pleasant jingling sound can be soothing. Instruments such as small shakers and bells may also be used to accompany rhythmical movements that many children find helpful in calming themselves.
A soft teddy or doll offers comfort and reassurance, as well as providing an outlet for feelings the child might struggle to express in words. These types of toys can be weighted, so that the pressure activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body.
Spinning Toys & Calm-Down Bottles
"Fidgets" that spin, or the swirling, sparkling contents of a calm-down bottle are all visually mesmerising, and therefore help children focus and calm their breathing.
Not to be underestimated, a few humble wooden blocks in your calm space will offer a methodical task and tactile experience that can serve to settle and re-focus the child. Even the sound of wooden blocks clacking together can be soothing.
Puzzles, Stacking & Balancing Toys
Similar to blocks, wooden puzzle toys (that are age appropriate) can provide enough challenge to distract from negative emotions and engage the brain in mindful activity. Be careful to choose tasks that are not too difficult or could cause further frustration - the purpose here is to regulate emotions, not extend or challenge.
Offering a reading activity is a great way to promote quiet and calm. Books specifically about emotions and mindfulness are particularly useful here. For younger children, books that also incorporate sensory features such as touch and sound would be perfect.
Drawing & Colouring
Colouring is another classic quiet activity that many children enjoy. It requires mindful concentration, which is beneficial when trying to find calm and move through anxious or difficult feelings. It is also a wonderful and open-ended form of self-expression for children and adults alike.
Silicone is now being used for a wide range of toys and is a more sustainable option than plastic. Silicone is a great material for the purpose of calming through sensory means, as it is both manipulative and durable - great for squeezing, chewing and stretching.
Hopefully these suggestions will not only give you some great ideas on what to include in your calm corner, but get you thinking about how we all can begin to make more ethical, mindful purchasing decisions, while reducing our contribution to environmental waste.
At The Toy Chest Australia, our goal is to offer a quality selection of eco-friendly gifts for kids from ethical brands, so our customers can find a range sustainable and socially responsible products all in one place.
- The Toy Chest Australia