At my school, we have two main play breaks for students – a 30 minute morning recess and a 50 minute lunch time break. The students go outside, run around and play with their friends.
Then the bell rings and they have to come inside and it can be a challenge to settle the little ones after they’ve had so much time to do as they please. So today I thought I would share 5 of my favourite ways to settle my class after recess.
#1 – GoNoodle
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you won’t be surprised to see this on my list. I use GoNoodle daily to provide quick brain breaks for my students. During the day when we need to get the wiggles out we do some high energy activities, but after lunch, I prefer the more calming activities on offer, like Flow and Airtime. My class this year (and last year) are obsessed with Airtime Space.
During Airtime Space, students breath in and out in time to the glowing orb travelling through the solar system. Each break is about two minutes long and it really calms them down. They’re also very fascinated by the space facts we learn each afternoon. I use Airtime Space exclusively in the afternoon for that reason. It’s our way to regroup for our afternoon learning.
#2 – Smiling Minds
If you’re not familiar with Smiling Minds, it’s a great online resource for guided meditation for different age groups (both young and old). This is something you can put on for students to follow along to when they need to regain some focus.
#3 – Circle Time
Sometimes all you need to regroup at the end of the day is a brief circle time session with students sharing things that happened during their outdoor play time. It could be that they’ve come into the classroom with unresolved issues from the yard that a simple conversation as a class can fix, ready for everyone to move on for a productive afternoon.
#4 – Responding With Wonderment and Awe
At my school we use Habits of Mind, and a few years ago I found some amazing time-lapse videos used to demonstrate Responding With Wonderment and Awe. These are simply nature at it’s finest set to some very beautiful, calming music and often playing these short clips gave students time to calm down, settle and think about the wonderful world we live in. (They’re also great talking points, too.) My little ones have always been transfixed by these videos. I’ve shared one below, but you can find others here on Vimeo.
#5 – Quiet Music Time
You’ll notice a trend with some of these suggestions – music. Music is powerful for little people. Sometimes, we just need to take away the visual stimulus, lie down, close our eyes and just listen, particularly at the start of the school year when their little minds are overwhelmed with what’s going on around them.
Often, when we need a bit of down-time – and this is usually 2-3 minutes (that’s all you need!) – I jump on Youtube and search ‘kids meditation music.’ There are plenty to choose from.
I also discovered this gem – Disney Piano Collection – that’s just perfect for a short break:
What are your favourite calm down tips? Leave them in the comments – we would love to hear them!