Using Cool Down Cubes to Help Kids Deal With Emotions

Cool Down Cubes

It’s important to teach kids ways that they can calm down when they are angry or anxious or stressed out. In the heat of overwhelming emotions though, it’s easy for kids to forget the methods you have taught them. That’s why if you work with kids, it useful to have a jar full of cool down cubes, and it’s simple too!

  1. Just buy some plastic ice cubes. I got mine from Five Below after the Fourth of July.
  2. Write various calm down techniques on the cubes (one per cube). Permanent marker works best. We’ve included a list of the techniques we put on the cubes below.
  3. Put the cubes in a jar. We used an old peanut jar, but anything large enough that a child can reach their hand in will work. Decorate the jar however you want.
  4. Whenever the child you are working with upset, encourage them to go to the Calm Down Jar, pick one cube out and use the technique on the cube to calm down. If that doesn’t work encourage them to pick another cube.
  5. Feel free to engage in the activity with the child, and when they have calmed down use the opportunity to talk about what’s bothering them.

Here are some of the calm down techniques we put on our cubes (feel free to make up your own):

  • Go for walk
  • Eat
  • Move
  • Do a puzzle
  • Draw
  • Throw ball
  • Shower
  • Blow off steam
  • Ride a bike
  • Close eyes
  • Laugh
  • Write it down
  • Paint
  • Karate
  • Talk it out
  • Count to ten
  • Use computer
  • Call a friend
  • Play with sand
  • Ask for help
  • Jump rope
  • Tell someone
  • Walk away
  • Play a sport
  • iPod
  • Journal
  • Go outside
  • 3 deep breaths
  • Stop and think
  • Sing
  • Tell a joke
  • Color
  • Hug a pet
  • Blow bubbles
  • One happy memory
  • Positive self talk
  • Stress ball
  • Read a book
  • Seek out help
  • Mold clay
  • Jump
  • Play memory
  • Count clouds
  • Play with legos
  • Drink water
  • Take a timeout
  • Dance
  • Talk to a friend

We originally found this idea in a number of places including:

Written by Wayne Stocks
Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne started I Am A Child of Divorce to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents' relationship. You can reach Wayne at