One of the coping skills I teach in counseling is healthy self-soothing -- how to calm down when overwhelmed by anxiety, anger, or stress. (Cutting, lashing out, or abusing drugs or alcohol are examples of unhealthy self-soothing.) In therapy we learn new ways to cope. We practice mindfully calming our nervous system, stressful thoughts, and feelings through sensory soothing -- literally using our senses of touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing to ground us in the present moment and alleviate stress.
Kinetic sand is fun way to practice healthy self-soothing. Kids are mesmerized by the stuff! It's amazing to see how quickly their energy changes as they dig their hands into the soft and pliable sand. I offer the box of Kinetic sand to teenagers and adults to play with while they talk. If I notice them wringing their hands or picking at their cuticles while they talk, I offered them this alternative way to self-soothe. One mom told me she made herself a little box of the sand to keep in her car and would squeeze it when after school pick up got stressful.
Part of using sand in therapy is also providing a container. Literally this means that the sand belongs in a plastic Gladeware container with a lid. We practice boundaries by keeping the sand in the box. Therapy also provides a container for all the overwhelming thoughts and feelings that we struggle to cope with. By "dumping" them out in the office, the therapist and the space serve as a container to hold what is often too much for to hold on your own.
Since Kinetic sand is such a hit, I wanted to incorporate it in a little Valentine to give to my counseling kiddos so they could some of their own Kinetic sand to use away from therapy. I bought a big 3lb bag of the sand and found these cute heart-shaped containers to hold a few scoops.
Want to make Kinetic Sand Valentines? Here's the supplies you would need:
This was fun to make and play with! Check the videos on my @takecareclub Instagram post to see the sand in action. I look forward to giving these out this week as Valentines gifts that reinforce fun and healthy self-soothing coping skills!
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