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Calming Kid-Friendly Activities That Can Stop a Tantrum

Try These Calming Kid-Friendly Activities When You Know a Meltdown Is Coming

We've partnered with Clorox® to help parents enjoy some quality time with their kids — without tantrums or meltdowns. Learn more about cleaning and disinfecting your home during the COVID-19 pandemic here.

After a while, parents learn to identify the key warning signs that a kid is headed toward a meltdown when you're out and about — and sometimes, if you get home fast enough and act quickly, you can avert a full-scale tantrum.

Next time you spot the telltale signs of an upset kiddo while you're running errands, head home to try out one of these calming activities for kids. Before your super parent skills go into high gear, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect any high-touch surfaces, like doorknobs, faucets, and countertops. Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.9 percent of germs and viruses*, including the COVID-19 virus**, when used as directed on hard, nonporous surfaces, so you can feel confident your home is clean.

After that, it's time to deal with your fussy kiddo. Whether you opt for a DIY project or a simple backyard activity, each of these options can help shift your kid's mood from upset to relaxed in just a few minutes.

Colorful Slime

There's a reason why slime has become so popular among kids: it's undeniably satisfying to stick your fingers into the ooey-gooey creation. Slime is also super easy to make at home, so it's an ideal activity for time-strapped parents.

Make your own slime by combining a bottle of white school glue with one tablespoon contact saline solution, two tablespoons baking soda, and a few drops of food coloring in a glass bowl. Have little helpers knead the concoction until it comes together as sticky slime. They can stretch, pull, and shape the homemade slime to their heart's content. When playtime is over, store the slime in a ziplock bag for another day.

Bathtub Art


Combine two beloved activities — drawing and bubble baths — for an activity that's sure to put a smile on even the crankiest kid's face. Invest in a set of bath crayons or markers that allow kids to turn the walls of the tub into a mural, but don't pull them out for every bath time. Instead, save them for weekends or whenever your little one needs a mood boost. That way, getting to draw their own masterpiece while soaking in a sudsy bubble bath feels like a special treat.

Calm-Down Jars

When you're feeling frustrated, shaking something up can be a great way to indulge your feelings. That's the beauty of this DIY project: it's fun for parents and kids to make together, and the finished product gives little ones a great outlet for their upset feelings.

Here's how to make it. First, fill a clean mason jar or plastic bottle two-thirds full with warm water. Squeeze a generous amount of glitter glue into the water, then stir it until combines. Add a few drops of food coloring and a few tablespoons of glitter, then seal the jar or bottle and shake it up. It's mesmerizing to watch the glitter flow through the water.

Blowing Bubbles

Don't have much time to supervise craft time? Rely on a fun activity that has delighted decades of kids: blowing bubbles. Simply hand your kid some bubble solution and a wand, then watch how quickly a bad mood dissipates once they start marveling at the iridescent bubbles they've created. Since this activity is best done outdoors, make sure you all wash your hands thoroughly once you come inside from the backyard or patio.

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*Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pseudomonas), Salmonella enterica tested as Salmonella choleraesuis (Salmonella), and rotavirus

**Kills SARS CoV-2 on hard, nonporous surfaces. Use as directed.

Illustrations: Sanny Van Loon