We all know that kids can go from zero to 60 in less time than the fastest car on the market. It takes almost no effort at all for a young child to get worked up or excited, or to throw a huge tantrum. But the reverse? Not quite so fast. It takes a lot more effort for a kid to calm himself down.


One strategy that can help with this transition from an active state to a calm state is the ribbon wave. Give each of the children a ribbon or lightweight cloth or scarf. Make sure they’re spread out and not at risk of running into each other. With young kids, it’s smart to familiarize them with the ribbon in a wide open space, such as outdoors, where they can run around and get used to waving the ribbon, then move them into a more controlled environment such as their classroom. Young kids often need opportunities to explore before being asked to do a specific task with something that is new and exciting.


Guide the children in moving the ribbon in various patterns. Start with short, choppy zigzags in front of their body. Then move on to slower, more fluid up and down movements, above their head from side to side, and so on.

The point of this activity is to teach children that their brains control their movements, and that being in control of their bodies helps settle their thoughts and feelings. After all, our bodies, brains and feelings are all connected. The ribbon wave is a great, easy way to show that. 

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