Calming Corner Ideas and Inspiration For Homes and Classrooms

relaxing kids bedroom

A calming corner, rest zone, calm-down space, or calming space is designed specifically for children to visit when they need a safe place to visit during strong emotions or need a break. These spots are where children can manage their emotions and practice coping strategies. Parents can set up a calming corner in their home, and teachers can utilize them in the classroom. Calming corner spaces vary and depend upon the child or children for whom you’re creating them. 

relaxing kids bedroom
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Some calming corner ideas include pictures of yoga poses, books, stress balls, fidgets, and other items designed to help children with emotional regulation. Whether creating a space for your home or your classroom, we have some helpful calming corner ideas to help you set up a calm and inviting space.

Calm spaces provide numerous social-emotional benefits to young children, including reduced anxiety and improved mental health, increased emotional literacy, improved self-care, and the development of empathy for others.

Key Takeaways

Calming corners are designated spaces in your home or classroom that invite relaxation.

Calming corners are a safe space for children to regroup, not a time-out or punishment space.

Your calming space should be designed to meet the needs of the child or children using the space.

Calm spaces benefit children in numerous ways and increase emotional development.

Essentials of a Calming Corner

A calming corner is a designated space a child can visit when facing big emotions or needing a calm space to relax. As you create a calm-down corner, reflect on the child or children the space is for. 

What types of sensory items do the children in your care enjoy? Are there popular books on social-emotional development you’ve read that children can relate to? Perhaps there are breathing exercises or mindful activities you’ve done together that you can post images of for children to practice when they visit the space. 

An effective calming corner helps a child feel safe and relaxed and enables a space to manage their emotions without fear of punishment or embarrassment.

Setting up Your Space

When considering where to place a calm-down space, choose a corner in your classroom or home away from heavy foot traffic or activity. However, if you’re creating a classroom space, you’ll need to ensure you have sightlines to the area for safety purposes. 

Within your home, calm corner ideas might include a corner of your child’s bedroom or playroom or a secluded spot in the living room using a tent or other hideaway option.

When you set up your calm corner, make it cozy and inviting by placing pillows or a bean bag chair. If your space is limited and you’re using a semi-public area, add curtains or a tent to offer privacy. 

boy laying on a bean bag chair
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

The area should include various calming strategies and tools that foster emotional regulation.

Here are some corner ideas to consider:

  • Sensory items like fidgets, stress balls, or playdough
  • Visual aids like pictures or posters of different breathing exercises or calming strategies
  • Books
  • Social-emotional tools like a feelings wheel or mood posters.
  • A family photo album 
  • Relaxing yoga poses
  • Soft-lighting or a lava lamp
  • Stuffed animals
  • A weighted blanket
  • A music player
  • Coloring and drawing supplies
  • A timer

Calming Corner Ideas

Many great ideas exist for creating a calming corner in your classroom or home. Here are some of our favorite ways to make the space cozy and inviting!

  • Consider what your child likes. You can decorate the space based on your child’s favorite theme, like animals, fairies, or baseball.
  • Find a way to make the space private or semi-private using curtains, tents, or other hangings.
  • Adding a sound machine provides soothing white noise.
  • Use floating shelves to create levels and avoid overstimulation at eye level.
  • A soft throw rug can help designate the confines of the space. 
  • A desk or table against a wall or corner is an excellent alternative space. 
boy and therapist playing catch in a calming room
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Calming Corner Tips and Tricks

While you have lots of choices when making your cozy corner, here are a few tips and tricks to help make your area a successful, safe space!

Use Calm Colors

Use calm, cool colors like pastel yellows, blues, greens, and purples. Avoid bright colors like orange and red.

Keep the area stocked with options, but don’t overfill it. 

Too much clutter or too many choices can contribute to children feeling overwhelmed. 

Practice Activities and Calming Activities

Practice mindful activities and coping strategies with children during calm moments to help them feel empowered and understand how to utilize them when needed. 

Establish guidelines for your cozy spot. 

For example, one person at a time, using quiet voices, treating items and people respectfully, and a time limit for how long someone can use the space.

Consider the specific needs of the children you are designing the space for. 

Children with autism or sensory disorders might benefit from chew toys or weighted items. Children with ADHD often benefit from fidget toys and wobble chairs.

Choose a unique name for your space

Some fun options include Chill Zone, Zen Den, Peaceful Pod, and Calm Cave.

Final Thoughts

All children, regardless of age or emotional level, can benefit from a well-designed calming corner. Cozy corners are safe spaces for children to regroup emotionally and practice calming techniques they’ve learned. Your child can be a part of the design process to help make the space more personal. 

When creating a calming corner, your main goal is to make a space that is inviting, beneficial to its users, and filled with tools and tips to help develop emotional regulation.

Author

  • L. Elizabeth Forry

    L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding autism, ADHD, mental health, social-emotional development, and gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics related to early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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