Squeeze the Stress Out!
Feeling extra happy? Grab your happy squeeze ball and squeeze it while you tell someone why you are happy! Feeling confused? Grab your confused squeeze ball. Feeling sad or stressed or worried? Grab your squeeze ball and squeeze it while you talk about these feelings with someone you trust. This activity is a great opportunity for you to focus on how you are feeling and figure out different ways to cope and express those emotions. And the best part is, you get to make it unique to you!
Sand- or other desired medium like flour or rice
A sheet of copy paper
First, gather your materials and set up a work space! Since you will be using sand and a permanent marker you may want to lay something down like newspaper to protect the area you are working at from getting messy.
Step one: Grab your sheet of paper so you can make a funnel. Roll up your sheet of paper into an ice cream cone shape. To do this, start in one corner and begin rolling your paper over itself. Make it tighter at the bottom and looser at the top. One end will have a small ‘hole’ and the other side is a wide opening so you can pour in your sand. You will want to hold it in this position in the next step. The sheet of paper will not stay in the ice cream cone position by itself.
Step two: Now, stick your funnel into your balloon. Put the small, skinny end of the funnel into your balloon and pour the sand into the top (wide part) of the funnel and allow it to fill your balloon. Hold onto the funnel at the bottom while you pour in the sand. Holding it at the bottom will help keep it sturdy. You should pour it into the balloon slowly to help avoid a mess. This may be tricky to do so you may want to ask a friend or an adult for another set of hands. I used a pink balloon because I like the color pink and pink makes me feel happy! You can choose to pick a color that makes you feel happy or a color that matches how you are feeling!
You could also use flour,rice, shampoo, or hair gel. Hair gel and shampoo would make the ball easier to move around. It would also make it squishier. Flour would feel pretty similar to the sand. It will be harder to squeeze and move around but still serves the same purpose! Rice would have a more unique feeling. You would be able to feel the grains of rice through the balloon. Rice would be a great medium to choose if you want to use it more as a fidget.
Step three: Next, fill the big part of your balloon up with sand and leave the neck of your balloon empty so you have room to tie it. My balloons were all different sizes and I found that they all worked best if you stopped at the neck when filling it up!
Step four: Now that your balloon is full you can tie it!
Tying a balloon can be tricky, so if you need help, ask a friend or adult! To tie it in a knot, first you will need to stretch the part of the neck with no sand in it. Wrap it around your finger to create a circle. Then pull the open end of the balloon through the circle you created and pull tight.
Step five: Next, you can decorate it. A permanent marker works best for this. Get creative with how you decorate it! Give your squeeze ball emotions that reflect how you are feeling. Make it unique to you! After you draw or decorate the squeeze ball, give the marker face about one minute to dry.
Step six: Lastly, when you feel strong emotions, grab your squeeze ball and an adult you trust and talk about your feelings! This can help make you feel a lot better! Keep your squeeze balls close by so you can squeeze them as often as you need to.
Step seven: Congratulations! You just made your first squeeze ball! Repeat steps 1-5 to make more with different feelings. Sometimes we have multiple feelings all at once, so it may be good to have different options of feelings to squeeze when you feel a certain way. Some other ideas for emotions may be sad, mad, excited, worried, curious, or anything else you may be feeling! What things might make you change which squeeze ball you are using? What things can make you feel better and what may make you feel worse? Some things that make me feel better include playing with my cat or going outside. A few things that make me feel worse are being extra stressed and not getting enough sleep. What are some actions you can do besides squeezing your stress ball to help with these feelings? You could try some deep breathing, throwing your ball, rolling it on your hands, or holding it while going on a walk.
I am so proud of you for talking to someone about how you are feeling and for putting in the hard work to make the squeeze balls! These will be a great resource for you to have! These are a great option for when it is hard to explain to someone how you are feeling. They are also a great tool to help you focus on what you are feeling and how you can work towards feeling better!