How to Plan a DIY De-Stress Workshop for Kids

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Last weekend we had an awesome time at our DIY De-Stress workshop making tools and sharing ways to get rid of worries and anxiety.  It is so hard to believe how much kids have in their minds and hearts these days.  I seriously hope that these tools make a difference for the kiddos who participated and all of the kids that will make them as a result of this blog post.  When I was trying to determine exactly how to plan an DIY de-stress workshop for kids I consulted with my friends at Fairfield World because they make some awesome products to use, ones that work.  This post is sponsored by Fairfield World but the ideas and opinions are, as always, my own.

To set up for the workshop, create each participant a setting.  This will give each child a sense of ownership of their materials and supplies.  There is a printable download of all of the supplies you will need for this workshop if you want it too.  You can grab it at the end of the post.

Each setting should have the following:

  • White Card Stock Placemat (11 x 17 inches)
  • 1 Squishy Foam Block
  • Composition Book for Journal
  • Journal Ideas Printable Booklet
  • Scissors

In the middle of the table, place a container filled with Poly Pellets and balloons for making stress balls.  A funnel is a great idea too but my kiddos chose to make their own out of paper rolled up.

Before starting, explain all three projects and emphasize that there is NO RIGHT way for anything to turn out.  The idea is to have fun and create tools.  Plan to spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas together while encouraging all of the kiddos to support each other with words of affirmation and positivity.  This is a great time to role model.  There are not any “better ideas” just lots of fabulous ones.

For setup, have your paints, brushes and die cut machine ready to go.  It is best to work close to a sink so brushes can be rinsed.  If you plan to let the kids make mor more than one, have the extras ready to go too.

Okay, so here are the three projects:


Squishies are all the rage right now in the retail world.  There are tiny ones, huge ones, smelly one and silly ones.  However, there is something magical about making one of your very own, from scratch.  Fairfield World’s new Poly-fil Squishy Foam is perfect for making DIY squishies.  It measures 4.75 x 5 x 3 inches and is super easy to work with.  It is a memory foam that can be cut with scissors AND in a Sizzix die-cut machine.  It can be dyed and/or painted which makes for endless possibilities.

Steps to Make a Painted DIY Squishy

  1. Cut out shape either with scissors or on a Sizzix machine.
  2. Paint using either fabric paints or Plaid watercolor acrylic paints.  These ensure a softer surface than traditional acrylics.
  3. Let dry for at least 24 hours before squishing.

Here are some photos of the girls painting their squishies.  They all chose to use the die cut machine to  create their shapes.  We determined that using a round sponge brush worked the best for getting a solid color base.

Here are a few of my favorite ones that kids made in the workshop.  The center of the flower and the mouth of the shark come out so they were easy to paint with a total contrast from the rest of the squishy.  This makes for an extra bit of fidgeting too once the piece is dry.

The table got so busy as they worked, laughed and shared.

The shark is my favorite.

The Chunkies Paint Sticks by ooly work great too for kids who don’t want to paint with brushes or don’t have as long of an attention span.  The paint sticks go on wet but dry.

Steps to Make a DIY Dyed Squishy

  1. Cut out shape either with scissors or on a Sizzix machine.
  2. Soak in fabric dye for 20 minutes until fully saturated.
  3. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
  4. Let dry for at least 24 hours before squishing.

I used my new farm animal dies that I designed for Ellison/Sizzix to create this set.  I totally am crushing on the rooster in all the colors.

Steps to Make DIY Stress Balls

  1. Fill balloon with Poly Pellets using a funnel.
  2. Tie balloon closed and cut off end.
  3. Use a black permanent market to add details.

Steps to Make DIY De-Stress Journal

  • Cut out shapes and decorations for the cover from paper, magazines, stickers and Oly*Fun using scissors or a Sizzix die cut machine.
  • Decopauge the decorations to the cover of the composition book.
  • Insert the Journal Ideas printable booklet.

Ta da!

The printable is free to download and use with your own kiddos or in your own workshop.

When we debriefed at the end, the kids shared about the ways they would use their new tools.  They were most excited about their handmade squishies, even giving them names and immediately creating connections.  They shared other ideas for writing in their journals and couldn’t put their stress balls down.  Overall, I would mark it up as a huge success.  I just wish I had allowed more than two hours.  They could have kept going all day long.  It would have been good to have lots more balloons in different colors AND more time for cutting things out for the journal covers.

If you are planning a half day workshop and need more activities, this post with slime and cloud sand will provide a few.  All of these are great for reducing stress and anxiety too.

Cheers to supporting kids and making a difference through crafting projects!
Have Fun,


PS:  Here is the supply list!




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