Back to School Worry Pets
Welcoming young students back to school, especially after they've spent several months isolated at home with their families during a pandemic, can cause more separation anxiety than what might be typically seen. Many classrooms now offer an area dedicated to calming a child and helping them learn to self regulate. However, due to the pandemic circumstances, I was looking for a way to bring a form of our classroom calm down area to my scholars BEFORE school began.
As a sensory-friendly preschool, I wanted to give my young scholars something that could benefit them in many ways. Worry Pets became that back-to-school home-school connection I wanted to provide.
Worry Pets, or what can also be called Sensory Pets, are small weighted palm-sized stuffed creatures. The extra soft minky fabric is filled with weighted poly-pellets and features a simple set of safety eyes. These small weighted Worry Pets can help relieve anxiety and bring a sense of calm. Similar to the overall emotional and mental health benefits of hugging, cuddling, and stroking a living furry animal, the extremely soft minky fabric can also cause the "pet effect".
Including a significant home-school connection with the Worry Pets is important. To achieve this, I included a QR Code on the special tag. Once scanned, the QR Code opens an unlisted, Made For Kids restricted YouTube video. The video story-time message is only visible for my scholars via the code. The video focused on the wonderful story-time children's book by talented author and illustrator, Tom Percival. 'Ruby Finds a Worry' is a very well written book for children about worries and learning to talk about them. Helping children learn about communicating their feelings is vital. Ruby, the main character in the story, learns how her worry can grow more overwhelming by keeping it to herself. However, she soon learns her worry can become smaller and possibly go away with communicating her worry to someone else. As parents, this story can teach us the valuable lesson to listen more to our children's worries... listening to understand, rather than to reply. Not only is the story well written, the illustrations are beautiful.
Making a Worry Pet
If you would like to make a Worry Pet, head over to the wonderfully talented Pieces by Polly. She has very clear printable instructions for making these easy, calming Worry Pets. You can also reach the link to her website by clicking the button below:
Worry Pet Boxes and Gift Tags
After you have made your story-time video, uploaded it to your video platform and generated a QR Code (through an online generator), print out multiples of your QR Code onto sticker paper and attach them to the FREE Worry Pet Gift Tags, available in my TPT Store. The boxes I used are small party favor boxes found on Amazon. I cut simple "Live Animal" vinyl stickers with my Cricut, to add to both sides of the boxes. The tags are attached with simple thin green woven ribbon. Click on the button below to be taken to my FREE Worry Pet Gift Tags:
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