How slimes and squishies soothe children in times of stress

From moon sand to cloud dough, these DIY recipes will help kids relax and decompress at home.

Early childhood educator Amanda Ralph still remembers a preschooler who, when he got really frustrated, would throw things. “I’d direct him to the Play-Doh area,” says Ralph, who’s based in Surrey, England. “You can really mess with it and destroy it. It’s something you can use to take out that urge.”

Soon other revved-up kids were flocking to the Play-Doh station to depressurize. It was so effective that Ralph started mixing up her own clays and other squashable substances, and even wrote a book about them: Creative Sensory Play Recipe Toolkit.

Children have a lot going on in those little brains of theirs, and things like uncertainty and sudden change can lead to frustration and stress. We all need a way to depressurize—and for kids, it might come in the form of slime.

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