10 Grounding Exercises for Kids

We all work with kids who worry or struggle to gain control over their thoughts in the moment. While we can work over a longer period of time to help kids examine and restructure their thoughts, we need to also give them the tools to interrupt those thoughts in the moment! Grounding techniques are a powerful tool to help kids to connect to the here and now and interrupt spiraling worries. Keep reading to check out 10 of my favorite grounding exercises to help kids manage worry and anxiety.

Help kids manage worry with these 10 grounding techniques! Students can use these strategies any time anywhere to cope with worry.

Help Kids Manage Worry with These 10 Grounding Exercises

1. 5-4-3-2-1 Senses

This grounding exercise is a great go-to for kids. All they need for this exercise is their senses! Have students practice identifying:

  • 5 things you see
  • 4 things you hear
  • 3 things you smell
  • 2 things you can touch
  • 1 thing you taste

Some people swap the final 2, and that works too! I find especially with younger students that identifying 2 things they taste in the moment can be tricky (“but I’m not eating!”) so I have them do just 1 taste identification.

2. 5-4-3-2-1 Sights

If noticing each sense is tough for your student right now, try an exercise just with sights. Create categories and have students name what they see. Here’s an example:

  • 5 colors I see
  • 4 shapes I see
  • 3 soft things I see
  • 2 people I see
  • 1 book I see

3. A-B-C Around the Room

This exercise will get students connected with that place where they are right now. Have your student look around the room and name something they see that starts with A, then B, then C and so forth. See how far they can get through the alphabet and then check-in to see how they’re feeling once they reach the end.

Help kids manage worry with these 10 grounding techniques! Students can use these strategies any time anywhere to cope with worry. Kids who need worry management skills? Practice these anxiety management strategies and techniques in your group counseling lessons or individual counseling sessions. Grounding exercises for school counseling activities. -Counselor Keri

4. Be a Tree

There’s nothing more grounded than a tree! Teach your student to feel his or her connection with the ground by imaging him/herself as a tree. This sounds like, “I am firmly planted. I feel my feet rooted to the ground. My back is a strong trunk helping me feel stable in the moment. I feel my toes connecting with the ground. My arms are my branches. I feel them reach out into the world.” Simply noticing their bodies and feeling their connection with the room helps kids feel grounded!

5. Power Hug

Firm pressure is great for grounding. Help students create an affirming statement to use for this exercise. It could be something like, “I am in control,” or “I am safe in this moment.” Practice placing the left hand on the right shoulder for a tap and then the right hand on the left shoulder for another tap. Then squeeze into a hug and say the affirmation. Tap, tap, squeeze, affirm. Tap, tap, squeeze, affirm. Repeat this as many times as needed!

Help kids manage worry with these 10 grounding techniques! Students can use these strategies any time anywhere to cope with worry. Kids who need worry management skills? Practice these anxiety management strategies and techniques in your group counseling lessons or individual counseling sessions. Grounding exercises for school counseling activities. -Counselor Keri

6. Object Focus

Keep some unique items on hand with different textures and colors. These could be sensory items, colorful rocks, snow globes or something else. Students can hold an item in their hands and tune in all of their focus to the item. Notice the colors. Notice the textures. How does it feel in my hand? How does it feel when I squeeze it? What colors do I see? Just notice everything there is to notice about the item!

Help kids manage worry with these 10 grounding techniques! Students can use these strategies any time anywhere to cope with worry.

7. I am Here Hand Trace

For this exercise, you’ll need paper and a pencil, marker, or crayon. Students will trace a hand on the paper. You can take this a few different directions. Students can simply press the hand into the space on the paper and feel the connection between hand and table. Or they can use the space inside the hand to write things they see or describe the room.

8. Reorientation

To re-orient to the moment, just have students name facts about the moment. You can give them a card to keep with them to remind them of facts they can state and practice practice practice! It might sound like:

  • My name is…
  • I am in…
  • Today is…
  • The season is…
  • The weather is…
  • I am wearing…

9. Stomp Stomp Blow

For an active grounding exercise, have students stomp the left foot, stomp the right foot and then exhale deeply. Continue this pattern of stomp, stomp, blow, stomp, stomp, blow, stomp, stomp, blow. Feel the connection of feet with the floor. Blow away anxious thoughts.

10. Room Search

Pick one broad category and search the room. Name everything in the room that’s green. How many stars can you find in the room? Say the type of shoe everyone in the room is wearing. Count the bricks on one wall.


How do you help kids manage worry?

Grounding is a powerful way to interrupt anxious thoughts in the moment! Give your kids who worry a chance to practice each one and see which one works for them. What strategies do you teach your kids? Do you have a favorite grounding technique that wasn’t mentioned here? Leave it in the comments below so I can give it a try!

Resources to help kids manage worry:

Worry Workbook for Kids

Worry Small Group Counseling Curriculum

Help kids manage worry with these 10 grounding techniques! Students can use these strategies any time anywhere to cope with worry. Kids who need worry management skills? Practice these anxiety management strategies and techniques in your group counseling lessons or individual counseling sessions. Grounding exercises for school counseling activities. -Counselor Keri

16 thoughts on “10 Grounding Exercises for Kids

  1. Thank you Keri. I absolutely love these activities. I will let you know how my students responded.

    1. Hi Kim! I just scrolled through all 200+ Kims on my email list, and I can’t find you. It’s possible the initial confirmation email either a) went to your spam folder or b) you didn’t click the confirmation link in that email. Either of these scenarios means you aren’t actually subscribed. The system will not permit me to send you the cards without a completed subscription.

  2. Hi Keri,
    I so appreciate you putting together such wonderful, consolidated resources! I am a counselor (US trained) and teacher working in rural schools in rural Queensland, Australia. I am the cover teacher with the Centre for Learning and Wellbeing. We send out a bi-quartly newsletter and I would like to feature your website in my piece, especially with a focus on your “Help kids manage worry” grounding exercises. Most schools here don’t have a regular counseling programme (Guidance officers spread over vast geogrphical areas – Central Queensland is HUGE!) so these resources would be incredibly useful, especially during such an anxiety-inducing time. If it is OK with you, I will include the link with a brief synopsis directly quoting you. It will be clear that this is your work.

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