LEARNING OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL

Give it a Try, It’s DIY! Let’s Make a Stress Ball

Contents

  1. How do stress balls work?
  2. How to make your very own stress ball
  3. How else can I help my child with exam stress?


Need something fun, simple and inexpensive to do with your child? What if we told you that this "something" may also result in relieving some of their stress? Read on to find out how a few household bits could do just that. 🙌🏻

Have you noticed that your child seems a little agitated or on edge recently? If so, it might be because exam time is approaching and they’re feeling anxious. In 2021, Childline reported more than double the amount of calls about exam stress from young people compared to 2020. With students also experiencing disruption to their studies due to Covid-19, it’s no surprise that they’re feeling uneasy. Luckily, we’ve got something that might help take the edge off.

If you’ve ever used a stress ball, you’ll know that they can be helpful for keeping the body relaxed in times of unease. But, we hear you ask, how do they work? Let’s get into it…

 

How do stress balls work?

 

When you squeeze a stress ball, your nerves and muscles are stimulated and they contract. This makes them stronger, therefore improving the function of the nervous system and reducing essential stress hormones. Other benefits include enhanced emotional stability, improved concentration and creativity, increased positive energy and enhanced sleep. Not so bad for a small, squishy ball right?

Fancy a fun fact? The inventor of the first commercial stress ball was Californian TV writer, Alex Carswell. After getting frustrated and throwing a marker pen across the room and breaking a picture of his mum and dog – oops! – he patented the first stress ball made of polyurethane. They were in stores by 1988 and became popular with stockbrokers as they tried to cope with the daily pressures of managing so much money. 💰

 

How to make your very own stress ball

 

Now for the fun part!

Find a time when you and your child are free so that you can both enjoy making your very own stress balls – yes, why not make one for yourself too? Plus, some time alone with your young one doing something different and fun might boost their mood.

For your stress ball, you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Funnel
  • An empty bottle (it doesn’t need to be glass, plastic is fine)
  • A balloon (choose your colour wisely, this will be the colour of your stress ball!)
  • Googly eyes
  •  Strong string
  • Glue
  •  Scissors
  • Spoon

A couple of things before we get started:

  • We recommend putting down some paper *just in case* of flour spillages. 😉
  • If you don’t have a funnel in the kitchen, simply take an empty plastic bottle and carefully cut it in half – this can act as your funnel. 

OK, let’s go!

  1. Place the funnel spout into the empty bottle and spoon the flour into the bottle.
  2. Partially blow up the balloon but don’t tie it – keep it inflated by using a clothes peg (a hair slide or kirby grip should also do the trick!)
  3. Fit the balloon lip around the bottle opening, unclip the clothes peg, turn the bottle upside down and the flour should fall into the balloon. 🎈
    ‼️ If you’re using half an empty bottle, fit the balloon lip around the bottle opening, unclip the clothes peg and spoon the flour into the balloon from the cut-open end of the bottle.
  4. Carefully take the balloon off the bottle and fasten it with a knot.
  5. Take the string, wrap it a few times around four of your fingers and then cut with scissors. 🧶
  6. Slide the looped string off your hand, lay it in the middle of another short piece of string and tie that short piece of string into a knot around the looped string.
  7. You’ll now have something that looks like a string bowtie; cut both ends of the bowtie so that there are no string loops, only string ends. This is your stress ball’s hair. 😂
  8. Pop a dollop of glue onto your flour balloon and place the string hair as desired.
  9. Add two more small drops of glue onto the balloon and fix your google eyes. 👀
  10. Voila, start squeezing that stress away! ✋


How else can I help my child with exam stress?

 

While stress balls can ease anxious feelings in the short term, there are other ways to help fend off your child’s stress in the long term.

Talk

Talking really does help. Instead of internalising their worries, encourage your young one to talk to you. If they’re reluctant to open up, suggest they talk to another trusted relative, teacher, school councillor or friend. 🥰

Food

It’s so tempting to reach for the good bad stuff when we’re feeling low; chocolate, cake, burgers, biccies, fizzy drinks – high-sugar and high-fat foods feel great in the moment, but they can make your child’s mood worse. Try to surround them with healthier snack options that will keep their energy levels up. 🍌

Sleep

Good sleep helps us think, concentrate and maintain energy levels. What’s good sleep? Your child should be aiming for 8-10 hours every night, and if possible, suggest that they avoid screens half an hour before hitting the sack to get the best from their rest. 💤

Help

Whether they’re struggling or not, helping your child revise for their exams will show your support. You could even devise a revision timetable with them and add in spots where you study together. 🤓

Exercise

Sports and workouts might be the last thing on their mind if exams are coming, but even a 30-minute walk could make a difference. Getting outside and taking in some fresh air is a simple, natural mood booster. Suggest they listen to music or podcasts to make the time go quicker. ⌚

 

We’re here to help your child with their studying needs. Whether that’s with homework or revision, our excellent tutors will do their best to support your child’s learning. Give us a try by booking a free trial lesson today – what are you waiting for?

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