Keep Calm and Relax On

One of my favorite programs that I did this fall was called Keep Calm and Relax On. I don’t know about you, but often,my teens come to programs with homework in tow. They’ve got so much going on that taking the 60-90 minutes out for a library program isn’t always possible. So, instead they multi-task and do homework as they hang out. (I do keep this at a minimum, but as long as it’s not distracting/disrespectful and they’re still participating, I let them do it.) Often times, they come in stressed and looking a bit like this

While my school days are far behind me, I remember how that felt. I wanted to give them a program that would help them deal with that stress, even if just a little bit. Something that would give them both tips and object to help them deal with it all. Being a big fan of yoga, I knew I wanted this to be a component. However, I didn’t want it to be the only thing, so the last half of the class would be about creating stress balls and calming jars.

The Basics:

Length: 90 minutes; This could be done in 1 hour (30 mins yoga, 30 mins stress balls/calming jars), but I like to build in extra time for lateness and socializing.

Participants: 14 teens

Cost: $20+; $20 was all I needed to spend on supplies for the stress balls/calming jars. However, I did hire in a yoga instructor, so my cost was much higher, but not bad (under $75).


  • yoga instructor (or some kind of yoga instruction)
  • mason jars
  • glue (I used clear)
  • glitter
  • water
  • balloons
  • rice
  • funnels
  • paper tablecloths

Calming Jars
Stress Balls (I used rice instead of flour)

Running the Program:

The first half of the program was the actual yoga session. I stressed with the instructor that I wanted this to be more on the meditative side. I wanted it to more about simple poses and techniques that could be used whenever to ease the stress. A lot of centered around clearing the mind, breathing techniques, and even some basic meditation. She took them through how to check in with their body and mind and a few actual yoga poses that they could practice at home. She also gave them a sheet of techniques/poses that they could take home as a reminder.

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The second half was spent doing calming jars and stress balls. I started with the calming jars and had the teens work together at about the same pace. This helped me not to have to repeat instructions a billion time. The teens were perfectly in-sync, but enough that it worked. Some teens really took a while to make sure they had their glitter combinations and slowness perfected. I will say that the fine/small glitter works much better, but mixing in some bigger flakes gives it a bit of texture.


The second project was stress balls. We had a tiny snafu with getting the rice in the balloons, but it wasn’t too bad. I had planned to use funnels, but on the day of I couldn’t find them and had to compromise with a water bottle. It still worked, but took the teens a little longer and created a bigger mess. However, the teens loved making them and some even made several to take with them.

Final thoughts: While this is a higher costing program, especially since I hired a yoga instructor, it was well worth it. I love that the teens were able to walk away with things to help them deal with stress. These tips that will not only help them in school but in everyday life. I hope to repeat this in 2016, maybe during summer when more teens seem to be available.


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