grounding activity card deck


Perfect for parents, teachers, and those in the mental health field, this simple card game is designed to be a fun and engaging way to invite kids and adults to refocus their attention on specific body sensations in a trauma-sensitive way- which can help soothe a frazzled or dysregulated brain.

This 36 card deck features 34 different grounding ideas,  1 instruction card, and 1 card with a blank front (so you can add your own favorite activity to the set!).

Originally I planned to offer these as a professionally-printed physical resource only, but when I learned that COVID-19 related delays at the only printing company I could find that specialized in playing cards would mean the cards wouldn’t be ready to ship for months, I decided to make these available for print at home as well.

Options for getting your own deck:

1. Print at Home

Assortment of cards with illustrated ideas for mindful grounding, shown next to a colorful deck and text

Click to download and print the pdf version.  For best results, you’ll need heavy cardstock, a paper cutter, and a round-edge cutter. (Patrons may print up to 3 copies free)

2. Professionally Printed Boxed Deck

Assortment of cards with illustrated ideas for mindful grounding, shown next to a colorful deck and text

Printed by a premium printing company specializing in playing cards, boxed decks are shipping now!  Order yours via Amazon:

Not ready to preorder? Add the card’s amazon listing to your wishlist.

3. Patreon Benefit

Join a pre-print delivery tier on Patreon for a pre-release copy – I have ONE extra card deck coming in with the printer’s proof later this month and it will ship to the next person to sign up (or upgrade to) a tier with physical mailings. Benefit claimed. Sign up to a print delivery tier on Patreon now for immediate shipment at no extra charge with your first monthly mailer!

Assortment of cards with illustrated ideas for mindful grounding, shown next to a colorful deck and text


Using this Card Deck:

Helping someone who is way outside of their window of tolerance return to a state where they are able to listen, learn, and engage is challenging.

When emotion becomes overwhelming, brains tend to literally dis-integrate: the connection between parts of the brain that manage emotion, logic, and bodily experience become overwhelmed and disjointed from one another.

One way to help calm and soothe a brain in this state is through exercises that help our brain move attention to body-based sensations. When we can turn attention to a physical feeling, we can help our brains and bodies reconnect and ground back into a state where we can focus, listen, and calm ourselves.

For Mental Health Professionals: 

If you’ve been in therapy as a client or a therapist, you may be familiar with grounding exercises that ask a person to name things they can see, hear, or touch. Once only used by trauma therapists helping clients with dissociation, more and more therapists now use these exercises with a wide variety of clients, based on emerging brain science in the universal benefits of mindfulness. These traditional exercises work based on the same theory described above of connecting brain and body, however, repeating the same grounding exercises over and over, week after week can sometimes make them less effective because of the familiarity and repetitiveness. This deck solves that problem: shuffling and drawing three cards keeps grounding exercises novel and interesting.

For Parents, Teachers, and Childcare Professionals:

For still-developing brains, it can be especially hard to self-soothe or “calm down” when feelings start to be overwhelming. Taking a break to play this mindfulness game can help keep frustration or overstimulation from developing into an emotionally explosive state. Grounding cards can be a way to interrupt, pause, and reset during highly frustrating or upsetting situations.



Often, vague body-focused mindfulness activities trigger intrusive thoughts and sensations for trauma survivors. Using my own training in trauma-informed mental health practices, I designed these cards to minimize this possibility: Rather than wide-open (and potentially retraumatizing) questions about global body sensations, this deck focuses on inviting participants to make a small movement with their body, and then mindfully noticing what that particular sensation feels like. These smaller, more narrowly focused mindfulness activities can help trauma survivors access the benefits of mindfulness while minimizing intrusive thoughts and sensations.

Through Patreon, you can get instant access to download all printable PDFs, licensing for professional use, and early releases- all while supporting the creation of more psychoeducational resources like this.

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