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Worry Pet, Therapy Toy for Kids with Sensory and Anxiety Needs (Free Crochet Pattern)

by - May 14, 2019


Hello fellow crocheters,

As some of you may know, I am speech-language pathologist who works in the special education program in public schools.  Over the years, many of the teachers I work with and myself have observed a notable increase in anxious behaviors.  I have many students who worry excessively, and I always wish there's a way to help them out.  Thankfully, one of my colleagues told me about a nifty coping skills tool that can help children handle their worries... a "Worry Pet"!  It's essentially a simple-looking fidget toy that students can hold, squeeze, or rub when they experience emotional regulation difficulties.

After I saw some cloth Worry Pets online, I immediately thought that I could crochet one!  I'm pretty happy with what I came up with! 


I used Patons Melody Quick & Cozy yarn in the color, "High Energy."  It's a really fun, colorful choice, but of course you can make your Worry Pet in any color you'd like!  Read the TIPS that I have below for some suggestions, though (e.g., using Green yarn if your child is familiar with the Zones of Regulation).


Here, the Worry Pet is sitting all snug and comfortable atop the skein!


Tips for making the Worry Pet the Optimal Anxiety Coping Tool

  • Introduce the Worry Pet as a friend who wants to help the child's worries go away.
  • If your child uses the Zones of Regulation for self-regulation and emotional control, you can crochet the Worry Pet using GREEN yarn.  That way, the pet can serve as a visual reminder for your child that he/she is working to return to the Green (calm, "ready to learn") zone. 
  •  Place a small, cloth satchel of lavender in the center of the toy when you are stuffing it.  (Studies suggest that lavender is effective in promoting relaxation and easing anxiety.)
  • Prompt your child to take deep, slow breaths while squeezing the Worry Pet.  For some children, it helps if they close their eyes during the process too.  
  • Rubbing the pet's fur or feeling for the poly-pellets within the pet can provide a comforting sensory input.


But, while the Worry Pet is helpful for worriers... it can be a cute toy for any child!  The crochet instructions are very easy and beginner-friendly, and each pet works up quickly.  They're perfect to make as quick crochet gifts for little ones, for selling at craft fairs, or to donate to charity or programs that support children with special needs!

Check out the video below to see a preview of this Worry Pet!  (He's super squishy!)


So....shall we get started on this?  Scroll down for the free, written crochet pattern with visual references! 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/worry-pet-therapy-toy-for-anxiety

If you'd like to download the beautifully-formatted, ad-free, and easy-to-read PDF version with photo references (see preview below)click here to purchase it for a small fee in my shop.  It includes my TIPS to optimize this toy as a therapy tool.  Thank you for supporting Sweet Softies designs!





"WORRY PET"
CROCHET THERAPY TOY

Copyright Notice -- © 2019 Sweet Softies (www.sweetsofties.com). You have permission to sell finished products made from this pattern, but you must credit Sweet Softies as the owner/creator of this pattern by linking to my website (www.sweetsofties.com) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SweetSofties). No wholesale. You may not copy, alter, or sell my patterns in part or in whole in any way. My patterns may not be used in teaching online classes. My patterns may be used in teaching in-person classes ONLY with written consent from me. You may link to this pattern but you may not copy any part of the pattern instructions on other websites.


Introduction:
The Worry Pet is a crochet therapy toy.  It's a fluffy, stuffed ball of joy and calmness!  The Worry Pet is perfect as a fidget toy for kids with sensory and anxiety needs.  Children can carry this soft, pocket-sized pet around and keep them close by to hold or rub when they experience worries or emotional regulation difficulties.  The poly-pellets in this pet help it have a weighted feel, and gives some comforting sensory input when rubbing between fingers.  The tactile sensation make it an especially helpful coping tool to help students who struggle with social-emotional coping skills.

These are not just for worriers, though!  Every child will love one because they are oh-so-cute!  The Worry Pet is perfect to crochet as quick gifts, for selling at craft fairs, to donate to charity or programs supporting kids with special needs, or to donate to special education programs and special education teachers in schools!

Finished Measurement: 
  • Approximately 2.5 inches tall, 3 inches wide

Level: 
  • Beginner. Requires familiarity with stitches used (below).

Stitches/Terms Used (US Terminology):
  • MR: magic ring 
  • Sc: single crochet
  • Dec: decrease 
  • Inc: increase

    Materials:


    ~ CROCHET INSTRUCTIONS ~

    Note:
    The Worry Pet is worked in one piece, from top of the head to bottom.
     

    Let's Begin!

    R1: 6 sc in MR. (6 sts)
    R2: Inc around. (12 sts)
    R3: (Sc, inc) x 6. (18 sts)
    R4: (Sc 5, inc) x 3. (21 sts)
    R5: (Sc 6, inc) x 3. (24 sts)
    R6-R8: Sc around. (24 sts)

    You can use a dog brush to fuzz up your Worry Pet!
    Brush in different directions, and you'll notice the yarn getting fuzzy.
     R9: (Sc 2, dec) x 6. (18 sts)
     

    At this point, you may insert 10mm eyes between R6-R7, 4 sts apart.
    Stuff the top part of the doll lightly with fiberfill stuffing, and then the bottom half with poly-pellets. (Optional: add a small lavender satchel in the center of the doll and stuff around it.)

    R10: (Sc, dec) x 6. (12 sts)
    R11: Dec around. (6 sts)

    Fasten off with a yarn tail. Use a yarn needle with the tail to sew the small hole closed. 




    That's it, you are done!  Congratulations on finishing your Worry Pet!
    A child will thank you for it. 💝







    Don't forget... if you'd like to download the beautifully-formatted, ad-free, and easy-to-read PDF version with photo references (see preview below)click here to purchase it for a small fee in my shop.  It includes my TIPS to optimize this toy as a therapy tool.  Thank you for supporting Sweet Softies designs!


    If you enjoyed this free project and would like to make a donation to support my work, please click here!  Any amount is greatly appreciated and will go directly towards the yarn and supplies I use to keep creating new designs!




    Love the Worry Pet

    You might enjoy these other amigurumi patterns too!  Simply click on the image below to navigate to the free pattern, or check out all my free patterns here.

       
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      http://www.sweetsofties.com/2018/01/loving-you-flower-pot-free-crochet.html http://www.sweetsofties.com/2017/12/tiny-baby-snowman-free-crochet-pattern.html http://www.sweetsofties.com/2017/10/tiny-baby-pumpkin-free-crochet-pattern.html







    If you made this project and would like to share photos, I'd absolutely love to see!  Here are links for sharing your finished creation:

    As always, you are more than welcome to SHARE this post with any fellow crocheters who'd like to try this pattern!  Thank you for reading, and I wish you all a wonderful day! 


    Best wishes,

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