Sleep Socktopus (Sock + Octopus!)

Do you have a stuffed animal that helps you sleep?

Getting consistent, healthy sleep is a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, getting to sleep can be tricky for some people. Having a consistent bedtime routine helps kids and adults alike feel their best the next morning.

A Teddy Bear or other special toy (also called a transitional object) can be soothing during the bedtime routine. Try making a soft, friendly, squishable octopus from an extra sock to incorporate into the routine and, assist with the calm down process and help kids (and adults!) get ready for sleep.

In this activity, you will create a special socktopus to use in the sleep routine.

• Understand the importance of having a bedtime routine and how it can improve your sleep
• Describe how healthy sleep relates to overall health and wellness
Key Vocabulary: Routine, sleep, brain

Follow Along!

Facilitator Background:

  • Sleep is vital for the body and brain
  • Sometimes students are surprised to learn that the brain doesn’t “shut off” for the night! Multiple parts of the brain are active during sleep, involving structures responsible for consolidating memories, controlling the transitions between sleep and wake, relaxing muscles, processing emotions, and more.
  • Circadian rhythms control your timing of sleep. It acts as the body’s biological clock and synchronizes with environmental cues (like light and the temperature) to make us sleepy at night and more awake in the morning
  • There are two basic types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM). Each is linked to specific patterns of brain activity, measures in waves. Everyone cycles through all stages of non-REM and REM sleep several times per night.
4 stages of sleep
The four stages of sleep. Illustrated JR Bee, Verywell
  • Researchers and scientists are still working to better understand the risks involved with being chronically sleep deprived and the relationship between sleep and disease, but studies suggest that people who are chronically sleep deprived are more likely to be overweight, have strokes and cardiovascular disease, infections, and certain types of cancer than those who get enough sleep.

Healthy Sleep:

  • Children aged six to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep
  • TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products all can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to school aged children’s sleep
  • In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours
  • Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent in school age children
  • Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems that impact on children’s ability to learn in school

Kid Friendly Language:

  • Your brain and your body need sleep to perform their best. Just like a phone needs to recharge, your brain and body both need some rest time to get ready for the next day
  • Have you ever thought about what it means to sleep? It can be tricky since we usually aren’t thinking about sleep WHILE we are sleeping! Scientists say sleep means:
    • There is less action in your mind and body
    • Your body is in a special position (in humans, laying down and eyes closed)
    • You are not noticing things going on around you
    • You can wake up easily (it doesn’t last forever)
  • Most kids need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep per night
  • When your body doesn’t get enough rest, you might feel cranky and have a hard time following directions
  • Having a bedtime routine can improve your sleep. Here are some things you can try:
    • Go to bed at the same time every night
    • Get lots of exercise during the day
    • Have a light snack before bed like milk or cereal – but not with too much sugar!
    • Do some quiet activities before bed, like taking a bath, listening to quiet music or reading a book
    • Make sure the bedroom is dark enough (a night light is okay)

This information and more from National Sleep Foundation, © 2020 SLEEPFOUNDATION.ORG

Key Questions


  • 1 clean adult sock longer than ankle length
  • 1 cup dry rice or beans (such as kidney beans or black-eyed peas), cotton filling, or old socks/shirts (cut into small strips)
  • Sting or small rubber band
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie or fabric marker

Activity Plan

  1. Connect to prior knowledge:
    1. Ask: What are some things you like to do before bed to help you sleep?
    2. Explain: Getting plenty of sleep is part of living a healthy life! A routine is when we do the same things in the same order every day. At school, you probably have a morning routine: what do you do when you get to school? [responses will vary]
    3. Just like there are lots of routines at school, having a bedtime routine will help your brain and your body get ready for lots of healthy sleep. We will make a “socktopus” that you can use as part of that routine: you could read to it, meditate with it, or write about it in a sleep journal!
  2. Fill the toe of the sock with about 1 cup of your filling. This should give you about a fist-sized blob at the end of the sock.
  3. Twist the filled part of the sock just above the filling. Tie tightly with string and double knot it to secure, or wrap the rubber band around the twist.
  4. Starting from the top part of the sock (the ankle part), cut a straight lines down toward above the tie. Move about a half inch over in the sock and cut another line. Continue cutting strips until you have cut the entire sock.
  5. Add eyes with a Sharpie or fabric marker.
  6. Incorporate your socktopus into your sleep routine!

As with all activities, adult supervision is strongly recommended.

Follow-Up Questions

  • What is one thing you might add to your sleep routine?
  • How do you think getting a good night’s sleep could change your day?

Extension Activities

  • Make a sleep diary! Try this one to get started.
  • Try making a different animal, like a sock bunny or penguin:

Check it out!