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So…you decided to build a sensory room.
Now…the more difficult decision is what do you put in it?
And…can you find budget friendly sensory room items?
As you look into buying sensory items, you will notice that some of the items that you want to purchase will range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Since there is no rules to building a sensory room, it is easy to get swept up into the excitement of putting a much needed room together for your child. You may want to go all out, but then realize you do not want to spend that much money.
Which brings us to the next question… Are you on a budget?
If you are on a budget, then you want to stick with the basics of sensory room items. There is no point in splurging on one item, when you can get 5 items for that one price.
You also have to keep in mind the needs of your child. What are your child’s sensory needs? Do not go out and buy a trampoline, if your child will do better with a swing first. Once you understand your child’s needs, then finding budget friendly items for your sensory room will be much easier. So to keep it simple, here are a few items to get you started that are budget friendly and a must for your child’s sensory room.
Play Tunnel Play tunnels are essential in every sensory room. We used this tunnel a lot in our special needs preschool classroom. The kids loved it and it is great for their gross motor skills. Another cool thing about this tunnel is that it collapses easily for storage.
Swing You cannot have a sensory room without a swing. While there are a lot of swings out there, this is a recommended budget friendly one. It can be hung indoors and can hold up to 250lbs, so it perfect for any child. Swings are used for motor planning, vestibular orientation, balance reactions, and linear acceleration.
Exercise Ball Who would have thought an exercise ball could be so versatile? Yet it is. Your child can use this ball as a bouncer or to play with. You can even squish him with ball to add pressure or have him lay on his stomach on top of the ball to stretch out.
Sensory Balls Nowadays there are a lot of sensory balls to choose from. When looking for sensory balls, purchased ones with different textures, colors, patterns, and/or noises. These balls will help with sensory integration, tactile exploration, and coordination skills.
Pressure Foam Rollers These rollers are used for massages by applying full body deep pressure. I remember using these rollers on my students in the classroom. It would relax and calm them down instantly. If your child has a sibling, these are the perfect size for children to use to massage each other also.
Bean Bag You can never have too many bean bags in your sensory room. Bean bags can be used for laying down, for applying pressure, and for crashing on. A bean bag can also be very visually and tactile stimulating like this one. If you prefer a less visually stimulating bean bag, choose a dark solid color.
Calming Music Depending on the purpose of your sensory room, calming music can be an essential element. It really sets the mood and creates a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Calming music helps to reduce aggression, soothe the senses, and decrease unwanted behaviors.
LED Lighting Sensory lighting can also be used as a calming effect or it can become overstimulating for your child. If you decide to use sensory lighting, observe your child’s behavior before and after they are in the sensory room with the lighting. If it produces undesirable behaviors, try a different lighting or do not use sensory lighting at all.
Light Up Sticks You can use any light up toys, but these light up sticks are very budget friendly. Again, these can be calming or overstimulating for your child. Make sure to test them out first to see what works best for your child. These light up sticks are great for visual and tactile stimulation.
Spin ‘N Saucer Sit ‘n Spins are one of those toys that adults do not understand but children love. To use, your child would sit on it and spin around and around and around in circles. I have seen children spin on these things for quite a long time and not get dizzy. So prepare to be amazed. This particular Sit ‘n Spin is called a Spin ‘N Saucer.
Play Tent Some children want to have a dark quite place to call their own. This is where a play tent comes in place. You can set this up in your child’s sensory room and it can become their home away from home. It can also be used for storytime, a reading center, or pretend play when it is no longer needed for the sensory room.
Scooters Scooters are useful for gross motor skills and sensory integration. They can also be used as a calming factor. To get your child in a calm state, have them lay on the scooter on their stomach and scoot around.
Bubble Machine Do you know a child who does not love bubbles? I do not. Bubbles bring an instant calm, amazement, and delight to any child’s face. Chasing bubbles is a fun way to get your child active and move around the room. It also is visually stimulating.
Fidget Toys What’s a sensory room without fidget toys? These tactile fidget toys help with extra energy, autism, or ADHD. They also help to promote a sense of calm, reduce stress, anxiety and can increase focus and attention.
What are your budget friendly sensory room items?