Each child is different, and their therapy room or sensory room should be designed around them, but we’re going to include lots of interesting ideas that you may find useful to make your room exceptional. The more activities/experiences you can include in the room, the better. Also consider including activities for every sense. Overall, make it lots of fun for the child so they’ll be happy to participate.
Shelving - Cube Shelves
A messy room is distracting for a child, so a properly organized room is important to help them to focus and get the most out of the room. Cube shelves allow activities to be grouped and kept separate from each other. They also have room for lots of activities.
Padded mats make an area soft, comfortable, inviting and safe. Your child will enjoy being in the room more, which is a great state of mind to be in to learn and improve. Some children will need padding more than others, the parent being the best judge of this, and it depends on your choice of equipment such as swings.
Balance Beam / Tactile Path
Some children need help improving their balance, and a balance beam or tactile path is a fun way for them to practice. For a simple home-made path, you could use a row of yoga blocks or similar, with or without spaces between to make them into steps rather than a beam.
These are good for getting children moving in ways that they may not usually move, giving their muscles and joints sufficient use. They are easy to set up and put away too.
A sensory swing can be used in 2 ways: for its swinging motion (vestibular input) or its wrapping feeling (proprioception). Other alternatives include hammocks, hammock chairs, glider swings and nest swings.
Another tool for improving balance, but with a relatively low price tag. It’s an easy choice to improve your room. These are even used by professional athletes for balance improvement and injury avoidance – a testament to their usefulness.
Bubble Column / Lava Lamp
Bubble columns provide light therapy (for more comprehensive sensory integration) and they’re so interesting, they’re practically mesmerising. However, considering that they are quite hard to find, a lava lamp or rain lights are fine alternatives.
Smelling bottles and aromatherapy are helpful for children with sensory processing disorders. Certain aromas can have stimulating or relaxing effects, or they can be used as activity mediums.
This is similar to the wrapping felt from a sensory swing, though with compression too.
It is good to help kids with SPD to calm down. Similar alternatives include: weighted vests, giant floor pillows, bean bags, and lycra swings.
Providing further opportunities for muscle and joint use, a trampoline is a fun way to exercise and move. A handle can help if balance is a worry.
Fidget toys are generally good to assist with focus issues, while some can improve fine motor skills. There’s definitely a great range of options, some of which are quite cheap – spinners, squeeze toys, interactive dice/cubes, textured pens, rings, magnets and so on.
• Climbing equipment such as a rope ladder, padded incline or monkey bars.
• Tactile input – play dough or foam, textured balls/walls or activities, massagers, and various fabrics and materials to touch.
• Auditory – soothing music, white noise, chimes etc.