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Today I am going to share some tips and ideas for creating a sensory room in your home. If you are unfamiliar with sensory rooms or spaces, this is a great place to start.
What is a Sensory Room?
A sensory room is basically a safe and quiet place/space in your home for your child to go when they either need a break or need to self-regulate.
Having a sensory room gives them a safe place to collect themselves and work on self regulating their behaviors.
My friend Sharla at the Chaos and the Clutter used her closet to create an amazing sensory space. You can check it out here.
Creating a Sensory Room at Home
A sensory room is really a little misleading in the name. It does NOT have to be an entire room in your home. It could just be a certain area in a room, a safe corner, or designated space.
The first thing you need to do is make sure the area that you pick is completely safe for your child. No sharp corners, outlet covers in place, cords and other objects that could cause harm if you child is having a particular bad day. There are times when children may be so upset that they will throw themselves into things or throw things at other people. So just make sure that this area is free from any objects that could cause harm to them or others.
The next step would be to make sure there are no fluorescent lights in the specific area. Many times fluorescent lights can be irritating for children with visual and auditory sensitivities. If you don't have an option with changing out the lighting, simply cover the fluorescent lights with heat safe paper to help cut down on the glare, or just don't turn them on.
Include soft lighting such as Christmas lights along the ceiling, or a dim lit lamp. A light table would even be a good option.
The color of the room should also be calm and soft colors. The brightest shade of red would definitely not be appropriate. Ask your child what colors help them to feel calm and base your color choices on their suggestions. Pale or natural colors often work best: tans, blues, greens, or light yellow for example.
What Items To Include in Your Sensory Room
Here are some ideas of items to include in your sensory room at home:
- Large crash pillows or mats
- Bean bag chair
- Body sock
- A net swing or therapy sensory swing
- Fidget items that allow for a repetitive moment
- Weighted blankets or vests – the blankets and vests I linked to here are handmade by a fellow Occupational Therapy Assistant with a small business on Etsy.
- Therapy balls
- Sensory break cards
- Books to read
- A stuffed animal or favorite toy – the Soothing Sammy dog and program is a great option for preschool and kindergarten-aged children
- Calming, alerting, and organizing activities for kids – free printable included to hang in your sensory room
Another great company to get items from is Fun and Function. They have some great sensory break boxes, weighted blankets and vests, lap pads, body socks, and more. If you are looking to support a small business and not buy from Amazon, I would highly recommend them.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If your child is seeing an Occupational Therapist, talk to them and see what they recommend for your child to use in a sensory room at home. They will be able to advise on what products would be beneficial based on your child's unique reactions and behaviors.
For more ideas like this one, check out the links below.