If your child has been to any type of therapy outside the home, then you are probably familiar with sensory rooms. Sensory rooms can be very beneficial to children who have Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, or ADD/ADHD among many other things. Creating a sensory room at home can be extremely beneficial for your entire family.
Today I am going to share some tips and ideas for creating a sensory room in your home, along with introducing you to a great company, Achievement Products for Special Needs.
This is a sponsored post by Achievement Products for Special Needs. I was compensated for my time in writing this post, reviewing the Gel Aquarium mat, and also running the giveaway in this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and my own. Please read my disclosure policy for further questions.
What is a Sensory Room?
A sensory room is basically a safe place in your home for your child to go when they either need a break or calm themselves if they are starting to unravel.
Stimming behaviors are often a sign that your child may need a break or a place to relax. Stimming behaviors are any repetitive movement or behavior that your child does in order to try and cope with the environment around them. These behaviors or movements are obviously different for each child. Some may crash into objects, others may fidget, spin, flap their arms, etc. It all depends on how they cope.
Having a sensory room gives them a safe place to collect themselves and work on self regulating their behaviors.
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 sensitivities. Instead of calming down, the lights will only make their behavior worse. 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 off 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
- A net swing or therapy swing
- Fidget items that allows for repetitive moment
- Gel Aquarium Mat
- Weighted blankets or vests
- A resistance tunnel
- Therapy balls
- Balance beam
- Calming, alerting and organizing activities for kids – free printable included to hang in your sensory room
- Brain Break Cards
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If your child is seeing an Occupational Therapist, definitely 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 in what products would be beneficial based on your child's unique reactions and behaviors.
The Gel Aquarium mat is actually weighted as well, 8lbs total. This makes it perfect for a weighted lap activity or with your child sitting on a bean bag or large pillow cushion. There are 4 fish included in the gel that your child can push around with their fingers or hands.
This Gel Aquarium is a great fine motor, bilateral coordination and motor planning activity. It does take a little effort for the gel to loosen up enough to move the fish around. This provides a great strengthening activity for your kids too. My daughter also enjoyed holding the Gel Aquarium vertically and watching the fish slide down to the other side of the mat. Then she would turn it and watch them go back to the other side.
The Gel Aquarium allows for a lot of repetitive movement which, as we talked about above, is a great way for many kids to calm and restart themselves.
The gel and vinyl material used for this is non-toxic. What is also really neat is that you can put it in the fridge to chill or heat it gently in warm water to add an extra sensory experience for your kids. It is also advised for children ages 3 and up
You can find Achievement Products for Special Needs in the follow ways:
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