How To Make A Weighted Lap Pad (With Photos)

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Does your child have trouble sitting still? Does your child need a little extra sensory input? A weighted lap pad can provide the sensory input a child needs in order to focus better.

Today I have Jamie of Miss Jaime OT sharing this great tutorial for a DIY weighted lap pad. 

DIY weighted lap pad for sensory seeking kids.

What does a weighted lap pad do?

Weighted items, including vests, lap pads, and neck wraps, are known to help children to focus by providing Proprioceptive input. Proprioception, which is deep pressure touch, is soothing to a child because it can help a child to realize where their body is in space and produce a relaxed, calm feeling.

Weighted lap pads can be used in the classroom during seated work, or in a quiet time area for a brain break. It is a great option to have as part of your sensory tools strategy at home or in the classroom to help provide proprioceptive feedback. 

Weighted pads or lap pads can be expensive, so making your own is a great option! 

How to make a DIY Weighted Lap Pad

Since I love to craft and I love a bargain, I decided to create a Do-It-Yourself weighted lap pad. It literally cost $3.00 with items from Dollar Tree and about fifteen minutes of effort. I like to sew but I'm sure if you are a non-sewer, you could use hot glue. (I haven't tried that so forgive me if it doesn't work).

You need to buy:

  • 2 washcloths or microfiber hand towels (I found these adorable ones with little animals) $2.00
  • 1 bag of beans (the bigger the better) $1.00
DIY weighted lap pad items for kids with sensory seeking needs.


1) Line the washcloths up with the seams together. Face the outsides (pretty sides) so they are touching.

This way when you sew the first three sides together, they will be sewed neatly like a pillowcase.

DIY weighted lap pad for sensory seeking kids.

2) Sew the first three sides together with a quick “loop around” stitch. I'm sure that there is a “sewing” name for this, but I don't know it.

DIY weighted lap pad for sensory seeking kids.

3) Tie off your third side with a strong knot. Flip your washcloths inside out so the pretty sides (for me that also means the animal faces) are facing out now.

I tried this two ways. First, I put my bag of beans into a plastic bag because I wanted to make it less likely that the beans would burst open and make a mess. (Hate messes!) I stuck my beans into the slot and sewed the fourth side shut. DONE! Voila!

DIY weighted lap pad for sensory seeking kids.

But: After I was done, I decided I wasn't really happy with it. The plastic bag plus the plastic of the bean bag resulted in a little bit of a noisy, crunchy lap pad. Which could be distracting instead of calming and focusing.

So I decided to make another one- this time no plastic bags. I figured that I'd better just sew the sides really tight to avoid a bean burst. So I went back to the dollar store and the big bag of beans I bought last time was gone, I had to buy two smaller bags. I also decided to try it with a seam down the middle, to keep the beans evenly distributed. This was much better!

DIY weighted lap pad for sensory seeking kids.

1) Start off with your two pretty sides together, and sew around three sides.

2) Measure the halfway across the middle mark.

3) Sew a line straight down, separating your pillow into two long sections. Make sure your bags of beans
will fit.

4) Open the bags and fill each section with beans. Sew the top closed.

$3 to $4 bucks for a weighted lap pad! I'm not sure that this is better than/as good as an expensive weighted lap pad from a catalog, but it's definitely a good way to figure out if your kid or your student responds to weighted items, so why not try it?

Do you have any good DIY crafts? Please share!

Photo of a women with brown hair and a salmon colored shirt.

Jaime Spencer is a pediatric Occupational Therapist with fifteen years of experience in Long Island, New York. She currently works in a public school with students from Kindergarten to 5th grade. She also has ten years of experience working in a sensory gym with preschool-age children.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Utica College of Syracuse University and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Adelphi University. She was recently certified in Assistive Technology from California State University Northridge.

Jaime Spencer is the author of the Occupational Therapy blog

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The ultimate guide to weighted blankets for kids and adults.

Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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  1. This is so awesome! thank you for sharing!

  2. Hi- signed up ,but did not receive the link- just a picture of books-there is no link when you click on picture- Thanks-Sue

  3. I love the cute animals you found to make this with. I have made rice bags in a similar manner, which are used as heating pads. But these sound perfect for just everyday fidgetyness. Thank you for a great idea! 🙂

  4. Hello
    Any specific weight?
    Thank you?

  5. Love this idea for a SS kid in my life. Any recommendations for the weight for a 7 yo girl with a desire for less input? Wondering if more sections would keep the lap pad even quieter?

  6. Hi Crystal! More sections would probably make it quieter. However, once I got rid of the plastic bag, my lap pad was pretty quiet!

  7. Love this. Need to make one for my 6 yo daughter. What weight should I use?
    Cutting up her weighted blanket so using those pellets. She hates her blanket. Going to try make shoulder and lap pads instead. Maybe those will help her…. And her teacher!

  8. Jean Perczak says:

    I sew and I think this is an awesome idea. I did want to ask a few questions though…
    Are the animal faces distracting to the children?
    And would it be beneficial to add essential oils to the beans before inserting into the cloths?

  9. How do you wash or clean a weighted lap blanket or things like it.

  10. EOs would be beneficial but personally I would add just a few drops to the fabric before giving it to the child. If you put it on the beans before inserting it the oil w just disintegrate

  11. I am going to try these dish drying mats from the $1 store and mesh laundry bags for the beans!!

  12. Anne Nowak says:

    Thank you so much for posting this and the reason it works. I made cuddle quilts for several of my neices and nephew (all adults) and they love the “weighted” blankets. They say it helps them relax and sleep better. I am going to make the lap pad for my grandson. Thanks again.

  13. sarah dack says:

    Wondering about adding lavender essential oils to a rice lap bag for calming. Have you used any essential oils with children?

  14. Hi Sarah,

    Yes, you could definitely try that! I use essential oils with my own children, however my daughter also becomes hyper to lavender and my husband does not tolerate it well so I have to be careful with that specific one. Cedarwood would also be another good option that is calming.

  15. Thanks. I am making a weighted lap pad for a friend’s 4 year old who has anger outbursts and she believes some ADHD tendencies. I actually bought the weighted beads at Joann using a 50% off coupon and then they had a 20% off coupon off the total order so I think it ended up being about $4 for a 2 # bag I made my bag about 9 x12 inches I think. Just not sure if I should use the whole bag. I read somewhere 5% of their body weight. Like you I think I’m going to do the channels instead of the squares. Thanks for a great tutorial!!

  16. What a great deal on the beads!! I have heard anywhere from 5% to 10% body weight. But I think it’s always better to start on the lower end, you can always add more. 🙂

  17. Is there a reason beans are better than rice as a filling? Or pellets or cherry are better than rice? Is it a sensory thing like rice could be poky but rounded fillings won’t be? My mom made rice buddies from old towels when I was a kid so we could heat it up in the microwave as a heating pad. I don’t think it was pokey but maybe for those with a sensory disorder it could be? Just curious if there is a reason?

  18. I think it is more just personal preference. It make take more rice to get the desired amount of weight too.

  19. This is great! I will be looking for the pieces to make a few of these for behavior challenged students on my campuses. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Does anyone know do the beans make it smell/do they ever go off??

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