Sensory rooms serve as a “safe” space, designed to provide a place for any child to decompress and helps the brain regulate external stimuli – an important coping skill for young children to develop.
These rooms have been around since the 70s, mostly by occupational therapists. Creating a sensory room at home or even in a school can be a great way to provide soothing therapy to your loved ones. It can provide low-stress fun while working through emotions that are brought on by sensory overload.
Benefits of a sensory room at home can have calming effects for both children and adults. Whether a child is agitated or upset in general, sitting in a dim room with calming music and pretty lights with aromatherapy can really help regulate difficult emotions. It can also provide more focus to those with ADHD or other developmental disorders, increasing awareness of their surroundings, and allowing them to get accustomed to being overstimulated.
Not only does it have calming/soothing effects, but a sensory room can also help develop motor skills and improve cognitive development.
So, how do we build a sensory room at home? Sensory rooms can be a little overwhelming, especially when starting it from scratch. That is why we are here to suggest a few items that will really transform a space into a comfortable, sensory sanctuary.
The first step would be to list your child’s struggles/triggers and develop the room around what might be great coping methods for potential meltdowns. The second is to make a list of equipment and decorations that will really appeal to your child!
Here are a few we think should be considered as great additions to any sensory room!
Believe it or not, swinging is a great sensory activity. Sensory swings help to calm children with gentle rocking motions and can fully wrap themselves into it like a cocoon. These don’t have to break the bank, as well.
Nest Swing Chair Nook is perfect to hang either indoors or outdoors and costs roughly $66. Amazon.com: Sorbus Kids Nest Swing Chair Nook – Hanging Seat Hammock for Indoor Outdoor Use – Great for Children (40 Inch, Nest Blue) : Patio, Lawn & Garden
These can be attached to a beam in the ceiling or supported via an adjustable hammock chair stand.
It is a well-known fact that the right lighting can really change a space. Creating a sensory space is no exception to this. Lighting such as lava lamps, projector lights, bubble lights, fiber optic lights, and even sensory LED message boards work together to create a space that is relaxing to the senses. This message board is super neat: Amazon.com : Sensory LED Message Writing Board 16”×12” Erasable Illuminated Neon Drawing Pad Flashing Doodle Chalkboard Gift for Kids, Restaurant Menu, Promotions, Autism, ADHD Educate : Office Products
And these bubble light towers are four feet tall with fish swimming around them: Playlearn Bubble Tube Lamp Fake Fish Tank with LED Lights Home Decor 4 Feet – Walmart.com
Just like lighting, music can change and uplift a space. Be sure to try out different genres of calming music. You could try spa music, rain, ocean sounds, and more. These can be played over speakers, smart homes, google homes, etc. And set up with a timer!
Make sure to inquire about your child’s music preferences and play genres they will relax to!
Not only are DIY Projects fun to accomplish together as a family, but your children will love having them as options to play with in their own sensory space.
- Giant Mermaid Fabric Sensory Board- Homegrown Friends
- A great way to recycle plastic bottles: DIY Sensory Bottles for Kids – Happiness is Homemade
- Sensory Music Wall: the independent little bee…: DIY Sensory/Music Wall (adifferentkindofvision.blogspot.com)
- There are also a ton of themed sensory bags to create with your little ones depending on what you feel like creating/playing with!
Here at The Nest Schools, we incorporate sensory play into everything with do. We provide cozy reading nooks to wind down in, outdoor spaces with safe gardens to explore different textures of leafy plants, and fun sensory activities and crafts lead by our own teachers!
No matter if you are just beginning to build a sensory space for your family or are just about finished, we are so excited for you to learn more about the wonderful benefits of sensory play.