Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sensory stuff

We just finished our house makeover into a therapy house for the boys and I wanted to share it with everyone.
We changed the living room into a therapy room and made the underside of the boys loft beds into sensory calming tents for them.
Here is one view of our livingroom. Here is their trampoline, Aiden uses this to help calm down when he is overly stimulated and Scott uses it to help energize himself. We also have the exercise ball which is used for a variety of activities from balancing on it, to using it to complete tasks, to pushing it through the resistance tunnel. We have Scott's rocker, which he uses for calming, and man can he rock that thing. Next to that we have the resistance tunnel, we connected it to the wall that way it can be handled a bit easier with only one parent home (which is most of the time). Then we have the crash pad, which is made out of a kingsize duvet cover with pillow stuffing, foam, and bean bag pellets to give the boys a sensory experience just from laying on it. Then we have the rock wall, which has helped keep Scott from climbing on everything that he shouldn't as well as helping Aiden learn to climb (we are planning on making a bigger one in the near future once Aiden gets the hang of it).
Next to the rock wall we have hanging basket full of all sort of toys and items for the boys to play with, the ones above the light table have manipulatives for them in it as well as art supplies. Then we have the light table, which we contemplated making with LED light ropes and a Sterlite container, but we decided to splurge and buy a professional one instead. The two jars on the table are full of cut up pipecleaners that the boys use the magnetic wands to manuever around. Then there is also one of Aiden's favorite toys, Bert the farting hippo.
Here is a close up of the light table with Scott's favorite translucent legos on it.
On the other side of the living room we have the egg chair we got from Ikea, it is wonderful for Aiden's stimming, and is such a sensory experience when the cocoon is closed and someone spins you, I can see why the boys love it. We made our own ball pit from one of the boys' old pack-n-plays that we weren't using and two huge bags of balls from Toys R Us (we are also going to get at least another bag before too long). Then more hanging baskets and a toy box full of soft play items such as weighted firemen, EMT, and Police vests; pretend play items like vegetable and fruit baskets (also from Ikea), ect.
On the wall dividing the kitchen from the living room we have a dry erase board and a favorite, a magnetic board. We cut an easel from Ikea in half and mounted the dry erase board, then we got an oil drip pan from Lowes which makes for a great magnetic workstation.
Next to that we have the other half of the easel to make the chalkboard. Then we hung a cuddle swing, also from Ikea, in the doorway to the bathroom (it was the only place we could get it to be supported).
In the doorway to the boys' room we have Scott's favorite, the trapeze bar (both the swing and the trapeze bar can be interchanged with each other and we have another cuddle swing if they both are needing one and a regular toddler swing).
Inside the boys' room we have their sensory calming tents under neath their beds. This is Aiden's complete with a monkey beanbag, a soft sheepskin rug from Ikea, tons of fidgets, light up toys, an LED rope light, and a fiber optic "tree" as Aiden calls it. They also have resonance pillows (not pictured) that I made by making pockets for speakers in the back of a pillow case and hooking their Ipod shuffles to it.
Also in Aiden's sensory tent is his lycra "stoplight" swing. I say stoplight swing because it is made out of three layers of lycra from JoAnn fabrics, red, yellow, and green. Aiden is obsessed with stoplights, so we made it to be a stoplight itself.
Here is Scott's tent, much the same as Aiden's with the exception of a puppy beanbag chair and different fidgets that are his favorites.
Scott also has a lycra swing in his tent, made with three different shades of blue, the color blue has a very calming affect on him. Both boys also have what is called a Jiggy Piggy, this is Scott loves to cuddle with in his swing. A Jiggy Piggy is a vibrating pig, it helps with over stimulation.
Here is a close up of how we attatched the lycra fabric to the boys' bed slats underneath their beds. We took some chain and cut it down to fit snuggly around a slat and then knotted the lycra fabric to the links on the chain. I will note that we made more than just one knot per piece of fabric, and we had to make sure we got the knots as tight as humanly possible or else the fabric would just slide right on through.
This is my little Mister Fister, AKA Scott, enjoying the his sensory tent.


  1. This is great! We are moving to a bigger house soon and have been looking for ideas for my 4 yr old's room. Unfortunately, the closest Ikea is 4 hours away. :( I'm obsessively looking up all the items you mentioned on their website.

    How did you attach the lycra swings to the beds?

    1. I updated the blog with an up close picture of the lycra attached to the chains. I hope this helps.

  2. It's really hard to see in the pic of Aiden's swing, but we tied it to chains wrapped around the bed slats. We thought of using a carabeener, but I didn't order enough, and the closest climbing supply store to us is in Seattle! I will have to upload a pic of how it was done (will just edit this post, so keep your eyes open!)

    1. Oh, and IKEA ships. Just make sure that your cart is full enough... they charge $50 for getting it off the shelves, and a minimum of $50 for shipping! They also offer to have furniture put together for you. No idea on the cost of that since I like having an excuse to buy more tools!

  3. Thank you for these great ideas! I am a special ed. teacher and have been many children come through my door with sensory issues. The OTs help a lot, but I sometimes have trouble visualizing what can be done.

  4. Love this!! Thank you I've been searching for ideas. We're working towards making our house the same.

  5. i was wonder the cost of the blue egg chair im in the prosses of making a room for my thre yr old and there are such wonder ideas but im hooked on the egg chair and ive looked on line for the prices vary from 599oo and up and thats way beyond my buget so i didnt know if there was a cheaper way your boys room is amazing endless ideas thanku,,kerri

    1. Kerri,

      We bought the egg chair from IKEA. I've included an address below that goes directly to the item (I tried to make a link, but it didn't work). We ended up having to replace the chair after the boys had both used it so much that they wore out the rollers! Now they have a Red swivel chair instead of the blue one, but they still love it. The chair was $90.00 so it should be a little easier on the budget!

      If you have any more questions let us know.


  6. I love the indoor trampoline.I could just fit one into the kids' upstairs playroom. Do you think it would be safe if the walls were just a couple of inches away from the netting or does it have too much give? Thanks!

  7. this is great, I need these ideas. Question how do I pay for it? Did you get items donated?