Sitting on a regular seat can be tough for kids with sensory processing issues or attention issues. They may need sensory input to stay focused and comfortable while seated. Products like wobbly chairs and exercise balls can be expensive, however. Here are low-cost ideas for making a sensory-friendly seat for your child.
Pool noodle seat
Grab a pool noodle and bend it into the shape of a horseshoe around the seat of the chair. (It should sit on the seat like a cushion.) Cut off the ends of the noodle where they meet the edge of the seat. You can use duct tape to secure the noodle to the sides and back of the chair.
You could also loop the noodle into a circle, tape the ends together and then tape it to the seat of the chair. Experiment to see what works with the chair.
Beach ball chair
Inflate a beach ball halfway. Then place it on your child’s chair. Placing the ball inside a pillowcase can make the surface more comfortable, and it will help the ball last longer.
Exercise band footsie
Loop an exercise band around the front two legs of your child’s chair. Kids can press or bounce their feet against the band. In a pinch, you can also tie pantyhose around chair legs for the same effect.
To get a difference sensory experience, thread a loop of exercise band through the hollow middle of a pool noodle. Then loop the ends of the band loosely to the front legs of the chair. Kids can roll their feet over the noodle.
Bean bag chair
Ditch the chair altogether and use an old bean bag chair. Give your child a clipboard or other hard surface to work on while she’s sitting. You can also use the cushion from a papasan chair.
Exercise or bouncy ball
Buy an inexpensive, but durable, exercise ball. (An extra-large bouncy playground ball will also work.) Put the ball in a milk crate to create a sensory-friendly seat that will stay put.
Looking for more? Try these ideas to help your child cope with tactile sensitivity.
About the author
About the author
Andrew M.I. Lee, JD is an editor and attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education, and parenting issues.
Keri Wilmot is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics.