Kids with sensory processing challenges or may need sensory input to stay focused and comfortable while seated. But products like wobbly chairs and exercise balls can be expensive. Here are low-cost ideas for making a sensory-friendly seat for your child.
1. 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.
2. 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. It will also help the ball last longer.
3. 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 or tights around chair legs for the same effect.
4. Foot roller
To get a different sensory experience, thread a loop of exercise band through the hollow middle of a piece of 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.
5. 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 sensory-friendly tips? Try these ideas to help your child cope with tactile sensitivity. And learn what to do when kids refuse to put on certain clothing.