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Sensory processing issues

6 Low-Cost Ways to Create a Sensory-Friendly Chair

By Andrew M.I. Lee

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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.

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Pool noodle seat
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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
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Beach Ball Chair

Inflate a beach ball halfway. Then place it on your child’s chair for her to sit on. Placing the ball inside a pillowcase can make the surface more comfortable, and will help the ball last longer.

Exercise band foot rest
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Exercise Band Footsie

Loop an exercise band around the front two legs of your child’s chair. Your child can press or bounce her feet against the band. In a pinch, you can also tie pantyhose around chair legs for the same effect.

Pool noodle foot rest
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Foot Roller

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. Your child can roll her feet over the noodle.

Bean bag chair
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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.

Milk crate chair
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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.

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5 Tough Situations for Kids With Sensory Processing Issues

Kids with sensory processing issues can be oversensitive to their surroundings, undersensitive, or both. And what triggers a negative reaction for one child might have no impact on another. Here are some common trouble spots for kids with sensory processing issues.

8 Sensory-Friendly Indoor Games and Activities

Finding something to do when you’re stuck inside can be challenging for many kids. But for those with sensory processing issues, some activities work better than others. If your child gets overwhelmed by certain games, there are several options that can calm his overstimulated system.

Here are eight sensory-friendly games to help meet your child’s sensory needs.

About the Author

Portrait of Andrew Lee

Andrew M.I. Lee is an editor and former attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education and parenting issues.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Keri Wilmot

Keri Wilmot is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics.

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