Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Best Sensory Room Ideas for Kids

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Planning on creating a sensory room or space for your child? Check out this list of sensory room ideas!

Now that you know what a sensory room is and what the benefits of a sensory room are, you're likely wondering what to actually put inside the room itself.

There are literally hundreds of different things that you could have in your sensory room. 

So let's take a look at some of the best sensory room ideas for kids

Think of this as your master list of ideas to pick and choose from when creating your own sensory space at home. 

You'll find lighting and flooring ideas for sensory rooms, as well as seating options, sensory gym equipment suggestions, and so much more!

The best sensory room ideas for kids so you can build your own sensory space at home!

Cool Ideas for Sensory Room Floors

First things first, let's start from the ground up with some flooring ideas for setting up your perfect home sensory environment.

Your child is likely going to do a lot of movement (crawling, jumping, rolling, etc.) right on the ground. So it's important to ensure that your child has a soft and cushiony surface to play on. Sensory rooms are supposed to be safe places to explore, not some danger trap causing injuries left, right, and center.

Here are some flooring suggestions to try:

  • Padded gym mats - If you plan to have swings or climbing walls in your room, then I highly recommend having some thick padded gym mats. They can be quite expensive, but are well worth the investment. You can also use these mats for proprioceptive sensory input (squishing kids like a sandwich, for example). My kids frequently build forts with ours so there's that too.
  • Large soft carpet or rug - Try adding a large fluffy rug, a faux fur carpet, or something similar to add to your space. Not only will they provide a soft surface to play, but they can add a pop of color. They can also be great for kids who are tactile sensory seekers.
  • Gel floor tiles - While these are a fun flooring option for DIY sensory rooms, they are quite expensive. But they're really cool and might be exactly what you need.
  • Sensory crash pad - I highly recommend having a crash mat or pad underneath climbing walls or swings or even just to crash into. But let's be honest, they're expensive. It's a good thing you can make your own crash pad pretty easily using household items though. Seriously, it's one of the most easy sensory room ideas you'll ever make!
Ideas for sensory room floors for kids

Sensory Room Equipment & Furniture Ideas

What equipment and furniture you add to your sensory room will depend on the size of the space. 

A smaller sensory space might be able to fit only one or two items for this list, while a larger sensory space might be able to fit quite a few items. So pick what works best for your space.

Here are some of my favorite sensory room ideas when it comes to multi-sensory equipment and furniture: 

  • Sensory swing - When it comes to sensory room ideas, sensory swings are at the top thing on my list. I mean there's a reason why I ended up making so many sensory swings myself. By the way, be sure to check out my DIY sensory swing guide.
  • Mini trampoline - If your kid loves to jump, then I highly recommend getting a little trampoline for your sensory space. It's seriously one of the best things I've ever purchased for my boys.
  • Sensory tunnel - Tunnels are great for providing sensory input, increasing body awareness, and developing gross motor skills. A tunnel is great to have in a sensory integration room.
  • Body sock - A body sock is a great way to meet your child's daily sensory needs. And it's sure to get your kids giggling.
  • Weighted blanket, vestlap pad, or stuffed animal - I personally use a weighted blanket myself as it gives me the right pressure to help with my restless legs. But lots of kids can also benefit from the deep pressure of a weighted tool. You can also make DIY sensory toys and tools like these quite easily, if you'd like to go that route.
  • Rocker board, wobble board, or balance board - They go by many names as you can tell. And while they all look slightly different, they do serve the same kind of purpose: working on balance. They all work great in a sensory room, no matter what you pick.
  • Fidgets - Having a bin of fidgets is a must in a sensory room. You could try pop its, tangles, chewelry, spinners, or even Rubik's cubes, for instance. Each child likes different things so you might have to try a bunch of different options until you find ones that your child likes.
  • Indoor play gym - If you have the space and want to splurge a little, having an indoor play gym with monkey bars and whatnot might be a great fit for you. It really depends on the sensory needs of your child though.
  • Play tent - A great place for kids to retreat to when they need somewhere quiet to go.
  • Balance cushion - These are great for working on balance. But they also make excellent seating options, which leads me to the next section: seating options!
Sensory room equipment and furniture ideas

Sensory Room Seating Options

Here are some suggestions for seating options for your sensory space:

  • Bilibo - I remember that these things were all the rage a number of years ago. They're the perfect seating option for kids who love to spin or need some help with balance.
  • Wobble stool - I love these types of stools for wiggly kids! My son had one at school in kindergarten and grade one and they were so helpful for him. So if you have a sensory table of some kind in your room, then you might want to try a stool like this instead of a traditional chair to go with it.
Suggestions for seating options in a sensory room

Sensory Table Ideas

One of the most popular sensory room ideas is a sensory table. That is, a table where kids can explore different things via their senses. But here are two of the more popular suggestions when it comes to sensory tables:

  • Sensory table - Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be a table, per se. It might just be a large plastic bin or storage container to play in. Or it might be a full-fledged table. Use what's right for your space.
Ideas for tables to put in a sensory room for kids

Sensory Room Lighting Ideas

When it comes to sensory room lighting, you'll want to keep things soft and dim. Try to avoid harsh lights. Here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Christmas lights or fairy lights - You don't have to buy fancy sensory lights for your room. You can use fairy lights or Christmas lights for simple lighting.
  • LED Light Strips - Here's another inexpensive lighting suggestion that will definitely jazz up your space. Or if you're looking specifically for sensory bedroom ideas, then light strips are great for that too!
  • Sensory Light Projector - Light projectors like this one are so cool! They're calming and soothing to look at. Many even come a built-in sound machine too. Again, if you're wanting to make a calming sensory bedroom space, a light projector is perfect for that.
  • Bubble Tube - Bubble tubes are a really fun option for a sensory room. The combination of bubbles and lights is so soothing!
  • Lava Lamp - Or go a bit more old school and try a lava lamp in your sensory space. They're mesmerizing to watch and perfect if your child loves visual sensory input.
  • Fiber Optic Lamp - I used to love these things as a kid! They're so cool looking and would be an awesome addition to a sensory room.
Suggestions for sensory room lighting

Sensory Balls to Try in Your Sensory Room

I didn't think I would need a whole section dedicated to different types of balls, but yet here we are...

Balls are just one of those must-have ideas for a sensory room.

As you can see, there are so many fun options that would be great for a sensory room, including:

  • Exercise ball - A large ball like this one can be used for all sorts of different things in a sensory room. You can use it to sit on. You can use it to roll across your child's body for deep pressure and sensory input. You can have your child push it through a sensory tunnel as a heavy work activity. If you need more ideas, try these activity suggestions here.
  • Textured balls - These spiky textured balls are great for use in sensory rooms. Again, these can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
  • Hopper balls - I remember buying two hopper balls for $10 each one super cold winter day (think -50 C with the wind chill) as a way for my kids to burn off energy. They were worth every penny! They're such a great way to get kids moving and provide sensory input. I highly recommend getting one for your sensory room. You can even get fun animal hopper toys.
  • Peanut ball - You can use these balls in the same ways I mentioned with the exercise ball. They just have a slightly different shape. Try using it for working on balance, encouraging movement, and increasing core strength. Peanut balls are a great addition to a sensory integration room.
  • Light up balls - When my husband used to go to conferences, he would often come home with a variety of swag. Often that swag would include light up balls or flashing spiky bouncy balls. Basically, the balls would light up once they hit the floor. My boys loooove them! They're great for visual sensory seekers.
  • Puffer squishy balls - These types of balls are stretchy, squishy, bouncy, and tons of fun to play with. You can usually find these at the dollar store.
  • Stress balls - These types of balls come in a variety of options. But they're great for helping kids regulate, building hand strength, and more!
  • Ball pit with balls - Ball pits make for an awesome sensory room idea and you can actually get them for pretty cheap too.
Sensory balls ideas for kids

Sensory Room Decor Ideas

You've got the right lighting, check. The right flooring, check. Some fidgets, equipment, and other items, check. Now it's time to think about the finishing touches for your sensory room. 

Give these sensory room ideas and decorations a try:

  • Large pillows - Adding pillows to your sensory space is a great way to add a pop of color, offer up some extra sensory input, or create an inviting and calming corner for relaxing. For example, you could try fluffy ones for cuddling with or crashing into. Or you could try textured sequin ones that are great for tactile sensory seekers (aka they're good for stimming with).
  • Sensory path stickers - One of the most popular sensory room ideas as of late are to use sensory path stickers or decals. They're a great way to personalize your room, but what's really awesome about them is that they encourage lots of movement too.
  • Glow in the dark stars - Did you have some of these in your bedroom growing up? My brother did and I remember loving them! Anyway, they are perfecting for decorating your own sensory room too.
  • Mirrors - Want to make your small sensory room space look bigger? Then try adding some mirrors! They make a great addition to any sensory room. We personally had some mirrors next to our light table which made from some really fun sensory play.
  • Vertical surfaces to write or play on - Think chalkboards or whiteboards. Both make for great sensory room ideas. Or if you don't want something specifically for writing on, you could try a magnet board or felt board as alternatives.
Other sensory room decor ideas

A List of Awesome Sensory Room Ideas for Kids

Phew, I know that was a lot! So here's a quick list of all the different sensory room ideas that were mentioned above. Obviously, this list isn't exhaustive. There are definitely lots of other ideas to consider as well like sound machines or essential oil diffusers, for instance.

A list of ideas for a sensory room

Other Helpful Resources for Creating Your Own Sensory Space

What is a Sensory Room?

What are the Benefits of a Sensory Room?

How to Make a Sensory Room on a Budget

The best sensory room ideas for kids so you can build your own sensory space at home!