By: Kierstin Barth
Often times as professionals, or parents, we search endlessly for the right sensory tools to help our children more appropriately fill their sensory seeking needs. However, often times the most effective are well out of our price range. Here is a list of ideas for obtaining accessible sensory items at a more affordable cost:
- Weighted Items: Weighted blankets and clothing can sell for hundreds of dollars, but there is a less expensive alternative. To create a weighted vest of your own, buy a jacket with multiple pockets and fill the pockets with small weights or small bags of sand. This will create a similar effect to the namebrand alternative at a much lower cost. Another option is purchasing tight fitting gymnastics clothing, because many children are seeking the tight fit feeling and not necessarily the heavy feeling. Always have your child try on the clothing before making a purchase – we know just how picky our kids can be!
- Fidgets/Chewies: A very low cost alternative to the highly expensive fidgets are easier to find than you might think. Although it sounds odd, pet toys can actually serve as great fidgets/sensory items because they are made to last! Some additional examples of low cost “fidgets” are Play-Do, silly putty, rubber band balls, stress relief balls, and fidget cubes. Items like sensory bins and bottles can easily be crafted with items from any local store, and there are many tutorials online to create your own for much less money than buying from a retailer.
- Large Sensory Tools: A compression, “crash pad” can easily be made by filling a duvet cover with foam. Tools like mini trampolines can often be purchased on Craigslist, Ebay, etc. to find the lowest cost option. Couch cushions can also be used to help with compression seeking sensory needs.
- Other: IKEA offers a large selection of other items that can aid with sensory processing such as swings, small tents, and soft lights.