Sensory Backpack

Today, we are starting off our Christmas in July celebration with a giveaway on a Sensory Backpack! Sensory backpacks are a powerful calming tool for children of many needs. There are weighted backpacks, compression packs, and book bag fidget tools out there. Here, you’ll find out some information on these sensory resources AND, can enter for a chance to win a Relax Pack Sensory Backpack of your own!

What is a sensory backpack?

What are Sensory Backpacks?

Have you heard of the term “sensory backpack”?

Most kids you know probably have a backpack that weighs way too much for their age or size. But for some children, the added weight of a backpack is calming. It’s proprioceptive input that has an organizing effect on kids.

Sensory diet bags are tools that help to support a child’s sensory needs, while on the go, at school, or in the community. Understanding your child’s Sensory Needs is just part of the puzzle.

A sensory kit can be used to meet the needs of a child and can look like many things: Sensory kits like a weighted backpack offers calming sensory input that can be used to both calm and stimulate a child’s sensory system.

Typically, it is portable and easy to maneuver as a way to make the tools accessible at all times to the child or children in need. Since all children have sensory needs, a sensory backpack can be a way to provide sensory input in a discreet and engaging way.

Sensory backpacks offer proprioceptive input in the way of pressure and weight.

They offer a means for the child to fidget and move their hands.

Many times, there are chewable items for the child to gain calming, heavy work through the mouth.

By using all of these items on a sensory backpack, kids can gain calming, heavy work input that allows them to focus, pay attention, remain safe in group settings, and help to organize the child during community settings or outings.

Calming Sensory Input

Children with sensory problems often are either at high alert hyper-reactive or unresponsive (hypo-reactive) to the input from their environment. They become overly distracted by outside stimuli, or they may seek out additional sensory input from the world around them. Over responsiveness or under-responsiveness can mean difficulty with paying attention or focusing.

The proprioceptive system receives input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position in space.  Our bodies are able to grade and coordinate movements based on the way muscles move, stretch, and contract. Proprioception allows us to apply more or less pressure and force in a task. But, the sensory system allows us to accept input too, in a way that is calming and organizing, so that we can self-regulate input from the world around us.

Self-regulation is an issue in sensory integration disorders and other diagnoses…as well as in children without a specific diagnosis. Children with self-regulation problems usually demonstrate unusual sleeping patterns, eating difficulties and self-calming issues. They struggle to cope with sensory input and need coping strategies.

Sensory input in the way of deep pressure, weight through the muscles or joints, chewing on resistive surfaces, or bear hugs are some coping tools that can have a grounding effect on kids with sensory issues.

Sensory Backpack Calming STRATEGY

That’s why a sensory backpack offers such a calming and organizing input for kids.

It’s a powerful way to help kids feel safe, pay attention, focus on walking in the hallway, or on the bus.

This year, children may return to school with an even higher level of anxiety or worries. Things are different this year and the school schedule may be different. Maybe kids are not in school at all.

A sensory backpack can offer a routine for schooling at home and allow them to self-sooth using proprioceptive input so they can complete distance learning tasks.

563 thoughts on “Sensory Backpack”

  1. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is either linear swinging or tactile input via play-dough, rice bin, bean bins, etc.! Love this idea of Christmas in July!!

  2. I created a sensory bin for a friend’s son & he is doing well with it. I would LOVE to have these resources in my classroom. Hopefully, we’ll be going back next month! Thanks for all the great information you provide on your site. Best wishes, Annie

  3. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is to provide deep pressure squeezes. I specifically like to have the kiddo lay on a mat and use a peanut ball to roll over the child’s back. I work with kiddos who have autism and a majority of them absolutely love it!

  4. I’d never heard of these. My son often complains and hates wearing is regular school backpack. Maybe something like this would help!

  5. I love using a peanut or yoga ball while the student is laying prone and rolling it along their back. It always seems to provide instant calming!

  6. During remote learning, I’ve been loving having parents and siblings turn students into sandwiches! We pile on all the pillows and choose our toppings, then squish to apply deep pressure. Then for additional heavy work, I have the student lift large couch pillows and make the parent into a sandwich, too!

  7. Hi! Back when we were going to school, my favorite way to provide calming sensory input was to have the child get into a body sock and then swing them slowly on the platform swing – they love it! Now, with teletherapy, I encourage parents to sit on the floor with their child and hug the child tight into a fetal position and rock slowly side to side while singing Row Row Row your boat 🙂

  8. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is to complete joint compressions and use provide a deep pressure massage. Also, I like to use calming music in the background.

  9. Anything that gives a student deep proprioceptive input. My students love the steamroller and the roller slide (usually on their stomach). Slow swinging.

  10. I provide wobble disks as sit spots for my students circle time and fidget bands on the chairs. Opportunities for preschoolers to move and press against a resisting surface truly helps their ability to calm, focus and learn in class.

  11. I like giving my own kids deep hugs I also ask them to jump up and down 10 times hold a pillow or teddy bear. We sometimes do wheelbarrow walks. Definitely providing this input in a playful positive way helps regulate their emotions and help with a transition and increase cooperation.

  12. Favorite simple strategies: dim light, calm music, “squeezes” bubbles or some sort of oral motor/sensory tool (chewy, etc). So many kids are motivated to communicate that they want these things as well so these sensory strategies are also a great way to work on communication. Strategies using stuff at home: weighted stuffed animal; heavy work via pushing a heavy laundry basket/toy box across the carpet.

  13. I started following you 3 years ago. You have provided me so many resources, tools, advice, and information to help me flourish as an occupational therapist working in a non-for profit school for children with developmental disabilities and medically fragile children. THANK YOU ! I use the calming strategy prior to the OT session. I fill a backpack with weights and walk with the child to OT. Another strategy I use is joint compression and massage while the child is listen to calming music on the iPad. Just want to say THANK YOU again !

  14. I love using a Body Sock with my students, combining it with yoga poses. The tactile and pressure input really help to decrease impulsivity. Even during seated work where the hands are needed, many of my students like to keep the body sock around their lower extremities to help them focus. Thanks for initiating the fun giveaway!!!

  15. I have found that two gentle hands on the shoulders is a good first step (always asking my student first to make sure they are comfortable with me touching them as it can be a trigger for some students). For my own daughter, tight squeezes work best. She may resist at first, however, her therapist and I have discussed it with her and she wants us to engage the tight squeeze even if she resists at first. We have a safe word for if she really needs to be out of the squeeze.

  16. I like to have a sensory corner with a bean bag chair to provide proprioceptive input and a variety of fidgets and weighted equipment for them to choose from.

  17. When in school, we used the weighted blanket and/ or cushions to make a “sandwich” with all the toppings…. or rolled in the blanket while the caterpillar was growing in its cocoon and then emerges as a beautiful butterfly, slowly flitting away!

  18. My students seem to respond to deep pressure the most, through hand squeezes, joint compressions, weighted blankets, weighted backpacks, and yoga ball pushes.

  19. I love to use straws for proprioceptive input, either blowing or sucking. This takes planning and time to clean-up, so it’s not always easy to use. My 2nd favorite is simple joint compressions, particularly to the child’s hands and wrists, which can be done quickly, in the moment as needed.

  20. One way I like to help facilitate calming sensory input is to attach a rope to a giant bin full of toys that my kiddos have to pull across the room to rescue said toy. I then depending on the theme of the week have them get on their hands and knees or belly to complete a second activity with the rescued toy.

  21. I know it sounds generic; but, my favorite way to give calming sensory input is whichever way is most effective for the child I’m working with. I love watching the effects of the calming input for each child. Though, I will say, smooshing kiddos in a bean bag sandwich is a lot of fun! So, maybe that’s my favorite!

  22. What a wonderful opportunity! First off thank you for all of the wonderful resources. And secondly to answer the Christmas in July question, my favorite sensory calming techniques are yoga and stretching activities for regulation and mindfulness and also creating your own snow globes or lava lamps to shake up. The creativity in these exercises can be very calming.

  23. I love playing the blanket burrito game where students lay on a spread out blanket and grab a corner. Then they can roll over until they are wrapped like a burrito. I like it bc kids usually find it fun and it’s easy for parents to carry over in the home.

  24. The back looks like a good way to provide sensory input. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is a weighted pillow for students to have on their lap.

  25. My favorite way to offer calming sensory input is by deep massage to the child’s back given slowly, rhythmically on either side of the backbone. It is awesome when you feel their body just sink in and calm to control. Thank you for all your wonderful ideas, handouts and more. Your site has offered much encouragement and freshness from long-term clients. Thank you!

  26. I would love this freebie to incorporate into my tools for practice! My favorite calming strategy is deep breathing exercises- such as infinity breathing or rainbow breathing

  27. I find that kids respond well to a quiet space with colored or dimmed lights and some rhythmic movements such as rocking or vertical swinging. Throw in a weighted blanket and some soft tribal drums in the background and it’s a game changer!

  28. I love to use backpacks with my preschoolers. Each child typically has their own back pack and I love to add various things in the pack to provided the input whenever they make transitions. Also classroom staff is all trained in using heavy work throughout the day and they provide it for the kids that need it throughout the day which is always more effective than just getting it during the 2 OT sessions per week. 🙂

  29. My favourite way to give calming sensory input is with a quiet cuddle and firm hug. Both my children enjoy the comfort and calming sensation of being cuddled, but my son in particularly finds big bear hugs a wonderful calming sensory input. Second to bear hugs is sensory jars, again both my children find them calming to watch, my son likes the standard sensory jar while my daughter prefers a slower version we made using clear glue, it almost gives the sense of a moment frozen in time as the glitter and snowflakes fall slowly through the solution.

  30. My favorite way to provide calming input is to teach deep breathing. I often pair it with some calming music.

  31. I’m still a student, and unfortunately had to take a summer break from starting fieldwork due to this crazy year. However, with my limited level 1 experiences my favorite way to provide calming sensory is using Play-Doh. Scents can be added, edible versions can be made, it’s slow and resistive but also works on fine motor skill. It just seems so versatile to me. Very excited to read these comments since I’m starting up in a school setting this fall and will need more ideas.

  32. A favorite is encouraging my son to find things that work for him. We have visual schedule squares of calm activities he can choose from: hugging a stuffed animal, drinking water through a straw, reading a bug, rocking in a rocking chair, reading a book, giving or receiving a hug, among others. A lot of our sensory kids aren’t sure exactly how to express what they need, but when they see it, they often know!

  33. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is to have a calming corner with a bean bag, books, drawing paper, and glitter bottles.

  34. Sensory backpacks are a great idea this year since there will be no sharing and we need to keep their tools separated! My favorite way to provide input is definitely heavy work, very calming and organizing for nearly all my students.

  35. I love rolling up my preschoolers into a burrito for the proprioceptive input then rolling them out to help their vestibular system. For my older students, I encourage the teachers to send the student on a task to carry a weighted crate down to the office and back to retrieve a message from the office.

  36. Love the idea of a sensory backpack!
    My students love “calm down jars” and glitter bottles.
    I like that they can design what they put in the bottle and they can learn to use it with breathing techniques.

  37. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is to wrap them up in a blanket, to give them pressure all over.

  38. It depends on the age! The little ones love bear hugs and the older students do better with yoga or wall push-ups or .

  39. I use pillow squishes a lot for input. I work as an OT in early Intervention so I try to use what we have in the home. It would great to have a sensory backpack to use and show parents!

  40. My favorite way is through various proprioceptive techniques coupled with requesting or communicating that need via gestures, pictures, or verbalization.

  41. We use sensory glitter bottles, lullaby music, and lavender oil, slow derp breaths. Sometimes, gummies or peppermint chewing gum helps to calm.

  42. I mainly work with PreK students and my go-to for calming (and engaging) students with severe sensory processing issues are tactile bins that allow immersion of hands, objects to find and remove/replace, and often calming scents to tap into that systems as well (vanilla, lavender or even cinnamon/pumpkin spice is well received) Themed objects, like animals/foods/holiday items/shapes, help tap into the educational objectives for the students and give the activity more purpose and interest.

  43. I am a ten year teacher who recently crossed from general education to special education. Although My experience isn’t extensive I have found success with a weighted vest, wiggle seats, metronome, and singing nursery rhymes.

  44. Love this!! My favorite calming techniques are a weighted lap pad or a therapy ball massage.

  45. Using a therapy ball while child lays prone on mat/beanbag and “steam roll” over childs back

  46. Great job with the blog! I am a parent of a Child with SPD and it’s so great to see websites like yours offer open advice and tips to parents and OTs alike. Thank you for all the great work!!! My sons favourite calming sensory exercise is running a big gym ball on his back back and forth he loves that!!!

  47. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is through deep pressure squeezes -all I need are my hands. I have used a weighted backpack in the past too for a student who had lots of energy!

  48. My favorite way to provide calming input is to make a kid burrito – wrap up in a blanket and apply “toppings” with a therapy ball.

  49. this is so dependent on the child, I primarily work directly with preschoolers and I use the noise cancelling headphones, compression vests and weighted animals on a daily basis! I love all of the ideas to have a variety of techniques for my students to try!

  50. I love using deep pressure, at work we use a step roller, sensory vests and heavy work; at home we have a big sheet and weighted blankets!

  51. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is using a lap blanket. I also like using backpacks!

  52. I find my younger kids love being squished by a big therapy ball or holding them in my lap, tuck up there legs, and squeeze while i rock and count to ten.

  53. My students love when they lay on their stomachs and I roll a big exercise ball along the length of their back while applying pressure. I’ve had nonverbal students request it by laying down and pointing to the ball. I would love to win this pack and put it to great use with them!

  54. Our kids need these sensory tools now more than ever as they are often confined to home and limited OT input strategies and equipment. What an incredivble giveaway!

  55. Offer heavy work activities like carrying library books, jumping jacks, wall push ups and bear walks.

  56. To help calm a student I like to turn down the lights,play calming music and supply fidgets and other sensory items

  57. While were now exploring new calming techniques, auditory stimulation i.e. music and weird noises used to be the only thing to calm my son. My singing to be exact. I can seriously make up a song about everything from brushing teeth just takes a minute to why is it so loud in the gym. We just started compression and weights because honestly, my town now thinks I have mental health issues because I make random noises when we are out in public. While we don’t mind, his siblings are starting to not hang around so much. ?

  58. A weighted blanket! But I would love to try try this backpack and recommend to my students, what a great idea!

  59. I absolutely love all of the blogs you post. This is great sensory information. My favorite calming strategy would be deep pressure through animal walks. I also like fidget tools for hands, feet, and chewing for mouth for calming and increasing attention at the same time! 🙂

  60. I love to allow kids to do a weighted walk break, sit in a beanbag chair while playing with fidgets, provided a sensory bag with sound canceling headphones, fidgets, coloring or reading books etc, chewies, Sensory bins and much more. Thanks for your web page it has been very helpful for info and ideas.

  61. My favorites are deep pressure input as part of daily routines such as putting classroom chairs on/taking off desks/tables, carrying/pulling basket of laundry, groceries or books.

  62. I use a weighted blanket and the wilberger brush for my 7 year old daughter. They are instant calmer’s for her!

  63. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is deep pressure and I encourage my kids to give themselves a hug.

  64. Wow am I the 1st comment??? My favorite sensory calming tool is a fidget. I just got my son some clear thinking putty on sale at target! It’s a hit. Thank you for doing the giveaway again.

  65. For sensory needs I generally go for proprioceptive activities, accordion tubes, resistive putty or bands, also ball seating/movement.

  66. My son loves to be rolled up in a yoga mat or blanket, like a burrito. We add even more input by asking what he wants in his burrito and where to put it. For example, he might say cheese on his chest, and I would pretend to add cheese and provide pressure to his chest. When his burrito is complete, we roll him up.

  67. My go-to calming activity is joint compressions and big squeezes. I love that they are a way to show my kiddos how much the adult is supporting them. I also love that they can be implemented anywhere!

  68. I like to provide calming input through animal walks, deep pressure “Hamburger” squeezes with two large bean bags/couch pillows, or yoga with light ankle/wrist weights. Gum and thick drinks through thin straws helps too!

  69. I love heavy work activities which include weighted lap pads, vests, along with scooter boarding on the stomach…make it fun?

  70. Brushing and joint compression because it usually gives immediate results for my kiddos who enjoy this. It doesn’t work for all or even everyday for some kids but when it does it’s great!

  71. I love using a weighted laundry basket for kids to push/pull to provide heavy work then following the activity with deep pressure such as making them into a “sandwich” with large pillow cushions.

  72. Students love to use the weighted blanket as well as weighted animals for calming and when sitting to do work at table in tberapy.

  73. Providing firm, deep pressure massages throughout the day, adding lotion is an extra plus also!

  74. I use a stretchy exercise resistance band on the legs of a chair to keep my kids engaged at the dinner table. Gives them a way to “fidget” their legs without needing to bounce around their seats every few seconds.

  75. First, I incorporate social-emotional learning and sensory activities into our daily tasks. Each student also has a sensory basket/tub in own personal space with items of interest. I also have a quiet corner with a rocking chair, and basket of calming items with a choice board, social stories,and calming sensory items. The adults also benefit from these activities.

  76. I like to have the students participate in heavy work activities such as carrying grocery bags, laundry baskets or pushing carts. They are functional activities that also assist with sensory input.

  77. This is such a great giveaway! I love the backpack and its various uses. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is to provide dim lighting, use of essential oils, and use of a theraball while the child lies prone or supine for deep pressure input. I also allow for deep breathing exercises in conjunction. Thanks! 🙂

  78. I like to have students participate in heavy work activities such as carrying grocery bags, laundry baskets and pushing carts. These are functional activities that provide sensory input to the students.

  79. Dim lights, offer choices for student (slow rocking, platform swing in calm manner, star breathing, close eyes, mindfulness), end with a few deep breaths

  80. I have never seen this backpack before, but looks like a great strategy! I am a new grad so still trying to find my go to sensory strategies but my kiddos have enjoyed blanket rolls with sqeezes!

  81. My favorite way to provide calming input is to facilitate smooth linear and concentric patterns on a platform swing, in various calming positions.

  82. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input for my students is having them make a stress ball “wacky sack” with my students. I have them fill a balloon stretched out over the neck of a cut off water bottle with playdoh, make pea size balls using finger isolation, pincer or tripod grips, use the eraser end of a pencil to push the playdoh down, tie it off, and draw a funny face with a permanent marker. So much fun for the kids!

  83. My favorite way to facilitate calming sensory is providing proprioceptive input and using body socks, yoga balls, and calming music.

  84. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input into a child’s day is to first let them choose the calming strategy. They will naturally gravitate towards what their system needs. With that said, alternative or flexible seating has been a great way to introduce calming into a classroom when we want to be a little discreet. Different options such as a therapy ball, disc sit, wobble chair, hoki stool, or even a standing desk can be a great way to calm down the systems of our students. Although, the therapy swing may be my favorite way to calm most of my students, the most functional calming solution for me has been the flexible seating options.

  85. I love proprioceptive activities for calming! Animal walks, tunnels, rolling on a yoga ball, or rolling one on the child’s back, “burrito roll ups” in a yoga mat, etc.

  86. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input are using a swing for vestibular input and deep massage for proprioception.

  87. My favorite way to provide calming input is through deep pressure activities whether it be rolling into blanket, rolling therapy ball on back or simple deep squeezes into palms of the hand.

  88. I love this idea and just had this conversation about having sensory items ready for on the go!

  89. My favorites are using deep breathing techniaues (like from Conscious Discipline or other resources) and sometimes music with a slow steady beat, deep touch, drawing tools, putty, etc

  90. My favorite ways of giving calming input are linear pushing on a swing with the lights off using a camping light and calming music or using a therapy ball to provide deep pressure on the back to “make a pizza” with all the toppings

  91. My favorite calming activity is dimming the lights, playing soft classical music, while also using weight blankets and laying in the peapod.

  92. Our district is fortunate to have a “steam roller” or “squeeze machine” in the OT/PT room. The firm deep pressure this provides helps kids integrate their bodies with their enviroment. I love the idea of a sensory back pack as the student can keep his tools with him and it provides sensory input throughout the student’s day. LOVE your Christmas in July. THANK YOU.

  93. I just finished my first year in schools and was just staring to have some success with weighted vests and stuffed animals before teletherapy began. Glad to read the comments and learn about this pack and other options to get more ideas for my toolkit this year…

  94. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is using a lycra cuddle swing. It provides great proprioceptive and vestibular input! Thank you for such a great website!

  95. My favorite calming activity is using the “steam roller” machine or giving the student deep pressure and/or joint compressions depending on the student.

  96. Calming corners where my students get to select what works from them. Proprioceptive input is usually a favorite; any weighted items, heavy work activities, etc. This backpack can be great resource!

  97. For my preschoolers, one of my favorites is to push a weighted toy shopping cart around the school. We have “sensory bottles” made from big juice bottles. Kids can load the jugs, “go shopping” around the school and I load them when we are finished. It’s also a great motor planning and bilateral coordination activity.

  98. Have the child roll into a blanket and then roll a therapy ball over. usually pretend it’s a “hot dog” game.

  99. Calming activities that I like to use in sensory diets include proprioceptive input using physio big ball activities, wheelbarrow walking, squishing between pillows, body stretches/toning/yoga, and chewing/crunching resistive foods or tubing. Hiking with a back pack!!!

  100. Some wheelbarrow walks followed up by linear vestibular input on a platform swing with dim lighting!

  101. I encourage my kids to do “hug breaths”: big breath in with arms out to the side and then breathe out as given yourself a big hug. I also like joint compressions and proprioceptive input through sandwich cushion game or make a taco game.

  102. I like bubble bath. My older daughter loves getting “squishes” or slithering under me when I’m doing child’s pose or curled like a rock. Heavy pressure!

  103. These comments have such awesome ideas! These are even more necessary with everything going on! Recently I’ve been rolling her up like a tight burrito in her blanket and giving squeezes.

  104. These comments have such awesome ideas! These are even more necessary with everything going on! Recently I’ve been rolling her up like a tight burrito in her blanket and giving squeezes.
    *i accidentally posted before I could enter my email!

  105. I love activities that are grounding. I have students pick from their preferred activities using picture cards or icons on a fun twist to therapy such as “wheel of names”. Sometimes the diversion or distraction of something novel such as smelling something pleasant or hearing calming music helps as well.

  106. Progressive muscle relaxation. Teaching my kid to give herself an “anaconda squeeze”, an “alligator jaw clenched” etc. trains her to relax and self soothe

  107. If I need a child to sit and attend such as in class, I provide a lap pad that I make of a fun material filled with pinto beans, The weight tells the brain to sit and the beans provide something to fidget with

  108. Hi! I love your blog and all of your resources! My favorite way to provide calming sensory input is through deep pressure, using couch cushions, wrapping up in a blanket etc. My son also loves relaxing with calming nature music on headphones while holding his weighted stuffed animal (dragon that we love-from Target!!)

  109. My son loves going on the couch with is favorite teddy bear. That helps to calm him down when he is upset.

  110. I like to let the child lead on what is calming, but primarily offer propropceptive and tactile inputs as those are most available within a classroom.

  111. I love doing ball squeezes over the whole body, using weighted tools (blankets, lap pads), sensory bins (rice, beans, etc), swinging, and changing the environment (using tents, dimmed lighting)!

  112. My son has always loved brushing and big squishy bear hugs! In my preschool classroom we play with a lot of different fidget toys and they have so much fun with brain breaks ❤️

  113. I like to have my students lay in a bean bag chair and to give them deep pressure as they lay there.

  114. My favorite way to provide calming sensory input during my OT therapy session is to use weighted blankets and sensory brushes I enjoy myself proprioceptive input it helps me calm down before bed when feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

  115. Would be great to provide something like this to one of my students. We serve 70+ districts in SW Pa and some of the students live way below the poverty line as does their schools. ?

  116. Oh my gosh I have never heard of these bags this is exactly what my son needs. My favourite type of sensory regulating input is animal walks in my working day and using our indoor and outdoor trampoline at home. Thank you

  117. For myself – the lead vest they put on you at the dentist office before x-rays! Since I don’t have that in clinic… rolling a weighted ball over legs or backs in long sitting or supine.

  118. My Bub’s favorite way to relax is hugs. He’ll say he needs a hug and then I kinda octopus around him and squeeze. He prefers his dad’s over mine, but he likes to indulge me lol

  119. My kiddos love playing burrito (rolling up with a fleece blanket) or pizza/cookie (deep pressure with a peanut ball).

  120. Working with little ones in a part day part of the week program, I found “fidgets” helpful. A special box where they could pick something to hold, squeeze, rub on their face etc.,or for some, chew, was helpful.

  121. Thanks for your great website! It’s been a great help to me. My students seem to LOVE the inflatable green Peapod. Make sure it is a bit snug and my kiddos seem to just go “ahhhhhh” when hey get in it. Great product!

  122. I like to either let kids carry something heavy to another room or part of our room, OR offer hugs and deep pressure on limbs. Depends on the kiddo.

  123. I like to have deep pressure and or some weighted items, depending on what the child is doing.

  124. I’d love to win the backpack, it’s the first time I’ve come across this and it will be great for my kindergartener who loves proprioception inputs and she’s starting elementary next year! Our favourite calming input is a handstand against the wall for a minute I do it with my daughter sometimes we compete to see who can last longer 🙂

  125. The children I work with have taught me a welcomed hug is the best calming sensory input out there, in addition too lying on the back or tummy on a cooling mat, in a shady spot or connecting with nature via a hike or swim, even soaking feet in a cool bucket with some calming scents like mint or lavender can provide the input to calm and relax the body.

  126. I have the chidren participate in a ‘Cookie Dough’ mat activity where I have them lay down on the mat and gently roll a yoga ball over them to provide deep pressure. Very calming and most children enjoy participating in the cookie dough activity.

  127. Linear input in a hammock swing with calming music in the background while the lights are dim or off.

  128. I love working with the student, teacher and parent to come up with a ‘bag’ of options that fit the childs needs for a variety of situations to help them become more functional. No two bags or bins have ever been exactly the same. I love putting these together and tweaking them throughout the year, its like putting together a puzzle where the picture changes and develops throughout the time the students are with us…. and teaching the parents how to help recognize what their child is telling them through their body language and behavior.

  129. Good old fashioned Yoga is my absolute favorite way to set up the child for success, starting with yoga by alternating between static holding, movement, alternating head positions by purposefully patterning the poses in a way to gain vestibular input through all planes. For kiddos that aren’t as engaged and motivated by yoga, I love compression/cuddle swings!

  130. Sandwich Game. Take the pillows (and possibly some cushions) from the sofa, couch, chairs or beds and turn your kiddo in to a fun and silly sandwich, providing that input with each pillow (later to the sandwich)! All my kiddos love it!

  131. I wonder if this has anything to do with why my kids love to play with jam packed backpacks?! I never considered that it could be sensory seeking.

    We don’t have a single go-to activity but climbing trees, wheel barrow racing and general play like wrestling or dance parties usually brings about calm.

  132. I love heavy work, for movement, touch, proprioception and balance input and if you get into big-effort games, you get oral input too as we start to breathe harder. For little ones who are too heightened to cope with heavy work, compression undergarments seem to be almost miraculous for increasing engagement, attention, regulation and focus.

  133. The way I calm my son is to gently stroke between his eyebrows and up to his forehead slowly. Initially the pressure is from but as he calms I reduce the pressure.

  134. This is an awesome idea! During my sessions, I like to provide kids with proprioceptive input with therapy ball squeezes and bumps on the cocoon swing. I also find that with the little one, they enjoy a calming song and squeezes to their hands, feet and along with joint compressions.

  135. My favorite way to provide proprioception input for children is to squish them with a therapy ball or soft stuffed toy!!

  136. I have a fidgit box for the kids to choose from. I also have parents fill out an interest survey to help me stock it.

  137. I like to put some gentle Mozart on and give them a choice between some heavy work -like pushing and pulling on an exerbug or linear swinging in a suspension swing.

  138. My favorite calming activities include squishing between soft mats, rolling a bolster over the back, and using a Lycra cuddle swing.

  139. A simple rocking chair can be so calming! Place it just on the outskirts of the circle area so it is not a distraction for other students and it not a spacial threat for the intended student. :o)

  140. My favorite calmung activity is to play find the hands wall/chair/table push ups to provide proprioceptive input. I hide yhe hands and the student has to find the hands and do 5-10 pushups. Kids love it.

  141. My son has a weighted dog that he likes to hold and lay across his body for sensory input. Since we are allergic to dog dander, he strokes it like a real dog. We also like weighted blankets.

  142. I love to use themed sensory bins. My students are always excited to see what is new. I also created a sensory path in my classroom on each campus. Heavy work in the classroom is always a winner (stack chairs, clean tables/windows, push weighted cart to library).

  143. My favourite way to provide calming sensory input is to make pizzas on the child’s back. Firm pressure for kneading and rolling the dough, then light touch for sprinkling on the toppings. Plus making the choices for toppings allows the child to focus their mind, further calming them and prompting positive communication. Plus, it’s fun!

  144. I have a few favorites depending on how my son with Down syndrome is feeling. Sometimes the sensation of swinging can be calming enough. Sometimes he needs something more forceful like smashing into an air mattress, which we keep set up for him in our basement. He is also constantly chewing on things so we have a chewy necklace that he loves.

  145. Any type of heavy work activity that can easily be done most anywhere in a school setting , such as wall push-ups.

  146. Bear hugs are great for calming my son.
    I like that the backpack has the d rings fur chewies as the need for oral stimulation has been increasing.

  147. Hugs and squeezes, roll on the yoga ball, and letting my little guy open the heavy doors when entering a building. He is such a little gentleman.

  148. Depends on the child, but often heavy work activities, deep pressure/ tight hugs, or slow linear swinging! Those things can be calming to me too ??

    I like that this backpack would provide multiple options to choose from and to meet a variety of needs. Great idea!

  149. One of my go-to sensory interventions is using a weighted compression vest. At first, kids might be a bit apprehensive, but the majority of the time their attention skills improve tremendously.

  150. I have had a lot of kiddos who love having one of the large theraballs rolled over them or have them rolled into a crash mat!

  151. I like to engage my students in heavy work and deep pressure activities as part of a”calming routine “.

  152. Vestibular through linear swinging on platform swing or proprioceptive through sandwich squeezes or steam rolling.

  153. This has been a fun and helpful website to discover! Thanks for the good information, interesting ideas and generous “freebies”. A weighted “superhero” vest has been an effective “calming” support for some of our kiddos.

  154. Deep pressure hugs from Mom and Dad, rolling a yoga ball on the child’s back for proprioceptive input, wall pushups

  155. A “yoga ball” massage works very well for some of my students. I roll it on their back or they roll on the ball prone. Belly breathing and sensory play are other favorites.

  156. Purposeful heavy work! Carrying a full laundry basket to the laundry room, making deliveries to classrooms!

  157. I love to roll kids up tightly in a yoga mat then provide deep squeezes. Sometimes we’re a burrito, a hot dog or a squeeze machine.

  158. Water is the ultimate calming tool. You can put them in a pool for the heavy pressure. You can have a tub on the table that they can move their hands through, and find items.

  159. How heavy is this? My son would love it but he also rides his bike to school. Gum is his preferred reliever

  160. I use calming music, the yoga ball, an indoor trampoline which is wonderful! And believe it or not my exercise bands which come in easy, medium and hard.

  161. Some frequent tools I use: Body sock, calming music, sensory bins, heavy work and breathing exercises.

  162. I like having a calm down kit in each classroom that has a variety of tools for the kids to use when needed. We practice a new tool each week during OT session.

  163. I use a multi-sensory approach tailored for each individual child, from swing, weighted blanket, sensory lights, vibration, balance disc, etc

  164. I LOVE this Christmas is July!! I have been wanting to make something very similar for my students but would love to try this backpack first! I like to use heavy work and deep pressure input (squeezes, rolling a ball while prone, vibration, etc.).

  165. My students like spinner, and lights. I personally love sensory bottles. A few of my kids respond well to them, but there is nothing better for me personally.

  166. My son loves carrying a keychain around that he fidgets with or sometimes chews on. Love hearing the ideas from the other parents on here too. Thanks!

  167. Quiet room with slow linear glide swing gives me the best relaxing calm. Add a little lavender to the mix too

  168. I love to do a guided obstacle course with movement in all planes and heavy work included.

  169. I incorporate a lot of heavy work, joint compressions, sensory bins (my favs are kinetic sand & water beads), manipulating putty/play dough, animal walks, sensory corner with dimmed lights & calming music, etc.

  170. Hi, as each child is different the strategies are also differnt according to the childs need. The calming strategies i usually use in my clinic are rolling and twisting theraputty, i sit with the child on the bolster swing and give tapping on his head by giving linear movements, deep pressure and joint compression works wonders, and also put child on lycra swing and move in different direction by singing nursery rhymes. Even vibrator, push and pull, jumping on trampoline works better for some kids. This activities usually helps me to get their arousal level to the optimal range.

  171. For my daughter who takes a long time to calm down and fall asleep, I provide prop to her arms and legs. She asks me to “squeeze her bones” because it helps her calm down and feel relaxed. I also play relaxing music while doing this and she uses a weighted blanket.

  172. My favorite calming sensory input is slow, linear swinging in a parachute swing for deep pressure. However, I strongly believe in active input rather than passive, so I always facilitate heavy work as well.

  173. Because I work in an elementary school with limited aides to remove the children from classrooms, I need to incorporate heavy work activities into their day within the classroom. Certainly a challenge for a teacher with 20+ children and no assistance.

  174. We love making a burrito with the kids rolled up in a mat then rolling or bouncing a large ball along their bodies. Deep pressure or hard work activities are good too!

  175. Deep pressure and heavy work for calming. So many ways to do this. A few would be play dough, animal walks, squeezes, rolling in blanket or pressure with therapy ball.

  176. Heavy work with weighted balls, deep pressure – “pizza/steamroller”), slow linear swinging in lycra swing, regulated breathing

  177. Thank you for the giveaways! I use calming music, heavy work activities, and deep pressure with kids.

  178. WE have a calm down corner in our room. It has visuals for the students to look at when they are upset. We also have a small set of drawers with books on feelings, fidgets, personal fan, sensory bottles and a bean bag chair to sit in while self regulating.

  179. I love to use classical music while allowing them to work with theraputty. I also love to use heavy work .

  180. I like to teach my student’s to perform S’Cool Moves techniques (Dot, Squeezies, Listening Ears, Heart to Home, and Pretzels) so they can independently self regulate.

  181. I love using a swing in a linear pattern or providing a sandwich squeeze using the bean bags.

  182. My little loves pillow squishes! He could be in the worst mood one minute and then some medium pressure squishes on the floor relax him and have him ready to get up and play and be all smiles again! I’m still learning along with him, but his OT has been a great help with finding what works best for him!

  183. We definitely could use this idea at my school. We’re always looking for sensory tasks and “heavy” lifting activities. Thanks for the ideas!

  184. Depending on the child, I like to utilize either the swing of their choice (pod, platform, or hammock) or I will utilize jumping and crashing into a crash mat depending on what I think their body is seeking. I am a student on my level II rotation and would love to have something like this!

  185. What don’t I love for calming input! In my practice, I’m a big fan of proprioception through weight-bearing animal walks for my older kiddos when they need some extra input to assist with self-regulation to attend to tasks. For younger kiddos, a lycra body sock, crash pad squishes, and using dim lights/classical Disney music is always helpful too.

  186. I love a good respiration activity – blowing a bubble tower into soapy water with a straw or a big bubble into flubber.

  187. I show my students websites such as White Noise, or Noisly that they can use with headphones to block distractions.

  188. My favorite calming activities are heavy work tasks and linear swinging with lap weights. Thanks!

  189. My favourite calming sensory activity is deep compression and linear platform swinging. It is so rewarding to see a child actively become more calm and attentive throughout a session!

  190. My favorite way to provide proprioceptive input is by allowing the child to get active! I’ve found that maneuvering through the room on prone position on the scooter board has helped and also serves as a fun activity. In addition, playing ball toss with a weighted ball is also an effective and fun way to receive this proprioceptive input. 🙂

  191. One of my favorites is what I like to call the “bean bag press”. I have a student lay, face down, on a bean bag, with the body centered on the bag. Then I place another bean bag or two, on top of the student. From there, I gently do some pressing down on the bean bags for some deep pressure on the student’s body. At the same time, I might do some calming phrases or have the student visual something. As I do this, I am constantly checking in with the student to see if they need more/less pressure, if they want me to stop talking, if they need something different, etc.

  192. I love your site! In my classroom, I like to use weighted blankets and lap weights. I also see that the students respond very well to just hand squeezes and they keep asking for more and harder squeezes. I always have a sensory bin of goodies for the students to choose what they would like to fidget with. I’m pretty new to all of this, so this backpack sounds amazing. I would love to receive some things to add to my classroom for the kiddos who could really benefit from the sensory input. Thanks for all you do to help us be the best we can for others.

  193. I like to use a small weighted blanket/scarf to provide pressure into the shoulders when doing seated work.

  194. My granddaughter loves ‘ squeezies’, a combination of joint compression followed by deep tissue squeezes in major muscle groups.

  195. My students enjoy using weighted lap pads, deep breathing (“smell a flower and blow the petals”), sensory with putty or retrieving items from sensory bins.

  196. Weighted blanket and noise reducing headphones are a great unintrusive option in classroom .

  197. I love my weighted blanket and listening to Calming music with a few yoga poses. For my kiddos, linear swinging and squishes between pillows help calm them.

  198. In the clinic: Linear swinging using a platform or ‘cuddle’ swing, deep pressure compressions/squishes, sensory bins, and breathing exercises
    At school: Walks with weighted backpack, weighted lap pad, breathing exercises, and squeezing a stressball

  199. Love the idea of the backpack idea. I’ve been making calming boxes for each of our classrooms so that it’s available for all the students. I love the calming bottles and have also made them with orbies. The kis really love those. Calming apps on my iPad.

  200. I like to teach kids the S’cool Moves “I Can Calm Myself” deep pressure techniques so they can independently calm themselves anywhere and anytime.

  201. This backpack looks amazing!
    Heavy work activities including helping move heavy items to other sides of the room, calming music, and bubbles!

  202. Using deep pressure during songs has been very helpful for the students I see in preschool. During this time of covid, we have gotten creative with families with items in their homes including lots of outdoor time (heavy work, obstacle courses).

  203. My favorite way is to have the student lay prone on platform swing with a weighted blanket on them while providing slow linear movement.

  204. My personal favorite is the weighted blanket! But my students also love hugs, linear swinging, and crash mat sandwiches.

  205. There are so many ways to provide calming sensory input, but I think my personal favorite is walking students through calming meditations. I think that it will be helpful for the kids to learn about meditation not only now, but it has become hugely popular at the end of many exercise classes. It always calms me down, too!

  206. I like to use slow instrumental music while rolling a ball along the legs and arms. Weighted items really help my kiddo calm down, especially when paired with deep breathing.

  207. I think for me, it is based on whatever my students like the most, Mostly they love the steamroller, or being turned into a burrito with the gym mats, or the sock swing. These little mini breaks are great for helping the kids concentrate on the rest of their intervention.

  208. As a gen ed grade 1 teacher firm hugs/cuddles…guess that’s out now 🙁 and weighted cuddle animals

  209. I use any type of heavy work. My kids at school love the squeeze machine and various sensory swings.

  210. My favourite way (because it is boyo’s favourite!) is squeezing his legs and arms starting at the top, and we are “squishing the stress away”. I accidentally discovered how this calmed him 5 years ago, and it is a daily staple in our calming routine. He really needs that deep pressure to reorganize him sensory wise

  211. My students love the body sock and the squeeze machine. During telehealth I have had the parents use blankets and wrap the kid up like a borito and provide squeezes. Also I have used the thera ball to roll over the students to provide pressure. The parents have been great:) I love the ideas that people have shared as well as from this site

  212. A lot of things already mentioned! Most often we use the steam roller, jumping activities, pushing/pulling activities, and a quiet spot like a padded tunnel.

  213. My favorite is heavy work/weight bearing. The kids love to do crab walks, wheel barrow walks, sometimes they hold my feet, while completing obstacle courses.

  214. This backpack is great! Deep squeezes & massage are the best, along with calming mediator music.

  215. I’ve not seen this particular backpack before – love it. Favorite way to calm is get the kiddo under LOTS of weight – gym mats, beanbag chairs, couch cushions, heavy blankets. Natural light, calming music (or none).

  216. I have an area with a basket of calming
    tools next to a window. The basket has squishy manipulatives, sand timers, soft stuffed animals, hand held movable items, soft pillows, small handheld mirrors, soft photo books with relaxing scenes in nature.

  217. My go to is steamroller with a therapy ball followed with joint compressions. If I have access, the cuddle swing is amazing in a darkened room.

  218. Hi! we try to do deep breathing exercises and visulization. I will also put on some kids yoga which have alot of good strategies for deep breathing from youtube and my kids love it they always look forward to all.

  219. Rolling therapy ball over child and pretend to make them into a pizza or roll up in a yoga mat & make them a burrito & apply deep pressure and pretend deep pressure is adding the ingredients ( cheese, toms, onions)

  220. I love providing deep pressure input with a large therapy ball, squeeze machine, or big crash pads. I love seeing the kids visibly relax and feel more organized and calmer afterwards!

  221. I’m picking up some great ideas here, thank you! I see students really enjoy obstacle courses with heavy work incorporated in them. I try to add starts and stops and fast and slow, and high and low ideas with heavy work components into the courses. I try to keep it the same with a little variation or relate it to what’s happening on the calendar / seasons/ holidays to make it fun.

  222. My son loves the full body swing outside, getting wrapped up like a burrito, and swinging in his Lycra hammock. He loves to float on his back in the water as well.

  223. Making them into a “pizza” or “pancake” with the therapy ball or doing a prone UE WB activity on the ball!

  224. I love to turn off harsh lighting and turn on soft, colored lights. I find the kids I treat LOVE fiber optic lights!

  225. My favorite calming is the dim lights with stars on ceiling or some sort of lamp. However, that’s not always on option so I have recently been using a fidget/chew that can either be worn as a bracelet or we will hook it to a retractable clip for pants (which adds an extra fidget). Who would have thought how much kids love those little rubber ring bracelet we sometimes use for keys, etc!

  226. “Bumpy shortcut” – I like to provide deep-pressure via joint compressions. My favorite way is a bit of a shortcut – as an alternative to the whole wilbarger sequence, I’ll often give 10 quick compressions to B shoulders/scapula by putting my hands at their medial deltoids with my fingers over their scapula, then pushing in (firmly but gently) towards the spine and slightly downwards to create B scapular retraction.

  227. Deep pressure squeezes and hugs: whole body or sections of the body, with balls, bean bags, blankets, or just using my arms and hands.

  228. I love using “squishies” as a calming input tool. Whether is a foam one, a plastic ball filled with water or slime, etc…I use these often for students. I find that they’ve been helpful for students with emotional regulation, and students with sensory needs where fidget spinners havc outlived their usefulness.

  229. My favorite ways to provide sensory input is rolling kids up like burritos, which the young ones think is hilarious. I also like small fidgets like therapy and squeeze balls for classroom use.

  230. My favorite ways to provide calming sensory input are deep pressure (with use of therapy ball), heavy work, dim lights, and calming music.

  231. My favorite ways to provide calming input is through deep pressure, heavy work, and adjusting the lighting.

  232. I love this idea. I love weighted items for deep pressure proprioception which can be alerting or calming. I like slow liner movement as wel..

  233. I love all sensory……I use all forms of sensory to meet each child’s needs…. my personal favorite is tactile using messy play! I like to incorporate it with vestibular play to layer the input which I can add proprioceptive too. I love with idea of a sensory pack, sensory input promotes calming to get my kids organized and ready to learn!

  234. I love using deep pressure either with a therapy ball to make some “dough” or compressions and hugs. I also love the platform swing for linear movement. Weighted lap pads are good as well.

  235. Creating a walkway in the hallways with stations for heavy work activities and teaching kids how to give themselves joint input. I also love making a travel weighted backpack with a cape like Superman

  236. Turning the lights down, playing music on the google home, and combining with the client’s calming activity of choice. Often this is something tactile (orbeez and kinetic sand and favourites), prone scooterboard activities, or linear swinging.

  237. I like to use the air walker or net swing with a slow, linear, rhythmic swinging pattern.

  238. My pediatric clients enjoy deep pressure on the head, shoulders, trunk, and hands; this proprioceptive input accompanied with heavy work often calms the kiddos.

  239. My favorite is deep pressure! It provides kiddos a moment to relax and regroup while also having their sensory needs met right in the classroom! This could be through deep pressure squeezes or weighted blankets/belts.

  240. I’ve created calming bins for many of my classrooms that include both physical tools and visuals for the students to use when they need a break.

  241. My favorite way to provide sensory input is actually with a weighted vest, backpack or blanket. Second favorite is firm squeezes to upper extremities and joint compressions! 🙂

  242. Some of my favorites include weighted objects and compression items in a calm down area in addition to transition toys

  243. Some of my favorites include weighted objects and compression items in a calm down area in addition to transition toys

  244. My son responds well to having lights lowered, soothing music played quietly in the background, and being able to hang upside down to help him calm down. He also responds well to things like drinking orange juice through a straw or sucking on a ring pop (sugar oral motor).

  245. My son responds well to having lights lowered, soothing music played quietly in the background, and being able to hang upside down to help him calm down. He also responds well to things like drinking orange juice through a straw or sucking on a ring pop (sugar oral motor).

  246. I typically diffuse essential oils and that helps them get back in sync with their studying and for my ADHD child calm his hyperactivity and DMDD and Conduct Disorder. Now for my oldest who had epilepsy she enjoys the diffuser the most cause she concentrate on watching the diffusing “smoke” that comes out of the diffuser to settle her anxiety while doing breathing exercises.

  247. I love providing calming sensory input by setting the mood for the kiddo! I do my best to analyze what the child truly needs in that moment. For many it can be as simple as dimming the lights, swinging in a linear motion, with calming music. For other, it can be wearing a weighted item to help calm their little bodies. There’s so many different ways we as OTs can address sensory related things! I would love the opportunity to utilize these items within my practice ?

  248. I like to use deep pressure input and deep breathing exercises for calming. There are many ways to provide it and kids can be taught to give it to themselves.

  249. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s favorite techniques since I am new. I plan to try the burrito wrapping with my son. Thank you for all of the resources!

  250. Blanket rolls using a yoga mat or blanket. Great way to get deep pressure into students joints and muscles and get them to feel calm and regulated. It’s especially more fun when I do this with my prep students in an sds school and they giggle away while doing them.

  251. Blanket rolls using a yoga mat or blanket. Great way to get deep pressure into students joints and muscles and get them to feel calm and regulated. It’s especially more fun when I do this with my prep students in an sds school and they giggle away while doing them.

  252. I didn’t see the question in my last comment. My favorite way to provide sensory input is to do deep pressure massage or vestibular input while on a swing.