Sensory Room Equipment (OT Recommendations)

Today’s post on sensory room equipment is part of a series focusing on sensory rooms. We are going to explore things to include when designing a sensory room in schools, especially for when grant money limits equipment selection. Other posts highlight the benefits of a sensory room, things to consider, sensory room rules, and building a sensory room on a budget.

These sensory room items could also be used when setting up a sensory gym.

sensory room equipment

Sensory room equipment includes therapy tools that support sensory input.

Sensory room equipment

When building a sensory room, the easiest thing to do is open an internet browser window and start shopping. Unfortunately, we are often constrained by a budget, size limitations, or rules. 

I recently won a local grant for $1500 to add sensory room equipment to our existing space.  That sounded like a lot of money. You may be surprised how quickly equipment cost adds up.

Occupational therapy practitioners are sensory experts. We know all things “sensory” because all aspects of daily functional skills involve some aspect of sensory!

So, when OT is consulted to help come up with a list of sensory environment tools to add to a sensory space, we like to include a wide range of items that are designed to offer stimulating or calming and therapeutic input.

Ideally, we offer ideas and sensory tool recommendations that can be used by many individuals. This might include items such as sensory lighting, textured surfaces, auditory stimulation devices, and tactile materials.

Sensory equipment and supplies: Sensory equipment and supplies encompass a diverse array of products aimed at addressing sensory needs and promoting sensory integration.

This category includes items such as sensory swings, weighted blankets, therapy balls, fidget toys, and tactile mats. These tools are essential for therapists working with individuals with sensory processing disorders to provide targeted sensory input and support sensory regulation.

Sensory room accessories: Sensory room accessories are the supplementary items that enhance the effectiveness and appeal of a sensory room environment.

These accessories may include items such as cushions, bean bags, wall decals, mirrors, and soft play structures. By incorporating these accessories into the space, therapists can create a welcoming and comfortable environment that encourages individuals to engage in sensory activities and exploration.

Stimulating sensory room gear: Stimulating sensory room gear comprises the dynamic and interactive equipment designed to provide intense sensory input and promote sensory engagement.

This gear may include items such as vibrating cushions, interactive panels, tactile walls, and auditory stimulation devices. By offering a range of stimulating experiences, therapists can help individuals regulate their sensory systems and develop sensory processing skills.

Multi-sensory space apparatus: Multi-sensory space apparatus refers to the specialized equipment used to outfit multi-sensory environments and facilitate sensory experiences.

These items may include items such as sensory pods, immersive projection systems, interactive floors, and adjustable sensory stations.

Sensory room essentials: Sensory room essentials encompass the fundamental items necessary for creating a therapeutic and functional sensory space.

These essentials may include items such as crash mats, therapy swings, balance boards, sensory bins, and noise-canceling headphones.

Equipment for sensory integration rooms: Equipment for sensory integration rooms includes the specialized tools and apparatuses used to facilitate sensory integration therapy within dedicated sensory spaces.

These equipment items may include therapy balls, trampolines, balance beams, sensory tunnels, and climbing structures. These types of tools can provide sensory experiences that for self-regulation and functional skills.

Sensory stimulation devices: Sensory stimulation devices are the tools and gadgets designed to deliver specific sensory inputs to individuals for therapeutic purposes.

These devices may include vibrating massagers, textured brushes, light-up toys, and auditory feedback devices.

Designing a sensory room

Sometimes schools have the space and a need to add a sensory room to the building. The school’s OT provider might be consulted for putting the space together. This is great!

There are several things to consider when buying sensory room equipment:

  • Your clientele/students/population – you need to get the most bang for your buck; therefore, it is important to select sensory room equipment that meets the needs of most of your learners.  While you may love the idea of a specialized piece of equipment for one student, it is not cost effective when you are on a limited budget. I fell right into this trap, ordering a swing that works awesome for half a dozen kids, but is too small for the rest. If I had a bigger budget this would not matter. Big clinics with a large budget can afford to get one of everything, to specialize treatment.
  • What do you want to accomplish? First decide the goal of your sensory room. Is it a quiet relaxing space, a place for students to do some heavy work, a spot for independent play, or teacher led activity? It can be a hybrid, if you have the space to divide your areas.
  • Try and buy equipment that serves multiple purposes. Read on to see the awesome ball pit/trampoline/swing I put together!
  • Choose durable equipment.  Kids are rough on equipment. I cringe every time my preschoolers come in for some sensory time. Without one-on-one direct input, equipment can be damaged very easily. When you are on a tight budget, it is painful to see something broken.

Multi-sensory room resources

Sometimes, the school based OT provider has to come up with sensory room equipment that can be used in a multi-use space.

I’ve seen many occupational therapy and physical therapy sessions run in the random closet, library, backstage space, or hallway. It’s part of practicing in a school environment.

Just like those shared spaces that are used by therapy, sometimes a sensory room is a multi-sensory space. You might see therapy resources like self-regulation tools along side breathing exercises and a calming bean bag chair. This space might be used by the school counselor, administrators, or other members of the child’s team.

When we say “Multi-sensory room”, we are simply referring to the various sensory materials and equipment used in the space to enhance sensory experiences. These resources can include items like bubble tubes, fiber optic lights, aroma diffusers, sound machines, and interactive projection systems.

What are some more considerations?

There is more to consider when choosing sensory room equipment than what fits your budget:

  • Check the rules to see if you can have home made equipment. This is easier on the budget, but against the rules in many places due to safety regulations.  This is a tough rule to follow, as much of the home-made equipment is made better than the mass-produced sensory room equipment.
  • Ask if there are constraints about where you can order items from. I found the coolest things online, only to find out we can not order from large vendors such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, OR tiny mom and pop shops.  This is very limiting and time consuming to have to possibly spend more money shopping for sensory room equipment at a preferred vendor, or sacrifice buying what you really want.
  • How is this equipment going to be used?  Our other posts on sensory rooms explore things to consider, rules, protocols, and guidelines for your room. Decide if the room is going to be exclusively used by therapists and their students, or accessible by teachers (who may not have the skilled training, or supervision) to bring their class. Some of these answers may be the jurisdiction of administration to determine how their space is used. If this is the case, make sure you plan your sensory room equipment accordingly.

What to include when considering sensory room equipment

I mentioned earlier “getting the most bang for your buck.” Use this idea when looking for equipment that meets the needs of the most students, as well as pieces that meet multiple sensory needs.  The first (and probably the most important), is suspended equipment. Try and pick at least one piece of equipment that satisfies each of the senses:


Some sort of swing or suspended equipment is a must in a sensory room.  Vestibular input is the building block of sensory processing. If the vestibular system is off, the other systems are likely to fall apart also.  Check out our posts on platform, hammock, and Lycra swings.

Check out this article on What to Know about Sensory Swings for a general overview. There many different types of swinging equipment that could be added to a sensory space.  A platform swing or Lycra swing will be your most versatile. 

One way that we set up a sensory space in my classroom using sensory swings:

My new pick was this awesome swing that is a larger version of the Johnny Jumper. It has been limiting because the of the weight restrictions (about up to a 5 year old), so I have since ordered the bigger version, as it will fit the needs of more students. Swinging can provide great proprioceptive input also.

One thing to consider with using sensory swings in a school sensory room is how to attach the swing to the ceiling. If you can not get a hook for a swing into the ceiling, there are different options:  (affiliate links)

  • Stand Frame This swing stand can bear up to 440.9 lbs. Convenient and easy to move.  
  • A Frame stand: this free-standing frame fits several types of swings.
  • For those wanting to add multiple swings, you can order this A-frame deluxe stand for hanging all kinds of suspended equipment.
  • Lastly, this doorway swing bar: Fits 26″-36″ door frames.


Trampolines are great for adding vestibular and proprioception, as well as coordination, muscle control, and strengthening. Trampolines can be purchased that fit each budget.

Trampolines in a sensory space are a nice piece of equipment because you can use them for vestibular input while sitting, standing, on knees, or while laying down. This can serve many purposes, and can be depending on the needs of each individual.

There are different types of trampolines that can be used in a sensory room (affiliate links):

A ball pit

If you can fit a small ball pit into your sensory room, it is a great asset. Imagine being submerged in the balls, which provide a deep-pressure sensation and a sense of calm. Gross motor and fine motor skillssensory-motor skills, social interactions, speech and language development, and symbolic play are just some of the domains you can work on while in the ball pit.

The calming effect of swimming in a ball pit can be a self-regulation strategy, too.  Check out this recent post on Ball Pit Activities for more ideas how to incorporate this into your sensory room.

Some ideas include (affiliate links):

Climbing structure

if you know you are going to have supervision in your space, a climbing structure is a great addition. It meets several of the sensory categories, including the heavy work component many students crave.

These Montessori climbers are budget friendly and made well. Another option is this set, which has larger climbing pieces. They are designed for your preschool to first/second grade students who need to build basic coordination skills.

This climbing structure is for older kids. The climbing and overhead hang position offers input through the back and scapula as well as shoulder girdle.

Other climbing ideas to add to a sensory room include:

We include more information on the benefits of climbing in our blog post on outdoor sensory activities. You might find other items that double as playground equipment that can be used in a sensory room.

Crash pad

Here is where your home-made ideas can come in handy.  You can buy large foam pieces and stuff them into a duvet cover for a fun (washable) crash pad. This is a great soft-landing spot for kids who either need a calm down corner, some heavy work, or a safe place to get some frustration out. I have heard there are local mattress factories that have mattresses and foam pieces they can donate.

Sensory bin

We all know the tactile benefits of the sensory bin. The OT Toolbox has multiple posts on sensory bin ideas. In a small classroom, you are often limited to very small sensory bins.  In a large sensory room you may have room for a sensory pool made of a child’s plastic pool, or a sand and water table.

Vibration plate

Recently we accessed a vibration plate. This was one of our newest (and coolest) sensory room equipment purchases.  I thought it was going to be limiting at first, but there are so many sensory seekers in our program, it fits the needs of many.  We often add vibration as part of a treatment plan as it adds great input.

A vibration plate is different than the small sensory toys and massagers which provide limited benefit.  This vibration plate has multiple settings and can provide massive (and quick) sensory input.

Quiet Space

Some students benefit from a calm down space away from the noise and activity of a classroom, hallway, or loud cafeteria. We’ve included many strategies in our blog post on calm down corners, which can actually be it’s own space in a sensory room.

Some items to include in a calm down space in the sensory room include: (Affiliate links)

As an occupational therapist working in outpatient centers, I have seen the impact that calming sensory equipment can have on a child’s ability to self-regulate. In one case, I worked with a student who would become extremely aroused and dysregulated after intense proprioceptive and vestibular activities. This child had heightened agitation and it was difficult for the child to participate in the rest of the therapy session.

To address this, we introduced a variety of calming sensory equipment, including a crawling tunnel, a cozy hammock swing, and dimming the lights. We invited the child to hum along to a favorite song.

The transition was remarkable. The crawling was a transition task that led to the swing which provided deep pressure input. We swung it in slow lateral swings, which is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. The sensory swing allowed for gentle, rhythmic movement, which helped modulate his vestibular system, promoting relaxation. The dimmed lights and the humming added to the more regulated state.

So you can see how many different tools can be used together to support needs.

Sensory modulation tools

Sensory modulation tools are another term associated with a calming space. This basically refers to the instruments and resources used to regulate and adjust an individual’s sensory experience so that they can achieve optimal arousal levels. In the school environment, especially, these items can help the student to be alert and focused so they can learn and participate in the tasks of the school day.

Sensory modulation tools might include:

  • weighted vests
  • pressure garments
  • calming scents
  • visual schedules

100 Sensory Room Items

I wanted to add a giant list of sensory room items because it can be helpful to think outside of the box. For some schools, it might not be feasible to have a whole room dedicated to a sensory space. For situations like that, it’s very possible to create a smaller sensory area of an office or closet in the school.

In one school that I worked in as a school based OT, I created sensory kits to be included in some classrooms. These were small boxes that held sensory tools and items and could be switched out. These were very helpful and the teachers in these rooms appreciated having that toolkit put together for them.

Another scenario to consider is the mobile therapist. Many times, we as OT providers work from our vehicles either in early intervention where we travel from home to home, or as a mobile school based OT practitioner. These professionals might serve many different school buildings or even school districts within a week’s time. At one point in my career, I was a contract therapist serving 4 different school districts each week.

Having a bin or laundry basket in the trunk of my car was ideal for carting around the sensory equipment that could be used at any given location. You could also create a sensory backpack with some of these smaller items.

Here is a giant list of sensory room equipment, including larger items as well as smaller items that can be included in sensory room kits (affiliate links below):

  1. Weighted blankets
  2. Bean bag chairs
  3. Soft inflatable pod
  4. Therapy balls
  5. Sensory swings
  6. Masking tape- Use it to make a balance beam on the floor or a hopscotch board on the floor
  7. Tactile mats
  8. Foam play blocks
  9. Crash pads
  10. Resistance crawling tube or tunnels
  11. Balance beams
  12. Vibrating pillows
  13. Cuddle Hugging ball
  14. Sound machines
  15. Soft lighting options (e.g., lava lamps, fiber optic lights)
  16. Aromatherapy diffusers
  17. Visual timers
  18. Trampolines
  19. Sensory bins
  20. Fidget tools
  21. Chewable jewelry
  22. Mirror balls
  23. Wall-mounted exploration panels
  24. Tactile wall art
  25. Sensory bottles
  26. Squeeze balls
  27. Bubble wall
  28. Sand and water tables
  29. Play dough or therapy putty
  30. Noise-canceling headphones
  31. Body socks
  32. Visual projection equipment
  33. Floor cushions
  34. Hammock
  35. Balance stepping stones
  36. Kinetic sand
  37. Bubble tubes
  38. White noise machines
  39. Soft play equipment
  40. Scoop rocking seat
  41. Rocking chairs or gliders
  42. Swivel spinning seat
  43. Sit and Spin toy
  44. Therapeutic listening equipment
  45. Weighted lap pads
  46. Compression vests
  47. Fine motor skill development toys
  48. Gross motor skill development toys
  49. Calming corner with tent or canopy
  50. Adjustable lighting (dimmer switches)
  51. Interactive floor games like a jumbo Connect 4 game
  52. Scented markers or crayons
  53. Flippy sequence wall panels
  54. Scented lotions
  55. Fidget toy kits
  56. Color-changing LED strips
  57. Interactive light table
  58. Weighted stuffed animals
  59. Deep pressure rollers
  60. Soft tunnels
  61. Floor mirrors
  62. Rain sticks
  63. Wobble chairs
  64. Sensory floor tiles
  65. Acoustic panels
  66. Adjustable room dividers
  67. Therapy brushes
  68. Balance cushions
  69. Mini trampoline with handle
  70. Sound-proof headphones
  71. Therapeutic storytelling kits
  72. Bouncing balls with handles
  73. Emotion regulation charts
  74. Oral motor chew tools
  75. Sensory lap pads
  76. Cozy reading nooks
  77. Interactive wall games
  78. Adjustable light tables
  79. Handheld massagers
  80. Gel maze boards
  81. Sensory stepping stones
  82. Hula hoops
  83. Puppet theater
  84. Relaxation CDs or digital playlists
  85. Magnetic sand tables
  86. Soft sculptures for tactile exploration
  87. Light prism sets
  88. Interactive music instruments
  89. Sensory wall wraps
  90. Pool noodles
  91. Anger management calming kits
  92. Soft corner playhouses
  93. Jump ropes
  94. Animal walk cards for gross motor skills
  95. Therapeutic mazes and labyrinths
  96. Fine motor tool sets
  97. Deep breathing exercise posters
  98. Climbing cargo ropes
  99. Vibrating floor cushions
  100. Koosh balls
  101. Breathing ball

Cost of Sensory Room Equipment

Are you doing the math on the cost of all of these pieces of sensory tools?

Adding all the cool things I just listed probably has you over budget already.  I was in the same position with my winnings and had to think quick about how to get the most bang for my buck.  I came up with a trampoline/ball pit/swing combination!  It has served the needs of just about all my students. It is an enclosed safe space that provides vestibular, tactile, proprioceptive, auditory, and visual input all at once, and is made more exciting or calming by changing different variables.

I ordered a (Amazon affiliate links) cool enclosed mini trampoline, and a few hundred ball pit balls to go inside.  I fondly (inside my head) call it the pediatric containment unit. 

Sensory seekers often bounce from one activity to the next without really experiencing the effect of that piece of sensory room equipment. This is the reason I was looking for a couple of enclosed pieces like the trampoline and the jumper swing. It keeps my students on the equipment long enough for their bodies to reap the benefits. Of course, when a student wants to get out, I take them out, but often they stay longer than if they were left in a wide open space.

Many therapists/schools are looking to provide a getaway space so students temporarily escape the sensory input in their classroom. This is great, but often does not meet the needs of the sensory seekers who need to fill their buckets before they are able to work on self-regulation and calming.

Ideally, I am looking to add TWO rooms in our school.  A quiet space, and a sensory room with swings and large pieces of equipment as described above. Right now, our need for a heavy work/vestibular rich environment was more of a priority than the other. I am hoping to win the grant again this year so I can fill up my next space!

Watch for our other posts describing the benefits of a sensory room, things to consider, sensory room rules, protocols, and guidelines.

Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

sensory room equipment

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