Sensory Swing for Modulation

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Sensory swings are a wonderful tool for improving sensory modulation in kids. Here, we will discuss how and why a sensory swing is used for modulation of sensory needs. Sensory swings are powerful sensory strategy when it comes individuals with sensory processing needs. Let’s discuss how sensory swings can help with sensory processing and modulation.

This content is part of our week-long therapy giveaway event, where we are collaborating with brands to give you the opportunity to win various therapy items, toys, and games as a thank you for being here and a celebration of our profession and those we serve.

Use a sensory swing to help kids with sensory needs including sensory modulation

Sensory Swings for Modulation…

You’ve seen the issues in classrooms and in homes. There are kiddos struggling with self-regulation and management of sensory processing. We notice the child that gets overwhelmed or stuck on a direction to complete a worksheet. We see a child who breaks down and resolves into a pattern of hitting, biting, kicking, or damaging property. We notice the child that can’t sit upright in their seat to listen to their teacher. We can identify the child who bites on their pencil to the point of nibbling on eraser bits and chunks of wood. We see the actions and we see the results of a real need. Sometimes, we can even predict the events or situations that lead to these behaviors.

What we don’t see is the internal struggle.

We miss out on the feeling of overwhelming sensory input. We can’t feel the emptiness or the detached sensation. We miss out on what’s happening inside those beautiful, intelligent, and awesomely created brains and bodies.

While we can connect the dots from event to behavior, our biggest struggle as advocates, educators, and loved ones is to know the true internal path that connects those dots.

An occupational therapist analyzes the occupational domains that a child or individual pursues. They determine any difficulties in modulation, discrimination, praxis, motor skills, and other components that impact those occupations. In providing sensory-based interventions, therapists use tools to move their clients to optimal levels of arousal for functioning.

The sensory swing is one of those ways to help with sensory modulation.

What is Sensory Modulation

Sensory modulation information including what is sensory modulation and how to help.

As discussed in the book, The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook, sensory modulation is the organization and regulation of sensory input through the central nervous system to enable skills and abilities such as attention, activity levels. This skill is an efficient, automatic, and effortless occurrence in those with typically developing individuals.

Sensory modulation is defined by Dr. A Jean Ayres as “the neurological process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and from the environment and makes it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. The spatial and temporal aspects of inputs from different sensory modalities are interpreted, associated, and unified” (Ayres, p. 11, 1989).

Problems with sensory modulation result in difficulty responding to and regulating sensory input. A child with sensory modulation disorder might withdrawal as a result of their responses. They may become upset by noises or sounds. They may become overly distracted or obsessed with specific stimuli.

Sensory Modulation in a Nutshell

Essentially, sensory modulation is the ability to take in sensory input, sort it, and respond to that input. Modulation results in function, alertness, awareness of self, and awareness of the world around oneself.

When sensory modulation is stalled, moving slowly, or running on hyper speed, we see disorganized, over-responsive, or under-responsive individuals.

As a result, children struggle to complete functional tasks, follow directions, learn, manage emotions, interact socially, etc.

How to Help with Sensory Modulation

Sensory modulation issues can be improved to impact a child’s arousal state so they can be effective and function in daily living tasks, in school, emotionally, and socially. Some sensory strategies to help with modulation are listed below.

Use the expertise of an occupational therapist to identify and analyze modulation levels. Identifying strengths and weaknesses can play a part in helping to understand other underlying areas that need addressing and play into sensory modulation concerns. Functioning individuals may require specific levels and intensities of specific sensory input, which can vary across different environments or on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Use sensory activities to add proprioception, vestibular input, or touch input to help with arousal states, and calm or alert levels in order to function in tasks.
  2. Create a sensory diet that allows for sensory use across environments and sensory tools or strategies to address changes in modulation or arousal.
  3. Set up a sensory station to successfully integrate sensory activities into daily lives. Sensory stations can occur in the home, classroom, or on-the-go.

A sensory swing can be used to impact sensory modulation in all of these strategies.

Harkla sensory swing for therapy and sensory modulation

Use a sensory swing for Modulation

A sensory swing can be a calming place to regroup and cope. It can be a safe space for a child to gain calming vestibular input through slow and predictable motions.

A sensory swing can be a source of intense vestibular input as a means to challenge arousal levels.

A sensory swing can use a firm pillow base to provide proprioceptive feedback and heavy input while addressing tactile defensiveness.

A sensory swing can be a means for combining calming or alerting motions with coordinated movement strategies to impact praxis, postural control, and perception.

A sensory swing can be used with others as a tool for building social skills and emotional regulation.

A sensory swing can be used as an outlet for meltdowns before they turn into biting, kicking, hitting, or yelling.

A sensory swing can be a transition tool to provide calming vestibular input before physical actions and executive functioning concepts needed for tasks such as completing homework, or getting ready for bed.

Use a therapy swing to help kids with sensory processing

INDOOR Sensory Swing

Want to address modulation and impact sensory processing needs in the home, classroom, or therapy room? we’ve talked about how sensory swings impact sensory processing and the ability to regulate sensory input. Let’s take things up a notch by getting a therapy swing into your hands.

One sensory swing that I’ve got in my house is the Harkla sensory swing. We’ve used this exact swing as an outdoor sensory swing, but it’s a powerful tool when used as an indoor swing. Today, you have the chance to win one of your own. Using a Harkla swing as an indoor swing provides opportunities for modulation in various environments and as a tool to regulate emotions, behaviors.

Over or under inflate to provide more or less base of support and a challenge in postural control. Additionally, this swing holds up to 150 pounds, making it an option to address sensory modulation for adults.

Use the cocoon swing to create a relaxation space or sensory station right in the home or classroom. With the easy-to-install swing, a sensory diet space can come alive using the Harkla Therapy Swing!

Occupational therapists use pod swings to address sensory modulation, attention needs, regulation, or sensory processing disorder. The cocoon swing we’re giving away below provides a hug-like effect to address sensory needs or as a fun space to hang out in in the classroom or home. A few more details about this indoor swing option:

  • Comes with all the hardware for an easy setup, including a pump, adjustable strap, 4 bolts, carabiner, and a ceiling hook
  • Holds up to 150lbs for a safe place for your child
  • Includes an adjustable strap to make it easy to safely hang your sensory swings indoors from any height
  • Comes with easy-to-follow directions so anyone can hang it up
  • Free shipping & a lifetime guarantee

Harkla Sensory Swing Giveaway

This giveaway, sponsored by Harkla, has now ended.

TOns of Sensory Modulation Ideas

Some of the smartest and most creative folks I know are the readers of The OT Toolbox. I asked readers to tell me sensory strategies they personally love and use to address sensory modulation. Scroll through the comments…you might just find some new sensory strategies that will work for you! Hopefully we can learn from one another!

Ayres, A.J. (1 989). Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. Los Angeles, Western Psychological Services.

888 thoughts on “Sensory Swing for Modulation”

  1. I love using different lights as a sensory calming tool. We have a lava lamp with fish that float up and down and we choose our favourite fish with the student to watch go up and down.

  2. I like to use mindfulness activities, i.e. body scans and five finger breathing as a sensory calming tool. Doesn’t require any equipment so it can be used anywhere at any time.

  3. BALL PIT! It can be exciting too but I use it with babies and toddlers and gently pile balls up on top of them until just their little heads stick out. they just lay back into you and relax.

  4. I am an OT in a public elementary school and my favorite calming activity to do with all of students are yoga pretzel cards or yogarilla. I do both of these activities followed by mindfulness breathing techniques found on the teachers pay teachers website. My favorite alerting techniques are activities from brain gym.

  5. I often use body socks during our school sensory circuit. The students love wriggling around in them and laughing at how funny they look!

  6. I am entering a school system that has not had an OT in the past school year. I try to use methods that paras can use with the children they work directly with. Joint compression and neutral warmth of being wrapped a little tighter at rest time has worked well with an autistic girl who blew into school the first day of kindergarten, never having been identified previous to this first day of school. She has now been “officially” diagnosed and everyone is learning as they go with her.

  7. “squeezies”- gently squeezing along arms/legs- work very well with some of my kids, and they can learn to use the technique on themselves as well

  8. I absolutely love using tunnels, lycra tunnels and body socks! Have had fantastic results using these activities!

  9. One of my favorite calming strategies is to have a child lay prone on a bolster swing with a soft carpet cover and hug it with arms and legs while I slowly swing them stratight back and forth….lights low, little or no taalking.

  10. I love to use the glitter sensory bottle. The child first shakes it around allowing a release of his energy and we talk about how it looks just like he is feeling inside. Watching the glitter fall slowly gives time to breathe and settle his own body.

  11. In my developmental preschool classroom play dough time was a favorite activity. Rolling snakes, squeezing, and patting it into flat pancakes was how we usually started.

  12. We use deep presure boddy rubbing and brushing when my son is angry or melting down it calms him and then we can finger breath and calm down to talk. When this doesnt work we know its going to be a challenge to calm him and we just have to wait it out.

  13. I like to use visualization scripts from Ready…Set….Relax. The stories are imaginative and full of opportunities for different sensory experiences depending on the child’s individual perceptions.

  14. I love using a large Therapy ball to roll over students backs as a calming activity in the elementary schools that I service students in.

  15. In one of my schools, we created a sensory walk. It’s great for all children and provides tactile input as well as proprioceptive input. The children love it!

  16. Chewlery, body sock and putty all work for us but to calm straight away joint compressions and massage are the most effective!

  17. My students love rock pose (child’s pose) right at their desk. Simply put your head down on your forearms, reducing visual, auditory, and vestibular stimuli, and take a few deep breaths.

  18. I love scooter board activities with either pulling themselves along with squiz handles or just just self propelling with arms for heavy work and vestibular input.

  19. For calming, we use a pop-up tent in the classroom. The tent has soft lighting, a weighted blanket, bean bag chair, fidgets, soothing music – each student selected a tool to incorporate. Students can use the tent anytime they need.

  20. I love to use a peanut ball to roll on top of children to make into a pizza. The child had many choices of toppings which are done with various movements with the peanut on top of their backs, legs, arms and heads for those who want their head included. I decide on the number of initial rolls on the “dough” to help with regulation.

  21. I use a variety of strategies, but a few favorites are balloon breathing and heavy work. I have a small ” pizza box” which I made heavier with a few light weights. It works like a charm for transitions when I have students carry it as they walk back to class.

  22. We are setting up a sensory space in our home for my son- he loves the diy ball pit, and when we wrap him up like a burrito. In therapy, he responds well to linear input like blanket rides and the Plasma car. We’ve been using ‘feeling sticks’ for emotional regulation too!

  23. I love Lycra! Tunnels, swings, or body socks
    Having a kiddo climb the layered Lycra swing (rainbow swing) is a specific favorite!

  24. I transition my students by playing simon says with heavy balls. They get heavy work in, learn concepts (behind, down, up,right/left etc.).

  25. I love to use swings. The kids I work with in the evening really respond to using it. I would love to have one at my school

  26. I love using a weighted blanket with my students it’s amazing how quickly it calms them. I also like giving proprioceptive input to the joints as students also respond so well to this

  27. I love using yoga for calming because it also works on strengthening and motor planning. I find themed/holiday yoga on teachers pay teachers and my students love it.

  28. I use a Hoberman’s sphere and open and close it, so kids can see what the stomach should look like when you take a deep breath, in and out. Helpful for younger kids who sometimes have a hard time taking a deep calming breath on their own.

  29. For one of my grandsons I use heavy activities that allows him to really use his muscles. Things like jumping on the trampoline or lifting heavy objects and carrying them for me. Also making sure he is outdoors each day helps tremendously with his meltdowns.
    For our little guys he needs to feel safe in his surroundings to calm so wrapping him snugly helps, we’ve also added a turtle tank with a soft light to the room and he loves watching the turtle and the shrimp swim around in the water.

  30. Linear swinging + singing, followed by pop up tunnel crawling and steamroller use are super effective to give both a calming and organizing input for optimal attention and effort.

  31. I work in a school and I love to use a short tunnel for rolling. It can be alerting or calming depends on speed and amount of heavy work involved.

  32. I love to use the swings and the sensory brush for calming and alerting my patients. All of my patients love to get “tickles” from the “tickle brush”.

  33. I love having a child roll inside a barrel or tunnel. You can start expressive rolling and then move to active rolling to have the child initiate more trunk rotation. Using a barrel provides more resistance for heavy work.

  34. I love doing yoga combined with deep breathing exercises to help incorporate calming strategies into my students’ repertoires that they can then use once they become agitated or upset.

  35. I like to use heavy work activities such as lining up the hallway with food items and pushing the pig (pig toy box) to ‘feed the pig’. Also love to use Lycra tunnels and I add therapy balls and peanut ball for the kiddos to maneuver around over or under while in the tunnels.

  36. As a parent I’ve been loving row, row, row your boat (don’t know the technical name) sit cross legged and join hands rock back and forth. We often sing the song. It helps my son clam before bed. Often he will tell me a story. We see a tiger gotta go faster. Here’s a short cut. Oh no the boat has leak. 🙂

  37. I like to use mindfulness activities and breathing with my preschoolers. They have learned strategies on their own and don’t need any materials to stop and have a calm body! Even more so, I love doing it with them as it is really helpful 🙂

  38. We love our trampolines – we have one outside, one in the basement and a mini one in the hall upstairs whenever we need a quick break during our homeschooling!

  39. Believe it or not but my grandson uses my curly hair as his calming tool. He will sit in my lap and twirl my curls. We both love it!

  40. Kids love and relax while watching the glitter fall slowly from the sensory bottles and we also try making breathing exercises to calm them down.

  41. We use kinetic sand for calming. While child is using sand I will read them a feeling book that correlates to them at that time.

  42. A weighted blanket, bear hugs and deep massage I find work really well to calm my son, my daughter loves cuddling and more gentle massage that’s more like stroking, calms her right down.

  43. This school year I switched school-based jobs and am working primarily with preschoolers. I’ve been loving using vestibular and deep touch pressure inputs for regulation such as linear swinging, pea pod, bouncing rhythmically on a therapy ball and weighted compression vests.

  44. I love incorporating heavy work into my students day – pushing a weighted cart (to return library books) – wearing a weighted backpack (to make a delivery to the office) helps yo calm and regulate my student in a most functional way without standing out.

  45. My preschool friends love sensory boxes that I can personalize to their interests. I often add essential oils to the box. We lower the lights and put on soft instrumental music and they could play for hours. Slime and thera putty are also favorites.

  46. A bin of dried beans with scoops is my trusty go-to. Even the kiddos who need visual inputs love it, as they can watch the beans slowly pour out of the scoops held up high over the bins.

  47. I love some chair exercises to use in a regular ed classroom. Its a quick and simple way to help the kids self-regulate and with or without the teacher they utilize the tools throughout the day.

  48. I love using bean bags and soft pillows inside a small Pop-up tent. The kids love it in their classroom and really helps decrease aggressive behavior in our emotionally disturbed classroom

  49. We love to use a calming box made with different essential oils and smells, squishies and other types of things that specifically help my girl.

  50. One of my favorite calming activities is running hands against a sensory board. We put the in many of our calming areas this year. I made them by stapling different fabrics around thin boards and then screwing those to a bigger board. The kids love them!

  51. Inuse a sparkle jar in my classroom but realize that full body proprioception feedback can really make a difference so this swing will be used every class! I have so many newcomer students with trauma that really need a space to feel safe:

  52. With the little kids I love using the bubble mountain activity, and with older kids I use lazy 8 breathing and exercises they can do in their chair, such as chair pull ups and chair push ups.

  53. I use heavy work for calming and to increase focus a lot. For extra calming I’ll use weighted lap pads or blankets.

  54. I just started using bubbles and pinwheels with my students to practice taking mindful breaths and to give those breaths intentions (in with the positive, out with the negative). Even my high school students love it!!

  55. I love putting on a weighted blanket, listening to ocean waves in supine with both hands on my chest focusing on my breath. Deep breaths with longer exhales with eyes closed/vision occluded

  56. I use the scooter board, deep pressure, massage, and brushing. My son also loves sifting through a container of rice to find the beads as a calming activity. Swinging is a favorite!

  57. We use playdough, salt dough and have even carried around mud that he can squish in his hands. We have used soft foam balls, orbies, many different things he can put in his hands. They all work. I just started learning about body scanning so we are trying that too!

  58. I work in the school settings, so I have to be creative with little spaces. I like yoga – down dog with alternating leg lifts; putty in all types of uses, dots and squeezes and walking – change of environment and fresh air.

  59. I work with older students. I have a notebook with visuals representing a variety of calm down strategies. I offer the book to the student in need and let them choose the strategy that they feel will work for them today.

  60. I love using deep breathing exercises. They are quick, easy and work well for almost any child (even myself) to regain focus!

  61. I like rolling a large therapy ball over them laying prone. We pretend I’m making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of them ( spread the peanut butter, jelly and smoosh the bread) the kids have lots of fun and get some deep pressure input out of it.

  62. I love the challenge of figuring out the activities that work for each individual student. Some like arm and back rubs, some like a fidget or squeeze toy, some like wall pushups… coming up with the perfect fit for a child is such a great feeling of accomplishment for me!

  63. I love watching a candle burn. I’ll sit down and hold the candle and feel the warmth of it and watch it flicker. Not sure if it’s considered a sensory activity, since it’s mostly sight, but I really enjoy this one more than using sand or my sensory bin simply because it keeps my eyes focused and fixed in one place.

  64. I am an OT at a state school for the severely disabled so a lot of my kids have sensory difficulties. Deep pressure is something that calms a lot of my kids. Swinging is another favorite. Smell jars are a hit with some kids as well. Any type of sensory play with play dough, slime, theraputty, etc. is great (except for my hypersensitive touch kiddos of course!)

  65. Deep Pressure and swinging are my two favorites. The children love the swing but it does not always calm.

  66. My favorite activity before starting therapy sessions is to have the students walk a giant Figure 8 when coming into the therapy room. This helps them calm down and center themselves. If they are running slow, I have them bounce on the mini tramp.

  67. Depending on the child, my calm down go to’s are usually either weighted vest and animal walks/prone scooter or weighted blanket and slow linear swinging with the lights down! 🙂

  68. I turn the lights low or off. Sometimes I will use music (sometimes not, depending on the student). Then we use the lycra swing to go in slow linear patterns.

  69. We have a new “stair stepper” exercise machine donated by a classroom teacher who wasn’t using it at home. Great heavy work and not babyish for our older students.

  70. I have seen students respond well to gentle moving back and forth either through rocking in a chair or on a swing and also providing very soft singing

  71. I like heavy work like having my son carry heavy bags up and down the stairs or reorganize the cans in the closet.

  72. For my Level 3 fieldwork project in a school, I created a “sensory hallway” that provides the students with proprioceptive and vestibular input they may need to be able to focus in class. It includes stomping, jumping jacks, wall push ups, crab walks, spinning and inversion, and ends with lazy 8 breathing.

  73. I like heavy work like having my son carry heavy bags up and down the stairs or reorganize the cans in the closet.

  74. Squishies…student lays on a mat …on tummy and you use a therapy ball/yoga ball to squish from head to toe slowly. Ask them if they want more or less.

  75. For my preschool students, I love to have them go and try and push down the wall of the school (it’s cinderblocks) for proprioceptive input.

  76. Slow linear swinging, followed by upper body deep pressure and arm massage. The kids always seem to to like having their arms “squeezed”.

  77. I love the feeling of touch. In my integrated preschool, I designed a bulletin board for students who have a hard time in the classroom to come out and feel various textures such as sequins, textured felt, bubble wrap and sandpaper.

  78. I have to autistic boys, one is a seeker and the other is an avoider, the seeker loves to have his legs and feet sat on and to be bounced around, squeezy hugged to help calm him, and on the contrary the avoider likes to sit quietly next to you while you stroke his hair to calm down

  79. I love to use repetitive fine motor tasks (stuffing pompoms through a small hole, stringing beads, rolling putty) while rocking/swinging for calming/organizing and I also love having dance parties on bubble wrap for alerting/stimulating. 🙂

  80. I like using animal walks, wheelbarrow walking, and handstands on the wall to get deep pressure, proprioceptive and vestibular input all at the same time.

  81. We use a variety of objects and techniques based on the student. We have used glitter tubes, weighted blankets and balls, lighting techniques (i.e. string lights, star projectors, lamps,) bubble tube, objects of various textures and weights.

  82. My son needs a variety of strategies. Sometimes an exercise (jumping jacks, push ups), or sitting upside down. Or in the evening when we are struggling, something that has really helped calm him is getting into the shower, and feeling the water his his head , and noticing it all the way down to his toes.

  83. I like to use music, deep pressure, heavy work, or weighted blankets or vests for calming activities. All depends on the patient.

  84. We use a pillow fort on our living room couch where he is completely enclosed and he holds his soft blanket, which is my sons most calming item.

  85. Most staff in my schools know to modify the environment for lighting, sound and texture. I make sure the student has a textured water bottle with a spout and cold water. Also, calming scent in the room or citrus if they need to be more alert.

  86. Sensory lights work the best for us, fibre optic light spray over a big fluff chair, a star projector and a bubble tube in a dark room. Neo Glo fish in a Neo Glo fish tank also works really well.

  87. I like to use low lighting and calming music with a sensory activity like swinging, or a bin of magic sand or calm down bottle.

  88. I use a variety of things, but find heavy work, calming music, and EFT “tapping” is effective! I use the tapping technique with whole classrooms! It works!

  89. I like using calming music with heavy work activities such as pulling theraband, animal walks, rubber band crafts, and putty.

  90. Best calming tools that I use incorporate heavy work- functional- have kids with loaded backpacks deliver messages around campus. A brisk walk seems to calm/organize.

  91. My daughter loves swinging. We used to have a cucoon hammock before we had to move, and it was her favorite place. It was my main defense against loss of focus.

  92. Swinging is of course a go-to, but unfortunately most of the school districts I work in don’t have a swing or they have a floor based model that doesn’t really provide the input most of my sensory seeking students need. One technique that works amazingly well on most students is rolling a therapy ball over the back of their body while lying prone. Music also works great and for my older students, deep breathing and yoga usually does the trick.

  93. My youngest daughter loves to rub my ear to calm down. An when she loves to run and jump when she is full of energy and needs to get it out.
    My oldest loves to make and use calming jars. As well as blowing bubbles.

  94. I work primarily with the preschool population. I regularly incorporate mindfulness, deep breathing exercises and yoga poses with calming music; heavy work activities, animal walks and tactile play to aid in self-regulation.

  95. Hallway movement path for heavy work, gentle swinging with low lights & no talking, stop and breathe are the strategies I use the most lately

  96. One of my favorites sensory calming activity is heavy work/grossmotor including obstacle courses followed by theraputty manipulation and/or crafts while listening to calming music…

  97. I set up a mindfulness section in my OT room at the school I work at. I have a water fountain and a very large poster that the students use for mindful coloring. I also play mindful, stress relieving music on my computer which students enjoy hearing while coloring and looking at the fountain.

  98. I think swinging tends to be the preferred calm down for a lot of the kids I work with. Many of them also enjoy using the sensory walk and deep pressure from a therapy ball.

  99. We love creating a calm space for the kids to come into. Dimmed lights , classical music, and always greet them with a smile Kiddos love our swing too before sessions begin.

  100. My daughter loves jumping on her crash pad and swinging in her net swing. These are our go to’s when we see she is beginning to spiral up.

  101. I like using a variety of deep breathing activities. My students really love volcano breath. I also like having them get into a “safe” yoga pose such as Child’s Pose. Sometimes I will play calming music and turn the lights down.

  102. I have a bin of squishy toys, light up toys, spinners and cool toys, and they are only used for kids that need some time to calm or refocus.

  103. I like using a combination of different light intensities, combined with active play like trampoline activities and respiration games like blowing bubbles, activating pinwheels via breath, harmonicas, and or other resistive horns.

  104. I like having students blow bubbles with various bubble wands. It helps them control their breathing and to focus on something else other than what triggered them.

  105. My students enjoy the sensory tubes and theraputty when they need a sensory break. I have a weighted snake that one student uses daily for pressure.

  106. My son loves to push carts at stores. He knows the different carts for each store, enjoys organizing them into straight lines, and will push them for deep pressure input.

  107. I work in a low resource country, however there is always maize/corn seeds at a fairly affordable prize. I have a plastic inflatable swimming pool that I fill up with maize seeds.I give the kids sensory breaks and let them play in the maize pool. I also play games such as finding items in the pool. The kids love it.

  108. I make up movement cards for students that they can use when they need a movement break. It can incorporate Brain Break exercises, sensational brain activity cards, movement breaks.

  109. As a special education preschool teacher, we use a variety of strategies. Several students love the ball pit, sand and water tables, and kinetic sand.

  110. I use heavy boxes in break spaces around my school for heavy work and prop input. I fill a paper supply box with 2-4 reems of paper, decorate the box and label it the Push Box. More often it is the kids that are not on my caseload that I see pushing the box in the hallways.

  111. My kids love body socks, too. I put on calm music, turn the lights off, and they snuggle in their socks.

  112. I like using heavy work like animal walks, carrying heavy items, wall push ups, etc. I also like lazy 8 breathing and putty or play doh.

  113. I love using kinetic sand or theraputty with my preschoolers and kindergartners. One of my students has been seeking dark spaces by hiding under desks and in closets, so the teacher and I found this huge cardboard box and we flipped the box on the side.The student now goes in there to calm down or colors on the outside of the box. Much safer than going under desks and tables!

  114. I love using heavy work activities like pulling a friend on the scooter followed by some time in the body sock doing yoga positions!

  115. This is a wonderful article! There are so many different great strategies. I find strategies that are very beneficial are strategies that can be implemented anywhere such as weight bearing (planks, yoga poses, animal walks, etc), and deep breathing.

  116. A lot of my students love to have scooter board time, animal walks, etc. I also love to incorporate low lighting with some relaxing yoga poses?

  117. I love using 5 deep breaths, to a count of 4, inhale through nose to 4, exhale through mouth to 4. I also love using deep pressure with a therapy ball, we call it rolling out a pizza. The student names all the toppings while I roll Ball with appropriate deep pressure. It can continue anywhere from 2-10 minutes.

  118. A calm corner with classical music, a pe pod, soft lights or a walk/ bike ride have Ben effective to help with sensory input. Getting outside into nature as well seems soothing.

  119. For all sensory based activities, I must be creative and employ those that require little equipment and, oftentimes, little space as I work in several school districts and have no allocated treatment area. Most of my students enjoy obstacles courses using classroom equipment. As part of the obstacle course we run, jump, roll, and spin. We also engage in various types of crawling for added UB/shoulder strengthening and stabilization and proprioceptive input.

  120. I like to use heavy work and proprioception activities. Many of my clients choose the platform swing in prone while also engaging in a task with a FM component like a puzzle or rolling a ball back and forth. Animal walks are another favorite sensory activity!

  121. I love having them roll up up in a blanket to become a hot dog or taco, while I pat/rub/press in “ingredients”. I can alter my pressure and speed depending on their sensory needs.

  122. For kids who have difficulty sitting, I give them a small amount of lotion to rub on their hands. Depending on the child’s sensitivities, smelly lotion is optional.

  123. Sensory bins with pinto beans or water beads are another favorite activity which also incorporate visual scanning and fine motor skills.

  124. We have a large, heavy blue cushion that the kids love to crawl under. I often like to use it as a transition to fine motor activities, and will even have the kids lay under the cushion and work on their bellies.

  125. I love using a room with bean bags, pillows and weighted blankets/animals. I love using the steamrolling method when children are on this surface!

  126. Our son enjoys his outside Jeep ride in car. He’ll go off the smoother paved drive into the bumpy woods area over & over for a very long while. Going over tree stumps/rocks that send him slightly airborne are his favorite part.

  127. I like laying prone on a multidirectional platform swing and using upper extremities to propel self around to find puzzle pieces on the floor to complete puzzle.

  128. I love using heavy work activities and incorporating repetitive tasks. The repetition helps to build focus to activities while calming and centering the brain and body. We also love deep pressure activities like animal walks, steam rollers and ball squishes.

  129. I love to use heavy work activities that the kiddos don’t realize are calming. Things like climbing the slide, wheelbarrow walks, prone on scooter board, hugging bolster swing to hang like a sloth, and stomping feet. I weave these in with the alerting activities that my sensory seekers are craving in order to keep a nice balance.

  130. Most of my sensory seeking kiddos like to be made into a “cookie” using a sensory rolling pin, weighted blanket, and bean bags for sprinkles. They lay prone on a mat, are rolled out with roller, weighted blanket put on top along with bean bags for sprinkles. Put in oven (light weight bean bag chair), and then eat it up! ( joint compression, deep pressure)

  131. My go to calming strategy is to turn down the lights with soft calming music playing in the background while the student watches the fish floating around in the bubble tube.

  132. My favorite is the body sock/cocoon. It gives them the opportunity to use those muscles in their own way and for many in sort of privacy.

  133. I love wall or seat push ups. It’s a good way to give proprioceptive input at school and helps translations go smoother. It’s a great way to get students “ready to work”.

  134. One of my students favorite sensory activity is rolling them on two cylinder mats- kind of like a hotdog or sausage. I have some that find that very calming and some that that will actually work the opposite.

  135. I love sensory bins, rice/beans, water beads and fake snow. I can sit at my desk with one hand in the bin while writing notes. My students also love them!

  136. A mentor of mine introduced me to the idea of using the neoprene abdominal bands (you know, the ones that will give us “abs of steel” LOL!) to wrap around the outside of upper arms and torso like a hug. I now do this with both children and adults in my office and it is a big hit. I love finding DIY sensory therapies for my families that don’t break the bank!

  137. I like slow rocking (like in rocker chairs the students have in their classrooms) for calming. I like that the students have access to it all day.

  138. I love making my daughter into a sensory sandwich with a crazy concoction of ingredients to provide deep pressure and distract her mind with silly ideas until she is calm and settled.

  139. Deep pressure like joint compressions and progressive muscle relaxation – then teaching students ways to use these strategies on their own, discreetly, in their classroom.

  140. My students love watching sand timers and the lava lamp to relax thier body and emotions!! I even do it sometimes!

  141. My students love a sensory obstacle course that incorporates vestibular and proprioceptive tasks, using the ball pit, body sock, resistive tunnel, swing, incorporating a lazy 8 pattern and animal walks.

  142. I always encouraged teachers to allow water bottles at the students desk. Giving the child access to the sensory input of sucking and also ensuing good hydration.

  143. I like to combine a heavy work activity, like animal walks, or chair push-ups, with slow breathing shortly after, five-finger-breathing, or rainbow breathing.

  144. Beginning a session with heavy work like wheelbarrow walking provides deep proprioceptive input to get ready for a body scan activity to address feelings and body concerns, then goal oriented activities such as fine motor bilateral hand skills, and visual perception. The swing offered here provides an enclosed feature that really helps to reduce distractions and give a cozy feeling.

  145. I love using tunnels with ends on them to allow them a space to calm down, swings, body socks and of course proper lighting and music can make a huge difference! Sometimes I’ll have kids complete their tasks inside the tunnel with flaps on the end so they can focus and avoid distractions.

  146. I like heavy work exercises with deep pressure such as climbing/wheel barrows, or picking up weighed material and putting it in a wagon to pull around (but pretending the weights are supplies we need for a job).

  147. I like to have my students complete a sensory walk or obstacle course before and after therapy. I like to include a change in direction, Jumping, crawling, balancing and weighted balls. These can usually be accomplished with or without expensive equipment.

  148. I love using cocoon squeezes, wall push ups, and my personal favorite is using animal walks combined with a scavenger hunt.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  149. I love putting my kids on the rocker board and playing games challenging their balance as they cross midline.

  150. In the school setting, I find a weighted lap pad and sitting in a bean bag chair to be calming and organizing for some of the children.

  151. We have fluorescent lights in most of our schools. The teachers that I work with have had good results with the fluorescent light covers/filters in creating a more calming setting for kids.

  152. I love using a mini trampoline as an alerting activity. Some of the students I work with come in moving slowly and feeling tired so we head over to the trampoline for some instant energy.

  153. I usually use squishy toy for my agitated students. And sometimes sensory brush will help as well, the tactile input is a great calming tool!!

  154. With my son, we use deep pressure and heavy work a lot. We also have a gorilla gym swing in the house to use. He loves this type of pod swing at his OT times, so It would be great to add it to our collection!

  155. I keep a bucket of sensory toys in my office for kids. Some favorites are fidges, tangle toys and stress balls. I’d love to add something epic, like this swing, to my options for students.

  156. We’re pretty new to this and still figuring out what works. So far I’ve used music and deep breathing to help her reset and calm herself.

  157. I like to roll my kids in a mat and then use a therapy ball to roll over there bodies for deep pressure/proprioceptive input. We pretend they are a taco, pizza or sandwich and each time the ball is rolled over them we are putting on another “topping”.

  158. I love using tactile activities to calm – sand trays, shaving cream, floam, incredifoam, beans, rice, salt, jello, sequin pillows, squishy balls, playdoh…the list goes on and on

  159. A weighted lap cushion or stuffed animal can work well for calming and grounding for tabletop activities.

  160. I love giving Aromatherapy essential oil massages to my daughter with special needs as well as diffusing oils at home. We also really love TAC PAC which we learnt from her school and she has responded so positively to that therapy in order to assist her with developing in other area like speech.

  161. We love yoga and breathing exercises for calming. Deep pressure (hugs) are another tool! Our OT has a swing which is used at each visit and well-loved as well!

  162. I usually incorporate heavy work and deep pressure into our sessions depending on what each individual client needs.

  163. I work in an inclusion private school and many of our students love using the Lycra swing to help with sensory regulation!

  164. My favourite calming tool is heavy work! wheelbarrow walking or lying in prone on the ball anything to weight bear into those big joints!!

  165. Kinetic sand, play doh, and water beads are a favorite for calming, along with a weighted lap pad. For activating, definitely anything with a scooter board!

  166. My students love to utilize the swing equipment in my sensory room. They enjoy a variety of sensory tools such as the trapeze bar, steam roller, trampoline, and crash pad. I have created a sensory room that allows for the students to experience all the senses of the body.

  167. Nothing quite like standing upside down to keep one modulated! Especially in motion and additional hands-on sensory support.

  168. I love fun, heavy work activities! Animal walks, moving books, and any other creative thing we come up with to use in limited school settings. I also like using brushing and joint compressions throughout the day.

  169. I have an old quilt that I will roll students up in and pretend they are a hot dog. They can decide what they want on the hot dog and I do deep pressure (and sound effects) for each condiment. Just be sure and have their head/arms out of the blanket when you roll them up. It can be very calming to kids that are on the edge of a meltdown.

  170. I’m a Mom who is exploring some possible outcomes for my daughter who has trouble focusing on reading and writing. The only tip I have, is to visit The OT Toolbox website. I have been printing and laminating and reading and reading some more all in hopes to create a solid plan for a sensory diet for my daughter. All I can say is thank you for being a light in my tunnel that felt endless. This website is a true blessing!

  171. I have a variety of students and needs but some favorites include steam roller, crash pad, and toss/catch with a weighted ball.

  172. My child responds extremely well to string instrumentals. It soothes her when she melts down. Also as an anxiety release petting our dogs.

  173. I love to combine properioceptive and vestibular input together to help the child maintain a calm/alert state. One of my favorite activities is the hammock or the lycra swing. Kids can get a combination of passive vestibular and properioceptive input (swinging while getting pushed firmly but gently by a therapy ball). Would love to win this swing so I can give it to one of my clients! =)

  174. Swinging in the lycra swing with calming music or a gentle light up toy (I like to call this specific toy the “calm down cat”) for the child to hold.

  175. Love using the Galileo vibration platform at a low setting for full body input in standing or sitting on a mat

  176. I love to do climbing on the swings and using UE body strength to try to stand up wiggle swinging. Have 3 year old twins and working in pediatrics the use of vestibular and proprioveptive input for calming in crucial in all of my life.

  177. I love using essential oils and deep focus music as sensory modulation tools, as well as swings on the playground, but this is not always possible in the winter months.

  178. A huge circular bolster standing up vertical. The student and I push HARD back and forth. They have to keep their feet no more than shoulder-width apart & try to remain stable. Works core & upper body. The kiddos love it 🙂

  179. I love to use a quiet sensory area for a calming activity; students can choose between laying on a crash pad or bean bag chair, using a weighted blanket or lap pad, having lights on dimly or off, listening to calming music and have deep pressure input to the joints. Sometimes I join them! I’ve even had them fall asleep before- I figure if they do, I’m doing something right!

  180. I love using deep pressure, tactile experiences, including massage to arms with soft talking and visuals, especially my non-verbal students. I also use rolling over a ball or theraband activities to have the student provide input to their extremities.

  181. I love using calming music, lighting projectors, various breathing techniques, and yoga for self-regulation!

  182. My students love using an inflatable peapod for a calming sensory place that gives gentle deep pressure.

  183. I have a collection of the weighted stuffed animals that are sold this time of year. They’re the ones that can be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer. Some of the stuffed animals are also lavender scented. Those are very calming to my students – just the soft outside texture, the reassuring and calming weight and the relaxing scent do the job.

  184. In preschool, before table work, I do a heavy work motor group. The kids love crawling through tunnels, rolling objects or looking for treasures! A peanut ball is also a great tool! Then the teacher has them practice calm breathing and we transition for art.

  185. I love to use anything that has to do with bubbles– especially blowing bubbles and sensory tools with bubbles inside.

  186. Playdough! Working with toddlers in their homes, it always good to have something that can calm not just them but the adults too. Bonus: parents can make some themselves & always have it on hand while working on fine motor & language skills at the same time.

  187. I usually play a game or activity while child is prone on forearms or incorporate prone on scooter board for proprioceptive input and to improve visual attention

  188. I use knitting as a strategy for myself. It is calming and I make gifts for friends and family at the same time.

  189. I love to use body scans and breathing exercises. But if I have the space handstands/headstands, crab walk, bear walk etc.

  190. I love all of these ideas! After working 20 years in school-based services, finding new ideas can be challenging! This discussion reminded me of some past favorites, as well as the need to not get “stuck” using the sensory tools I prefer! I use a lot of visual sensory tools. I have students who thoroughly enjoy writing with pen lights in a dark room, with soft music playing. This week, when a student entered my room he commented, “this is so relaxing” BINGO!!!

  191. My favorite sensory activity is lying prone on a scooter board and having the child utilize BUEs to pick up small weighted bean bags for heavy work. It helps with calming as well as strengthening and the kids love the activity.

  192. I love using my sensory bin table. I fill it with beans and hide objects in it… dinosaurs, gems, Dig your arms underneath the beans and get the deep pressure. I also put scissor scoops to work on scissor control while they are playing with the beans .

  193. I n a classroom, I like to create a nook where sensory stimuli can be limited. It can be sectioned off corner of the room or a under a table. I place large pillows, books and fidgets in the nook.

  194. I love obstacle courses and so do my students. They love to create them as well. It is so interesting to see their creative minds flowing while incorporating what has been taught.

  195. I use a guided obstacle course that involves crawling, animal walks, visual motor aspects, and listening tasks before seated work.

  196. I like to use a variety of strategies and tools depending on the student and their sensory needs. Sensory sand is my favorite tool to use.

  197. My favorite strategies are giving bug bear hugs, quiet linear motion swinging and rolling a therapy ball over their backs in prone “making kid cookies”. It’s amazing watching kiddos calm and be able to complete tasks after!

  198. My favorite sensory tool at the moment is a yoga ball. It can be used to bounce off of, roll around. Carry (for heavy work). It’s extremely versatile! And when you live in an apartment with limited space, it’s multi-purpose for parent’s work-outs too!

  199. I love the power of oral motor input to help calm young and older children – plus it often facilitates deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing if positioned in supine! My favorites are transferring popcorn with a straw, blowing bubbles in a jug through a long piece of a theratubing, and cotton ball races. It’s a great way to get children grounded without feeling like “work”!

  200. I love using music personally but I also use it with the kiddos I work with in combination with swinging, heavy work or tactile activity. It’s just an added sensory component to assist with regulation that I feel works wonders!

  201. Therapy balls are a great way to increase and/or decrease modulation to prep for seated fine motor activities.

  202. Heavy work of any variety is what I find the most calming tool. I have students use chewy tools, carry weighted backpacks, carry lunch bins, push weighted equipment. It is amazing to see them become more regulated as the activity progresses.

  203. I love to using breathing exercises and my son loves to be wrapped up like a burrito or made into a sandwich with various pillows and blankets!

  204. Finding ways to get the head in an upside down position. It can give a great reset – works for the kiddos and for me 🙂

  205. I use my sensory corner with LED light strands, black light and light up cube as a table top work space for putty and other glowing items. I also incorporate developmental and fine motor activities due to the increased attention and focus due to the multi-sensory input.

  206. Calming low lights with soothing instrumental music. Lots of different breathing techniques, yoga, lava/glitter jars, heavy work (students stack reams of paper in the staff work room), active walks.

  207. I use deep breathing exercises with preschoolers in gross motor class. We have a variety of ways to take in and let out deep breaths. It’s calming and good for transitions to new activities.

  208. In one of my classrooms, we have built a quite space under the stairs to the loft. It has an egg chair plus soft lights and pillows. The kids love to go in there when they are dysregulated.

  209. I like to incorporate a weighted ball into play activities such as bowling. Kids don’t even realize that they are doing heavy work.

  210. Joint Compression. A tool you always have with you. When used appropriately you can often feel the student “melt” right in your hands.

  211. We use a countdown timer that my preschoolers can watch. It has a circle that slowly disappears as the time goes by. I would love to have more sensory tools in my classroom for when children need those needs met. It was great reading through the comments!

  212. I have 3 classes of severely intellectually disabled students and minimizing the sensory overload is key. Low light, calming music, slow vestibular stim and deep pressure massage always works well to provide a calming atmosphere!

  213. I turn my child into a taco by rolling her in a blanket. She will often request that I run a hand held massager over her body as we listen to music and breathe.

  214. I love to “make a pizza” by rolling a therapy ball over my students for deep pressure. They love to choose the toppings!

  215. My favorite way to calm a kiddo is by playing calming music and rolling a therapy ball over them to apply pressure to their whole body. To alert the kiddos, I like to have a dance party!

  216. I keep the lights down and use soft music or environmental sounds. I also like to start with yoga poses if the space allows.

  217. I have tried a lot of the sensory strategies mentioned above that provide a lot of proprioceptive and vestibular input. Probably the number 1 piece of equipment that my kiddos gravitate toward is the crash pad. They love to crash themselves or loved to be crashed into the crash pad.

  218. I love turning out the lights in my room, playing soft and slow music, and guiding a deep breathing exercise for calming!

  219. I like using enclosed spaces such as a tent or covered area of a room with string lights above to provide a calm space for kiddos. I also use this at home with my toddler for a reading nook in his bedroom. He loves it!

  220. My daughter would absolutely LOVE the swing. Calming strategy number ONE! along with toys that have lights and music. Tight squeezing, and sensory bins

  221. A calming activity that works on my daughter is sensory play with rice. We’ve worked out a particular way where we’ll embed her palms in the tray while pouring sand from a height down the length of her arm. She loves the sensation of rice sliding off her arms (legs work too). It’s nice and actually rather soothing for me too. Hope we can win the Harkla swing , I know she will love it especially how it would enclose her and keep overwhelming sights and sounds away while the motion sets her on a rhythmic ride to refocus. Pick us, pick us!! 🙂

  222. Breathing bottles (glitter bottles), squeezes, 5 senses count down, and we participate in Get Ready to Learn every morning – it helps the students and teachers!

  223. I absolutely love Yogarilla! Prop, vestibular, body awareness & coordination, oh my! My kiddos and I especially love the partner poses. It’s a great way to introduce them to the task and build trust & rapport. Swings are fabulous too but I work in schools so sensory swings are hard to come by!

  224. We have a sensory walk that our PE teacher created in the gym. Students can walk it forwards, but we found walking it in reverse order makes them really concentrate on some challenging moves.

  225. My son loves deep pressure as well as swinging. We’re still trying to figure out consistent strategies that work, but we’re getting there!

  226. We use a lot of brushing and joint compression or pressure vest in the classroom setting or pushing lunch cart or laundry basket full of wet towels for calming.

  227. I have definitely seen major benefits after having my clients perform heavy work tasks, especially when they have the opportunity to choose between options.

  228. I like to use heavy work and deep touch pressure. For older students I will incorporate activities like resistance band exercises, treadmill, wall pushes, wall sits, different yoga positions.

  229. I love the calming effect soft lights and deep pressure provide. It’s great to use the “Steamroller Squeeze Machine” we have in our OT room. Students can go through independently and at their own pace and I can adjust the level of pressure it provides.

  230. Scooter board activities in various positions are fun. Academic games can easily be incorporated for teachers to use too.

  231. I have used platform swings in the past which give the kid a chance to do some other activities while on the swing that help with motor planning and visual tracking etc. I would love to experiment with this one.

  232. I love using weighted blankets and weighted “toys” both for myself and my students (in a therapeutic day school). You can’t “overdose” and it is so calming.

  233. I team teach and we use sensory sand and fidget toys. WE have small calming corner with a bubble wand. I would love a swing…

  234. I work in a rural community in eastern Montana. We do not have many resources out here so we have to be creative! I like pretending the kid is a car in a car wash. I have the kid lay prone on a scooter and roll under the mat, that is set up like a tent. I then steam roll the kid with a foam roller to provide proprioceptive input and pretend we are drying the car. The kids really enjoy this!

  235. I love using our gym mats at the school, creating structures from them, and letting some kids use them as a crash pad, making an “A frame” type of structure so they can have a few moments of quiet in a tight space, or making a “proprioceptive sandwich!” By piling a couple of mats on their body and lightly pushing down. It allows for great collaboration and education with our PE teachers too! It would be great to have a tool that encourages vestibular input as well!

  236. I have quite a few kids that need a quick trampoline break and some that like quiet table activities to organize themselves.

  237. I like to use heavy work and Brain Gym activities to begin with, and often add in Bal-A-Vis-X patterns which are totally calming to the entire nervous system when done correctly! My older students especially have really benefitted from Bal-A-Vis-X too!

  238. I really enjoy doing animal walks with my high energy, sensory seeking patients. It allows for a run way for us to “race” and engage in something active together while providing all sorts of awesome input.

  239. I have found that using magnets for the students to construct objects is a good calming task. This has especially been beneficial with the older students. I also have bean bags where students can sit and engage in various puzzles to help calm.

  240. My favorite calming activity is this swing! I use it in the clinic with a lot of my kiddos, but I also secretly love to be in there by myself when the clinic is empty!

  241. I love to do any heavy work or movement activities like dancing. I also always play fast or slow music depending on what I’m working on and change the lighting as well.

  242. I like to use a brushing protocol with joint compressions to calm. Of course, the swing is always a favorite. To calm in the swing, I use slow back and forth swaying movements and to alert I use faster circular movements. It is always important when utilizing a swing to spin both directions equally in order to stimulate both sides of the brain equally.

  243. I love heavy work, animal walks through the hallways are an easy way to get it in and tactile tools such as brushing or lotion!

  244. I like calming music on when working with kids. For me, having narcolepsy and working in the schools can be a challenge. Fire balls are alerting for me!

  245. I love lowering lights, modeling breathing with deep breath in and slowly going out and then when speaking use a soft voice. and of course linear movement in swing.

  246. I have several kiddos who are loving wheel barrow walks right now! It is so good for calming heavy muscle work and building proximal strength and arches in the hands. I encourage parents to wheel barrow walk with kids at home during transitions like from the bathroom to the dining room table.

  247. A lot of the kids I work with love jumping on the trampoline and jumping into the ball pit where we work on deep breathing and taking some time.

  248. I love using bubble tubes with our kiddos! They seem to really enjoy them, especially when they are able to change the colors themselves.

  249. Scented putty and markers are a fun way to alert the sensory system. Burrito smashes on a crash pad are a great way to provide calming proprioceptive input to the whole body.

  250. I love to use the ball pit! My clients love running and jumping into the ball pit and the pressure they receive from the balls surrounding them!

  251. I like to use music and a large therapy ball to roll over a child’s body for calming. Rolling the child backwards over a therapy ball is a great alerting activity. Squeezing between bean bag chairs or rolling up in a blanket can be useful. Slow repetitive swinging in a compression swing is also helpful for calming children.

  252. My favorite is starting out a session with vestibular input. I choose a swing to match the kid’s needs and how they enter the clinic that day. It supports attention and during the time, I have them recall their day by asking open ended questions. It gives them a moment of mindfulness too as we discuss their arousal state using the Alert Program. I also love bubbles to facilitate deep breathing and slowing their respiratory rate a little (Fubbles are the best for indoor use).

  253. I do yoga for both alerting & calming.
    My kids love jump/crash on pillows and cushions for alerting their bodies.

  254. I love doing heavy work activities such as animal walks or pushing, pulling objects. Also, visual activities such as lava lamps for calming.

  255. We have a “Peace Corner” with a big bean bag chair and a basket of devices: fidgets, a colored oil timer, a snow globe and noise-cancelling headphones, and then also have a “Movement Corner” with a variety of heavy work activities.

  256. I teach a classroom that works a lot with students who have many sensory needs. One of their favourite places to this is to lay in the tunnel with the lights down low.

  257. I love playing “knock your therapist over”. I hold up a large firm crash pillow, the kid stands across the room, then they charge at me with full force, trying to knock me over into a pile of pillows behind me. Such a great proprioceptive activity for my sensory seekers! Can be used as a calming or alerting strategy depending on the kiddo!

  258. I love incorporating heavy work activities into my recommendations for school. I have a client in First Year Kindergarten who loves that his job is to help the janitor push the big garbage can on wheels when he enters the school after recess.

  259. I love the use of a weighted blanket. I also love to see how what is calming to one person may be overwhelming to another. Sensory strategies really take into question the whole self and thinking outside the box.

  260. I love using calm down glitter jars, and tactile sensory activities such as slime and play dough. Swinging is also a favourite activity, as well as parent massage, such as making a pizza on the child’s back

  261. A quiet room with dimmed lights, a sound machine, and a sensory bin with options to use for each of the senses. I also like to incorporate heavy work ? and movement breaks ?‍♂️ at key times during the day.

  262. I love and my students love too to roll back and forth on our backs while holding our knees. It helps stimulate our bodies, gives our backs a little massage, and get us grounded in our bodies.

  263. The trampoline is a go to for many of my students to get those extra wiggles out and help get organized before table top tasks!

  264. “Crazy Swing” with the platform swing is a great way to wake up the kids and their body and brain. The fast unpredictable movement changes and “shaking them off” is not only fun for the kids but it is a great work out that gets their body ready to learn when they go back to class. My kiddo’s always request crazy swing!!

  265. My favorite calming activities are crawling through Lycra/fabric tunnels and getting “squished” in a big foam wedge – having to fight against the therapist to “escape” or having the kiddos use their whole body to try to trap me under the big foam wedge.

  266. I like to use compression vests to help students calm down and the brain gym – hook up pose (I call it the pretzel) with eyes closed and deep breathing. The boys really like the pretzel and reports that they use it at home not just at school.

  267. We have a motor lab and a sensory lab. We utilize bubble tubes and lights, proprioceptive and vestibular work. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Personally I like the bubble tubes with changing light colors.

  268. So many different favorites for different needs! Backpacks with a little weight for transitions, chewelry, yoga, deep breathing, and wiggle seats are all high on the list. My personal favorite is playdough.

  269. I love having my students lay prone on a therapy ball and to walk forward and backwards while listening to slow calming music…I also like using different mindfulness and breathing apps and having children really practice how to breathe in order to help them calm down!

  270. My favorite way to teach children tonself regulate is with touch. I like to make a circle on the palm of their hand and show them how soothing it is.

  271. Using a diffuser in the classroom with essential oils. Orange, rosemary, thieves oil from Kereru Oils
    particularly good.

  272. My students like rolling over a peanut ball, jumping on the trampoline and manipulating theraputty. Some hold a piece of theraputty in their non-dominant hand while they’re doing a challenging task with their right hand such as writing.

  273. My go to is laying on the floor with legs up the wall or up on a table while doing deep breathing as I say a meditation/visualization.

  274. I am a home health OT and my kiddos love when I slowly roll a large therapy ball over their back and legs while they lie face-down on the floor, while calmly singing a song about rolling out pancakes, pizza, cookies, etc. It proves to be a highly effective calming and regulating activity.

  275. I have a box of heavy books and they say if it is something they can carry or what they want to remove to be able to carry it to the office and show Mrs. Smith.

  276. I love using a squeeze roller with throwing bean bags to a target in full upper extremity weight bearing, an obstacle course and jumping on a trampoline. Another child likes to drum on his abdomen so we play catch with a playground ball during the walk to OT from his classroom.!

  277. I enjoy giving the older students school jobs that involve heavy work/carrying/pushing or pulling and movement. These breaks also provide valuable opportunities to contribute to the school environment and numerous opportunities to practice social skills.

  278. I like tossing weighted medicine balls (2#) back and forth for older kids or theraband on the legs of their desk to push with their legs when they are in class!

  279. My favorite alerting activity at the moment is having my students utilize the scooter board and Southpaw ramp. They get vestibular input while going down the ramp, and some nice heavy work/proprioception while pulling themselves back up the ramp. Incorporating a puzzle or other fine and visual motor activity with the scooter board and ramp can be lots of fun too!

  280. When my son is in sensory overload he prefers to go to a quiet area and has his blanket and taggie that he uses to comfort himself with. Often he goes to a corner of the couch or under the loft bed, so a swing like this would be a good option for me to look into!

  281. I love using the lycra cloud, it is amazing to assist in either calming or alerting the child. I also try to incorporate a variety of activities for the child to do whilst climbing, whether it be a visual scanning, working memory or a fine motor task.

  282. My kiddos like physical experience and mental experience to stimulate five senses in their body and mind. Given a pen, for example and let them physically explore visual sense (its shape, size, color, and etc.), auditory sense (its sound of click), olfactory sense (its smell), tactile sense (cold, hard, or soft) but not taste it^^; then, ask them closed their eyes and mentally explore what they’ve just experienced physical senses.

  283. We love bubble mountain! Blowing bubbles in a container of soapy water using a straw. We try to make the bubble mountain as big as you can, then we get to squeeze all the bubbly foam. So fun!

  284. I love using sensory bins. They can touch on so many things as well as become a calming activity based on the contents.

  285. For calming, I really enjoy doing yoga and mindfulness relaxation. I’m often shocked at how well my kiddos respond. I also like using dim lighting, weighted blankets, soft music, and soft vibrations to calm down during meltdowns!

  286. I like to start with 5 deep, slow breathes – something that is always available no matter where the student is.

  287. I love blowing bubbles. The controlled breathing helps calm down and then we can shift our focus to popping bubbles and not hurting people or destroying property.

  288. Each day we spend 10 minutes of mindfulness and meditation after lunch. It is a great option that allows students to have the quiet time they need during the day. During this time, for those that need this option, we provide mindfulness colouring options as the quiet music or dialogue plays in the back ground. The lights are turned off, students find a quiet space to sit or lay and they can close their eyes if they wish. It is a time that students really look forward to, and ask for after lunch as we enter the school.

  289. For my pupils its always some physical interaction such as having a physio ball rolled on top of them; wheelbarrow walks; being lifted so that they dangled upside down; exploring dry goods ( eg chickpeas) from a container into a tub from a height. For me personally exploring cornflour in its solid to liquid state is just the best thing ever ?

  290. I use music to calm my class and it has the benefit to work on me at the same time. I play it quietly and they are extra quiet so they can hear it.

  291. Like many others, my favorites are heavy work activities like animal walks, army crawl, wheelbarrow, and scooter activities. They are great for working on core and UE strengthening and reflex integration too!

  292. Heavy tasks are the bomb! I also like to have a student help me out by running an errand, the walking, alone quietly is usually just what is needed to provide a reboot.

  293. I have visuals of animals and have students walk like the animal. Crab walks, bunny jumps, frog, lions, tigers, and bears…oh my! Great way to work on so many skills. After participating in fine motor activity at the table, I have each student take 3 deep breathes before they exit the therapy room.

  294. My favourite sensory activity is to make the son sandwich. I place a mat on the living room floor then my son lays down and I take the couch cushions placing them from his back to his feet and gently press down. We talk about all the ingredients you put into a sandwich while he uses his imagination and gets proprioceptive input at the same time. It’s a win/win for both of us as we connect and he self regulates.

  295. I am just beginning to learn about the importance of sensory regulation activities and am looking for ideas. the comments above are great and very helpful. I do have lots of cushions and beanbags that are used to give support and a feeling of own space. weighted blankets are helpful too.

  296. I like to use several activities such as slow movements while prone on therapy ball to help calm , deep breathing and moving through obstacle courses.

  297. We like the calm music and my son does so much better with the sensory swing at occupational therapy. We also find massage works pretty good with him.

  298. I love using functional tasks to help with regulation – such as pushing a cart of books, delivering water bottles, putting chairs up or taking them down

  299. If children are over excited we love smiling minds, kenetic sand for children who cant sit still and quiet colouring in dim light for over stimulated

  300. I love doing themed based yoga and mindfulness activities with my preschoolers. I also see great results with setting up sensory stations for the kids to participate in movement activities.

  301. I like putting on a calming video with music, turning off the overhead lights, turning on floor lights and putting glass bowls with fairy lights inside (we call these “whisper lights”) on table during snack time. We call this our “fancy restaurant time” and is always the most relaxing time of our day!

  302. Wrestling while bouncing on the trampoline is a favourite for my boys, or sitting on their peanut balls and bouncing on the trampoline. The trampoline doesn’t provide enough input, but add wrestling or the peanut ball and they get the right input and it makes them so much happier.

  303. I am OT and work in schools, students use a treadmill as an organizing and calming activity as well as love calm music and repeatable patterns to follow to the rhythm.

  304. I’ve been trialling sensory sheets instead of weighted blankets. It fits over the mattress like a tube and child gets to sleep under it with constant compression throughout the night!

  305. I love incorporating animal walks into an obstacle course! Also jumping into the ball pit and having the kiddos “dig” to find the treasure through different weighted items.

  306. I love gross motor movement or movement games to increase alertness with kiddos. I especially like making themes to the movement (such as Autumn movements. For calming, scented homemade play dough, theraputty, or kinetic sand is my personal favorite 🙂

  307. Personally, I love to color as a calming strategy! But, for my occupational therapy clients, I swing them in a swing with the lights turned low.

  308. My kiddos in OT are much more focused when sitting/ bouncing on a therapy ball while engaging in other activities (ball toss/ handwriting tasks/UE strengthening). It’s great for core strengthening and postural awareness!

  309. I love using deep pressure! There’s nothing like a big hug or nice squeeze to limbs for my kiddos! I also love massage as well!

  310. I love using lots of gross motor activities that give deep pressure like, different animal walks, wheelbarrow walking, etc. The kids love getting up and moving and the deep pressure is calming.

  311. Deep pressure activities, such as steam rollers with a therapy ball, or pretend to make pizza, sandwich, etc.

  312. Working in the school setting, I use so many different types of sensory supports for our students. We currently using calming rooms with success for some students. It seems to be my new go to! This swing would be a great addition. Please send it our way and thank you!

  313. My son really likes spinning in any form—In chairs, swings, on playground equipment. He also enjoys falling into things and jumping (safely) into crash pads.

  314. I love using bubble tubes and dimming lights with calming YouTube videos. Also, swing outside on the playground.

  315. In my classroom we use a mix of pressure vest or weighted animals. The weighted animals are little friends that help us make good choices throughout the day. I also use a variety of blue lights and sounds throughout the day. I love sensory items, they truly do make a difference!

  316. We take a sensory break and do different types of walking down our long hallway. The kids stretch out their legs and do big walking, sideways walking, backwards walking, wheel barrow walking, crab walking, big knees up, way down low etc. They love it and then they’re ready for center time!

  317. I love the use of a sensory walk in our Elementary building. It’s simple to install, yet fun. Our sensory walk has many different activities such as hopping on one foot, jumping on 2 feet, wall pushups, crab walk, hopscotch like section, jumping Jack’s, wide steps and tiny steps. Sometimes we add addition sensory exercises posted on the wall. This has been a fantastic addition used by many!!

  318. Our sensory hub we have in our school! We have lots of different sensory tools the children can use when they feel they need time to reflect and ‘reset’. My favorite is the bike peddles and the choice of calm sounds and music you can choose.

  319. I love playing enya in my classroom while my students work. They request it daily to help them focus. We also have a sensory walk in our hallway for students to identify the zone of regulation they are in and a sensory box with slinkies, sensory bottles, squishy/stress balls to help them get back in the green zone.

  320. I LOVE any type of sensory balls with water beads or sand/foam, body socks and bear/tight hugs, proprioceptive input while on prone with a peanut ball or yoga ball, and definitely using the swing in a linear motion! Love anything sensory!!

  321. I love using a mini trampoline and having the kiddo jump into a giant crash pad! Also just in the way the environment is set up, soft music, calming lights, using a soft slow therapeutic voice, etc.

  322. Mindfulness activities of all kinds. I love incorporating nature- doing a sensory scavenger hunt outdoors is a big hit. And breathing exercises, whether with bubbles or different types of breathing.

  323. I recently tried a vibrating pillow with a student. It has really helped provide input during activities to increase her attention!

  324. My favorite sensory strategy is heavy work whether it be pushing or pulling a cart, erasing the white board, or exercises utilizing a weighted ball!

  325. I love having the kids lay on a mat table or floor and roll a therapy ball over them to create a deeper pressure for calming effects. You can make it in to a game of rolling out dough or pizza

  326. For me I find that a lot of my kids regulate when provided proprioception input. We use items like body socks and compressions or heavy work activities. Works great!

  327. I love utilizing our sensory pathway as a calming regulation tool. It is filled with heavy work activities such as bear crawl, crab walk, wall push ups, tip toe, jumping, etc!

  328. Swinging is definitely high on my sons list. We are new to this sensory stuff. We got a mini trampoline for our son and use it when his “body feels crazy.” I think the most calming thing for him is kinetic sand or bridseed. He will play in it for a long time. We have sensory bin and these 2 live in our dining room. He plays with one or some times both daily. It’s also helping build his hanx strength.

  329. In our home we either use outside play time or our “take apart” bin. Which is a plastic container with old computer equipment or small appliances and some tools. This helps them explore their feelings and gives a creative outlet by either just taking things apart or using the pieces to create works of art.

  330. “Honey mess”

    Pretend you have honey all over your arms and you have to get the sticky stuff off! Honey is very very sticky and you have to push really really hard to get it all off. Start with one hand at your neck and rub all the way down your arm to you finger tips. Now do the other side. Keep going on both sides… honey is super sticky and hard to get off. 🙂

  331. Depending on the environment I use different techniques for proprioception for calming. In the classroom, sometimes it is simply putting consistent pressure across the shoulders or pushing on the wall, but in the clinic I love having the kids throw and catch weighted balls onto the trampoline angled upwards. They get to do heavy work, while working on eye hand coordination, oculomotor skills, and having fun.

  332. I love using yoga, deep breathing techniques, animal walks, linear swinging and rolling with a therapy ball with student in prone

  333. My students respond well to heavy work and deep pressure such as wheelbarrow walking, wall pushes as well as lighting changes and rocking/swinging.

  334. PROPRIOCEPTION
    1. I am lucky enough to have a 4 layer Lycra swing at one school.
    2- using a homemade or narrow resistance tunnel up a wedge and have students push weighted balles upp through it ( apples to a tree top, ornaments to a Christmas tree, etc. Most love a giant box head of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and food.
    3- one Irecently found and hope to try is light covers- not the blue but astronomy, trees, clouds, etc.

    All sensory activities are my favorite!!!

  335. I love to have the lights off, weighted blanket Layer out across the kiddo and roll a weighted ball along the body! So calming for myself and just about anyone I’ve used it with! We call it “squishes”

  336. Our school has started to create a sensory hallway where kids can jump/touch/and look at a variety of things to calm down and regulate their bodies!

  337. Sensory bins, swings, heavy work, and movement activities like hopping/skipping have been my go-to during therapy- especially transitions.

  338. I love sensory obstacle courses or any heavy work especially with the order kids I allow them to make the course themselves and will add to it myself if needed. They usually know exactly what then need.

  339. I use sensory pathways with different kinds of movement patterns like wall push ups, bear walk and yoga poses. During table top activities I use kinetic sand, flip sequins and water beads.

  340. I love using different aromatherapy lotions to help calm myself, my boys and my students. At home, we use lavender just before bed and peppermint when things are starting to get a little heated. I use mint to help students focus at school.

  341. Hi!

    I love educating and training paras/teachers how to use our new sensory paths as a calming activity and movement break for all students attending the school. I also like giving students jobs like being the mail carrier to get that proprioceptive input as well as doing something meaningful that they can be proud of and receive positive recognition for! Sensory bins and visual input like balls you shake with glitter are also great for calming while building a positive relationship with kiddos.

    As for alerting, I love being silly and doing animal walks with kids or go noodle songs!

  342. I love using a combination of vestibular input (therapy ball, office chair spin) followed by heavy work (pushing a tote bin) and deep pressure to help regulate!

  343. I have so many favorite sensory calming tools, making it hard to choose just one. I think there are different strategies, tools, activities that work best for each kiddo I work with and that it takes time to figure out what works best. I love deep pressure input, calming twinkle lights, calming/therapeutic music. My clinic has a sensory calming room, but we are in need of different equipment and tools to use. This swing would be perfect for so many – whether it’s used to help with regulation, assist with postural insecurity, or just to provide a sense of autonomy by having an array of swings to choose from!

  344. I just saw a great idea for children who are overwhelmed by bright lights and noise in a shopping mall. Cover the trolley with a blanket or even an umbrella and let them sit safely in there. The noise will be minimized and the bright florescent lighting blocked out. Making shopping easier without a sensory meltdown.

  345. I like to use a bosu. The kids can sit and bounce on it; or if they need movement they can jump on it.
    They can also lay on their stomach on it and reach for different types of objects.

  346. We love wall push ups against the liquid tiles, squeezes (deep pressure down shoulders, arms and legs) and going in a ball pit with changing lights.

  347. In my class I have a “womb” area. I have a thing black table cloth that hangs over a table all the way to the floor. Once you crawl inside the sounds from outside are muffled and I have put very dull “fairy lights” on their and some super comfy and textured pillows. My kids love it and we have to take turns in it. One at a time and it’s a place of calm, safety. I even had one of my little girls bring her white noise turtle to leave in there. I have had it now for the 3rd year now and it just doesn’t get “old”!

    Love my womb area!

  348. I love using sensory bins- I often have seasonal ones! I also incorporate seasonal And themed movement/animal walks For prop and heavy work input. I love the breathing visuals and use of Spherical toy to help improve deep breathing

  349. I have used the heavy work idea with my preschool children. Usually that is some books in a backpack to deliver to another teacher.

  350. After school, my son loves to swing on a playground swing, jump on the trampoline, or put his noise reduction headphones on and bang his drums to “unwind” after a long school day.

  351. I have used the projector with underwater sea images plus a variety of projector images with relaxing music. I find this great, as it helps the children relax and calm down. After the session they are ready to go back to class to do some work and helps them listen and control their emotions better. I also use art , games and mindfulness.. deep breathing exercises.

  352. Many of the kiddo said in EI love deep pressure/proprioceptive activities, linear swinging, and songs with hand motions.

  353. Music helps if we are in the car. If we are at home and he gets frustrated during therapy i let him sit on my lap give him a tight hug and and rock side to side til he calms down. He gets frustrated sometimes trying to learn new things or speech if he cant make the sound. He is nonverbal but he tries to mimic words now. So great improvement but cant wait for him to be able to speak/sign on his own without any prompting.

  354. I love making calming ‘forts’ in the clinic, especially for kids that are easily overwhelmed by visual input and overhead lights. I’ve draped mats over side of tables and used fabric tunnels to create a calming area with decreased visual input.

  355. Liquid drippers followed by a dip into a ‘headspace’ box to choose a tactile sensory toy, squeezy toys, goo, cloth, stretch toys, beany toy, flashing balls – a treasure box of small sensory calmers the kids (&me) choose to match emotion or need.

  356. In our classroom we have a safe space – an enclosed cubby that removes visual stimulation. Our students like to use the space, sometimes with headphones when they feel overwhelmed.