Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite “sensory friendly” materials to keep in your classroom. These are great to keep when students are a little “fidgety,” and seem to need extra sensory input. They’re also great to use when students need brain breaks. Most of these items you can find on Amazon, but I’ve tried to find them at other “small shops” to support those businesses!
This list is also great for parents who are interested in supporting their child are home with their sensory needs. Teachers, please remember…students don’t need all the fanciest toys in their classroom. They need a loving teacher who supports them. I encourage you to ask you admin or PTA, or put in grants so that you can purchase necessary items for your classroom.
Spaghetti Ball Fidget
This is such a cool fidget. Some students will NOT like the way this feels, but many will find this relaxing and soothing to play with. It’s such a unique texture that they likely won’t experience otherwise…unless they are playing with cooked spaghetti or yarn!
Foam is similar to play-doh, but it’s a different texture and it’s super engaging. It’s great to have students make letters, numbers, shapes, etc. I love this alternative! It comes in so many different colors so they can make all kinds of creations with it! It’s MUCH easier to clean up that play-doh and won’t stick on things in the same way.
Theraputty is similar to play doh, or silly putty, but it comes in different stages of firmness. It’s great for supporting students’ hand strengths…which is key when it comes to their writing skills. You can hide small toys, animals, or even magnetic letters inside for students to find. If you have students who are struggling with fine motor tasks (scissor skills, handwriting, etc), I really encourage you to give this a try!
These are SO fun! They come in a few different textures/types, but they would be easy for students to keep with them during transitions (like walking down the hall or during lunch.)
I would be SHOCKED if you didn’t have students bring in some sort of popper to class. I feel like they are EVERYWHERE…gas stations, grocery stores, toy stores. But they truly do serve a purpose and support many students who need more tactile input. They make a satisfying sound, and students just really love them…even some grown ups. If you check out Pinterest, many teachers have even figured out how to use them in small group reading and math. You can find necklaces, bracelets, big ones, small ones, themed ones, etc.
There are so many ways to use a light table in the classroom. Many classroom manipulatives come in a transparent version for use on the light table. Most likely you could find an old projector in a storage closet somewhere that would make a perfect light table!
Weighted Pillows and Stuffed Animals
Not all students will love weighted pillows or blankets, and I would never ask students to do this. However, you might choose to have some available that they could use if they like it. For many people, pressure or weighted objects can help “center” after anxiety or over stimulation.
What other items would you add to the list??