DIY Sensory Room Ideas
Many autistic and neurodiverse individuals (as well as their families) would love to have their very own sensory room at home. But where do you start?
We know that there are many things to consider when buying sensory items: safety, durability, and of course, the sensory elements of each item!
Hopefully, these DIY sensory room ideas help you start the process of building out your at-home sensory room. I absolutely love seeing clients regulate and happy stim using sensory supports at Resonate Music Therapy, and so we wanted to share some of our favorite ideas with you.
A few things to note before starting on your DIY sensory room:
No one else has your (or your child’s) exact sensory profile. A sensory deprivation corner may necessitate a black tent made specifically for that purpose, and it may be as simple as a blanket over a couple of chairs filled with all the individual’s favorite things. Either way- don’t limit yourself, or think that things need to be done a certain way. This is your sensory room.
Space is a consideration. For example, the floor trampolines are excellent for littles-teens, but if your ceilings aren’t high enough and you’re planning a DIY sensory room for an adult, you may need to consider utilizing an outdoor space for some components of your sensory room.
Consider all aspects of creating a sensory space. Remember *all* of the senses: sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste, vestibular, interoception and proprioception. You could have the coolest vestibular equipment, but it may not mean much for the individual if they can’t access the room because it doesn’t have adjustable lighting, or lighting options.
All people have a right to be regulated in their own bodies. As long as the individual is safe, sensory supports should always be accessible. At Resonate Music Therapy, our favorite way to set a treatment room up is by freely placing all of the client’s desired sensory equipment in the room. That way they can access what they need, when they need it. (The therapist can then help provide safe and helpful regulation- eg, let’s spin on our knees so our vestibular system doesn’t get messed up).
19.7"x19.7" Square, Colorful, 4 Tiles
These sensory floor tiles have been a game changer for some of our clients who enjoy visually stimming. When you move along the mat, the fluid underneath moves as well!
I also use a ton of sensory supports in my mental health-focused sessions- my new favorite is combining this mat with a sensory swing. The client can swing and talk, while having their feet moving on the mat. It’s particularly effective for clients that experience a brain/body disconnect due to trauma.
Double-Layer, & 360° Swivel, Calming Compression Therapy Swing Hammock for Kids & Adults with All Hardware
A compression swing is a staple of the DIY sensory room. Not only are compression swings fun and comforting, but they also help individuals who need to feel where they are in space (proprioception).
I chose this swing because its hardware is east to install safely. Some of the other hardware I’ve seen and used is harder to accurately line up with a 2x4. However, it does make kind of an alarming crunch sound when the swing is twisted. So if the individual likes to spin, it’s worth noting that it may create sound.
Rock Wall Climbing Kit with Mounting Hardware, Knotted Rope, and 25 Handles - Playground Accessories
We absolutely love our climbing wall at Resonate! It is a bit tricky to install, but well worth it. I used the tutorial from The Created Home, below, as a guide when we designed ours. We had a professional assess and complete the final installation. We wanted to make or wall heavy duty to withstand a lot of use.
5 Lbs of Sand - Toy Magic Sand Set - 10 Molds and Tray for Girls and Boys
Not going to lie- kinetic sand is messy. However, we’ve found that it’s often worth it! Get a big plastic tub and toys, use this sand, and you’ve got an excellent immersive sensory experience.
Thankfully, kinetic sand isn’t as messy as regular sand, and it makes the perfect addition to DIY sensory room ideas.
40" in-Home Mini Rebounder with Adjustable Handrail, Fitness Body Exercise, Spring-free, Safe for Kids (with handle)
We’ve included two trampolines here to inspire your DIY sensory room. The one with the handle bar may be good for someone that has poor balance, needs support, and doesn’t bounce too extensively. I would recommend the one without a bar for someone that will bounce hard. In my experience, if the individual isn’t using the bar for balance, it can quickly become a hazard.
Sensory Pad with Foam Blocks for Kids and Adults with Washable Cover (5 feet x 5 feet)
It’s important to consider safety when considering DIY sensory room ideas. At Rresonate, we actually use Nugget Couches as crash pads. However, they may not provide the ‘sink in’ feeling that some clients need. Plus, Nugget couches aren’t always available and may be out of some people’s budgets.
So, if a Nugget couch doesn’t do the trick, try this crash pad! Also an excellent safety measure for under swings or your climbing wall.
Giant 40 Inches with Carabiners and Flags, 700 lb Weight Capacity, Steel Frame, Waterproof
A platform swing is another staple of the DIY sensory room – and you can hook it to the same hardware you have for the compression swing!
Tip: We noticed that kids were getting slight ‘rope burn’ from holding on too tightly to the swing. So, we took black duck tape and wrapped the ropes with it, spiraling upward, and that fixed the issue!
Personal Sensory Room Not Right for You? Resonate Has a Sensory Room in Colorado Springs!
Resonate Music is a leading music therapy practice in Colorado Springs. If you live nearby and think that a sensory room would be good for you or your child, then please reach out. Our clients have access to the climbing wall, trampoline, crash pads, and more during scheduled sessions.
Please note that only therapy clients with scheduled sessions can use the sensory room. At this time, we don’t offer drop-in hours or one-time access to our sensory room.