Check out some of our best sensory ideas for small spaces! From movement activities, to tactile activities, to visual activities, and more!
If you’re reading this post, you may be a school-based therapist working in a cramped storage closet or a tiny corner of the hallway.
Or maybe you’re a teacher who knows how important it is to get those kiddos up and moving…but you have no space to do it.
Maybe you’re a parent whose little one craves movement and other sensory input, but you just don’t have the room for lots of equipment and large toys.
Many of us are facing this same issue: kids who need to move and bounce and crash and jump and spin and roll but absolutely no space for them to do it in. That’s why we’re here today to offer up some of our best sensory ideas for small spaces (or for “on the go”).
These items are easy to pack up and store away when you’re not using them and perfect to infuse a little sensory input into kids’ routine, even when you don’t have access to a huge therapy gym!
50 Sensory Ideas for Small Spaces
1 || Wall pushups or chair pushups
This is a simple and effective way for kids to get some weight through their hands and arms – no equipment needed…except maybe a chair!
2 || Bean bags
Kids can toss bean bags, catch them, balance them on their heads and other body parts, or use their hands and fingers to feel what’s inside. Make your own and fill them with different textured materials like rice, beans, or beads to change things up!
3 || Compression garments
Lycra garments like the ones from SPIO or compression vests can be a great way to give kids a little squeeze (tactile and proprioceptive input).
4 || Vibrating Pen
This is such a small and simple thing to throw into your bag for on-the-go sensory play. A vibrating pen is a great way to warm those hands up before handwriting and other fine motor activities.
5 || Vibrating Cushion
Kids can squeeze it, lean their backs up against it, and even rest their bare feet on a vibrating cushion like this one from Senseez.
6 || Wrist/Ankle Weights
Another small piece of equipment, wrist or ankle weights can be easily stored away, but pack a lot of punch when it comes to proprioceptive input during movement activities!
7 || Animal walks/dinosaur stomps
No equipment needed! Simply create your own little zoo by having kids pretend to be bears, snakes, crabs, or kangaroos! All of these are great for vestibular and proprioceptive input. Work in some dinosaur stomps for an added dose of impact to the joints and muscles.
8 || Jump rope
Have kids practice jump roping skills or place the jump rope on the floor and see if kids can jump, leap, and hop over the “snake”!
9 || Squish box
Make your own squish box by filling a large plastic container with pillows and cushions and letting the child sit inside!
10 || Play dough
An OT favorite, play dough is a great way for kids to get some squishing and squeezing out of their system! Check out these fun ways to play with play dough!
11 || Lycra tunnel or body sock
Challenge kids to make their way through a squeezy lycra tunnel or have them try on a body sock for some all-over sensory input. Here are some of our favorite sensory ideas for playing with a body sock.
12 || Rolling pin
Have kids roll a rolling pin on each other’s backs for a little massage, or try rolling one over bubble wrap!
13 || Bubble wrap
And…speaking of bubble wrap…throw a sheet in your bag or in the sensory box in your home or classroom! Kids can use their fingers to squeeze the bubbles or roll a rolling pin or toy cars over it! Great proprioceptive feedback and some auditory fun!
14 || Foam roller
Ever heard of a foam roller? It’s kind of like a stiff, rigid, short, stubby pool noodle! They’re fairly small and there are tons of fun ways to play with them!
15 || Yoga mat
A yoga mat is great for yoga, yes, but there are even more fun ways to use this simple, easy-to-store prop to create movement experiences for kids! Check out these simple activities for kids using a yoga mat.
16 || Bilibo
Kids can use a Bilibo to rock, spin, balance, and sway the day away. Great for movement breaks and sensory warmups!
17 || Sit ‘N Spin
More spinny vestibular fun here! A Sit ‘N Spin is another great toy for your small-space sensory collection!
18 || Video game chairs/floor cushions
Adjustable cushions like these are a great alternative seating option for kids to get some changes in position while they work on fine motor and other tasks and are easy to fold down and store away when not in use.
19 || Hokki stool
Another great alternative seating option for kids. A Hokki stool is great for little ones who need a little movement to focus and attend.
20 || Mini trampoline
Jumping is a fantastic way for kids to get the proprioceptive and vestibular stimulation they need. And a mini trampoline is a good option that can be tipped on its side and rolled into a small space for storage.
21 || Invisible Ink Pen With UV Light
How fun is this?? Kids can write messages in invisible ink and then light them up to see them with a UV light! Such an awesome visual play activity!
22 || Flashlights
For more visual glow-y fun, try a crank flashlight, squeeze flashlight, or finger flashlights!
23 || Streamers
Streamers can be an awesome way to motivate even the most reluctant kids to get moving! Great for body awareness and visual stimulation too! Here are some fun ways to play with streamers.
24 || Water blocks
Speaking of visual stimulation, these cool blocks are sure to grab kids’ attention and get them focused on some fine motor fun.
25 || Seek and find bottles
Here’s a great option you can make with kids and then keep on a shelf in your sensory space.
26 || Pop Toobs
One of our all-time favorite sensory ideas! A little tug of war results in some awesome proprioceptive and auditory input. And this one is also super small and easy to store.
27 || Echo microphone
We’ve seen these echo microphones work magic both on kids who are reluctant to speak and kids who are looking to amp up the volume by making noise all the time.
28 || Boom Whackers
Another one of our favorites! There are tons of ways to play with a colorful, noisy set of Boom Whackers – all resulting in some great auditory and proprioceptive fun!
29 || Rainstick
You can make your own rainstick, or pick one up online! Bonus points if you find one that offers visual stimulation too!
30 || Whistles and kazoos
Whistles and kazoos are great oral sensory options for kids who are always humming and making noises.
31 || Pin Art
A pin art toy is an old classic that can be mesmerizing for tactile seekers.
32 || Water Wigglies
More tactile fun here! Water Wigglies are hard to hold onto, but kids will have fun trying!
33 || DIY stress balls
Fill balloons with sand, flour, play dough, or dry beans to make a set of your own squeezable stress balls.
34 || Texture squares
These texture squares are a great, easy-to-store tactile play option for little ones.
35 || Koosh balls
Another old classic. Koosh balls have been around forever and can be used as fidget toys or just to play catch!
36 || Mini tactile bins
When space doesn’t allow for a big sensory table, try making your own mini tactile bins. Small or medium sized plastic containers with lids can be filled with kinetic sand, dry beans, or rice for quick tactile sensory breaks.
37 || Just-a-minute
Anyone can use these one-minute guided meditation breaks and they have a whole section of meditations just for kids!
Check out this video about providing sensory input in small spaces!
38 || Movement Cards
This set of 200+ brain break, sensory activities, yoga moves, and activity break cards is perfect for adding a quick dose of movement into the day. Each activity takes about 5-10 minutes and are designed for all ability levels.
39 || GoNoodle
On GoNoodle, you’ll find hundreds of videos for kids that get them running, jumping, dancing, stretching, and practicing moments of mindfulness.
40 || Yogarilla Cards
We love this deck of Yogarilla Cards with 55 yoga poses and 110 activities. The cards are large and colorful and are designed to help kids understand how their bodies and minds work together.
41 || Yoga 4 Classrooms Activity Card Deck
The Yoga 4 Classrooms Activity Card Deck is full of yoga pose and activity suggestions that are designed for a classroom space, meaning that all of the activities can be done in a small area. You’l find yoga poses, brain boosting movements, breathing exercises, visualizations, mindfulness activities, creative movement and community-building games.
42|| Minute Moves
The Minute Moves line of products from S’Cool Moves is designed with student leadership in mind. Kids learn the movement routines and then take over the day-to-day management of the routines in the school setting. They can be used in the classroom or even school-wide to create a collaborative, focused, calm atmosphere.
43 || Sensory Motor Game Boards
These 7 printable sensory motor game boards promote muscle strengthening, eye-hand/foot coordination, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, body awareness and motor planning.
44 || Stepping Stones
If you don’t have room for a big, clunky balance beam, try these bumpy little stepping stones to create a fun movement activity in a small space!
45 || Weighted ball
Roll a weighted ball back and forth, lift it from the floor to a higher surface, bounce it, or roll it up the stairs for some heavy work!
46 || ABCs of Movement
These great movement cards, the ABCs of Movement are the perfect way to support the development of literacy skills with movement!
47 || Spinning tops
You can switch out the patterns on these awesome spinning tops for a fun fine motor and visual motor play experience for kids.
48 || Hop Ball
Try a smaller hop ball for some bouncy proprioceptive and vestibular fun!
49 || Handee Band
The Handee Band is a kid-friendly resistance band that comes with an illustrated exercise guide and dry erase checklist so kids can keep track of their progress!
50 || Lava lamp
And, last but not least, create a calming visual atmosphere with a good old-fashioned lava lamp! Great for a calming sensory break.
What are your favorite small space-friendly sensory ideas? Share them in the comments below! The more the merrier! :)
Want to find even more amazing sensory ideas for kids? Check out our book, Sensory Processing 101!
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