This is a great tool to make at home for your school aged child who wants something to fidget with their hands at their desk. It can increase attention in the classroom and it’s not noisy so it won’t disturb other students. Have your child help make it by picking out the balloon. Use both hands to open the balloon, and instruct your child to gently pour a bag of rice into the balloon (do it over a large container to decrease the mess). Tie off the balloon. Get a second balloon and use both hands to open it. Have your child push the first balloon into the second balloon to act as a double layer to prevent the balloon from rupturing. Tie it off. These can also be decorated with markers or stickers. Ask your child’s teacher if it would be okay to send the balloon to school, or use it at home during homework time.
-Weighted lap belt
This is a great tool for the child who finds deep proprioceptive input calming. Deep proprioceptive input can be defined as something that provides “deep pressure” to the joints in our body. It helps us know where our body is in space. Children who may benefit from this tool may enjoy tight hugs, crashing their body into things, and jumping. To make this tool, all you’ll need is a big bag of rice and a long knee-high sock (an adult sock can be used) with tightly woven fabric so the rice won’t come out. As a general rule, weighted items should be between 5%-10% of your child’s body weight. To make this item, you or your child can open up the sock and the other person can pour the rice into the sock. Again, pour the rice over a large open container to reduce the mess. Tie the sock off at the end if possible, or use a rubber band. This is another tool that can be used at school without disturbing other children or used at home during homework time. Ask your child’s teacher before sending it to school.
-No sew bean bags
These bean bags are another tool that can be used for deep proprioceptive activities. They can be made using the same technique as the weighted lap belt. Instead of using a long sock, uses smaller socks (maybe ones your child has grown out of!). These bean bags can be used in a variety of ways to provide deep proprioceptive input. Have your child wear a jacket with pockets and place the bean bags in the pockets as a DIY weighted vest. Weighted vests can be used as a calming tool for children who respond well to deep proprioceptive input. Again, stick with 5%-10% of your child’s body weight. Take the vest off for high movement activities such as running, jumping, or swinging. These bean bags can also be used at home for a variety of games that provide deep proprioceptive input. Scatter the bean bags out on the floor of a room. Have your child walk on their hands to retrieve the bean bags and place them in a container. Having your child walk on their hands (or you can say, “show me how you walk like a bear!”) to provide deep proprioceptive input to their arms and shoulders.
Enjoy! Tip: try using other items besides rice inside the balloon/socks for increased tactile sensation! (Try beans, sand, small pebbles, etc. Just make sure it doesn’t leak through the sock!)