Having a toddler is one of the most rewarding and challenging parts of parenthood. Toddlers are often busy, their minds are developing at such an incredible rate that every new thing they see, touch, or hear has an impact. They are learning so much about the world around them and many want to do it all
As a parent, you want to do it all for them. As a busy mom or dad, it can be hard to keep up. Striking a balance can be especially challenging, but creating a space where your toddler can safely explore the world around them may be a great way to do it.
Of course, it comes down to creating the right space. You want something that will stimulate your toddler and help with their development. Although you want something fun and engaging for them, you also want something that is within your budget. It may be worth looking into the idea of setting up a sensory room for your toddler.
What Is a Sensory Room?
Sensory rooms are a lot of things, and they can take many forms. In general, they are rooms or spaces that are designed to give kids the sensory input they need to help them learn how to self-regulate and decompress. Of course, what your child needs to achieve those goals can vary substantially. More to come on that!
Rooms that are designed with a sensory agenda are most often used for children who are neurodivergent. This term “neurodivergent” just means that brains may not work the same way, for instance, children with ADHD, autism, or dyslexia may be considered neurodivergent. The rooms are designed for kids who are easily over- or under stimulated by their surroundings. It can be a quiet space where kids can get away from the business and stimulation elsewhere, or it can be a busy place where they can get all of their excess energy out.
That certainly doesn’t mean only certain children benefit from sensory rooms. Rather, sensory rooms can be powerful learning tools for every toddler. Sensory rooms can help children learn to self-regulate their emotions, which ultimately can help them do better in school, learn new skills, and socialize. It is all part of what is called a sensory diet.
Finding the Right Room for Your Kid
Determining the right sensory room for your toddler means paying attention to your child and determining what types of stimulus they might benefit from. If your toddler is the type who wants to be touching and playing with everything, you may be looking at one type of room. However, if your toddler is easily overwhelmed by things going on around them, you may be looking at designing a completely different space.
An example of a busy space might be something that encourages your child to explore. You might fasten piping on the walls that toddlers can put balls through or build a simple climbing wall with lots of cushions at the base. The space could include musical stimulation as well.
Alternatively, a more relaxing space may include things like darker or softer lighting, different types of pillows, and/or weighted blankets. These types of sensory stimulants create a general feeling of calm that can help kids relax in the busy world we live in today.
Remember, you can also create a safe and inclusive space outside for your toddler. This might be somewhere where they can dig in the dirt, play in the leaves, build a fort, or quietly enjoy watching the clouds. Making your backyard more accessible to people of all ages can be a real benefit.
Building on a Budget
Of course, if you just Google “fun playrooms for kids” or “creating a sensory room for toddlers,” the first things that come up are the types of things that almost require a full home remodel. Some rooms become dedicated jungle gyms complete with monkey bars, slides, and rock walls, while others become mystical hideaways that just about anyone would want to get lost in.
Sure, there are a lot of really fancy designer rooms that you could create. But there are also a lot of budget-friendly ideas for creating the perfect sensory room for your toddler. It could be as simple as painting the room and adding a few new items to set the mood you’re striving for. For instance, you can create a relatively simple and easy space to take on crafting projects with your toddler such as finger painting.
For less than $50 you can pick up a number of items that might work well in your sensory room such as:
- Lava lamps or other relaxing lighting
- Squishy pillows in all different shapes and sizes
- Weighted blankets
- Fidget toys
- Yoga balls
- Pop-up tents
- Sensory bottles
Remember, you also don’t have to dedicate a whole room to create a sensory place for your toddler. Small, safe places in the bedroom or in part of the living room can be enough to stimulate your child in the way you’re hoping to.
Sensory rooms can be a powerful means of helping your toddler explore the world and get the right kind of stimulus. Determining the right type of space for your child is the first step. After that, it is all about putting your thoughts into reality within a reasonable budget. Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities, and creating a wonderful sensory space is achievable for everyone!
About The Author:
Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for sustainability, psychology, DIY, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.