As a mom to children with sensory processing disorders, I am always looking for new tools to equip my children to help them cope with the world around them.
I have children who are sensory seekers and children who are sensory avoiders.
Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to find affordable products that meet their needs.
Thankfully, I am learning to be creative, and I am finding that many tools can be created from everyday products around us.
Recently, my little girl has been having trouble sitting in church.
She squirms all over the place and takes off running laps when she gets the chance.
She enjoys being held and squeezed tight, but my husband and I aren’t always available to provide her with this input for the entire length of time she needs to sit still.
She enjoys playing with small toys and uses them to stim, but sometimes she throws them without warning.
As I was brainstorming all these issues, I decided she needs something weighted that we can attach to some of her toys with the option of switching them out.
A pillow animal seemed like the perfect thing to make into a weighted lap mat.
It is an ideal size, can be filled with quite a bit of weight, and is still compact enough to not be obnoxious.
Then, I searched for a way to attach her toys to the pillow’s back so she couldn’t throw them; for this, I found coiled keychains that worked perfectly.
Here is how to create your own weighted lap pad to which you can attach small toys/sensory fidgets:
You will need:
- Pillow Animal
- 3-6 coil keychains with a clip on one end
- Sewing needle
- Dry beans (or other weighted filler)
What to do:
- Cut a small slit along a seam in a discreet location on the pillow animal’s main body and remove all the stuffing. Set the stuffing aside.
- Remove the rings from the coil keychains
- Choose how many keychains you would like to attach. Choose what locations on the top of the pillow animal you would like to attach the coils. Hand sew each keychain onto each chosen location through the last loop (on the opposite end of the clip). Use LOTS of stitches and check frequently to make sure the keychain is being firmly attached.
- After you have attached all the keychains you desire, pour dry beans into the hole in the pillow animal until a desired weight (not fullness) is reached. You do not have to use beans—you could also use rice, gravel, beads, etc. Once the pillow animal has reached the weight you desire (our pillow animal is around 9 pounds), place as much of the stuffing back into the pillow animal as you wish. Less stuffing will make for a floppier lap pad that molds to the child’s legs more and may fold easier. More stuffing will offer a stiffer, more cushioned lap pad.
- Sew the hole in the pillow animal tightly closed with stitches that are close together. You can do this by hand or with a sewing machine.
- Attach desired toys to the keychains on the pillow animal’s back and place the finished lap pad on child’s lap for grounding weight and comfort.