Whether you are building a sensory room on a budget or not, your sensory room ideas need to incorporate items that will be the most beneficial for the users who will be occupying the room. In order to understand which types of items would most useful, you need to think of the abilities of the user and how they respond to sight, sound, touch and smell. The last thing you want is to make a user feel uncomfortable in a space or fill it with sensory products which won’t help them to develop particular skills associated with their abilities. Once you have successfully researched and understood how users respond to these senses, then you can begin to grow your sensory room ideas on a budget if required.
There is no doubting that sensory equipment can be expensive, particularly if you are designing an entire sensory space. There are some pieces of equipment and specific sensory rooms that do require more money to be spent, so the users can really feel the benefit fully of the space. However, we also have some suggestions as to how you can create a sensory space that works within your budget and is also valuable to the user.
Soft play and ball pits are the perfect way to develop physical skills in a safe and comfortable environment, encouraging the exploration of touch whilst users have fun. In addition, when used with others, communication skills can also be allowed to grow. If you haven’t got the budget or space for an interactive ball pit or large ball pit, although very beneficial for groups, then don’t worry. A paddling pool can be a great low-budget option if you have only one or two users at a time occupying it, all you need to do is blow it up to fill with ball pool balls!
Although sensory lights such as bubble tubes and fibre optics are beneficial due to their combination of encouraging touch and visual engagement, if you want to focus mainly on just the visual, there are some low budget options. Many of us still have some useful products tucked away in our lofts or garages, in the form of lava lamps, Christmas twinkly lights and even those portable multicoloured disco balls. These can really help provide the visual stimulation many users need, as well as providing a soothing effect for many, too.
Providing a sense of calm is essential for many users, particularly before bedtime or when they are experiencing symptoms of their abilities. The use of soft textiles can be very effective when it comes to creating this type of sensory room on a budget. Using the fluffiest blankets and rugs you can find, paired with big pillows and glow in the dark/neon sticks for a sensory ceiling effect, you can create the perfect sensory corner for a user.
The benefits sensory pools and sensory bathrooms can bring to users, particularly those with physical disabilities are truly outstanding. Therefore, we would advise that if you were to spend a little more on anything, it would be this. There are accessories you can incorporate into a bathroom and hydrotherapy, such as floats and soothing music to help complement the calm of the water. But we would recommend, where possible, introducing a sensory bathroom and sensory pool in its fullest form.
We have found in the past that many fundraising ventures can provide amazing results, meaning that users can really get the most beneficial use from any sensory room or space. For more information on how you can fundraise, fill in a template we have already prepared to help you start a fundraising venture, then please follow the link to our fundraising page. Human nature never ceases to amaze us and many experiences can be truly life-changing for those taking part in the activity, as well as users who benefit from the funds raised.