I often hear teachers speak about the challenges of small classrooms. Some parents also find their home area limited but they're still looking to create a sensory-friendly space or several micro-environments. Smaller spaces in classrooms, schools and homes can be more challenging to work with but they can still be set up to provide upregulating and downregulating options if they’re organized in a simple, streamlined and cohesive way. Kids do best in these space when they're explicitly taught how, when and why to use the available sensory tools. If our focus is on cultivating self-regulation, we want our children and students to learn more about themselves and what they personally need for calming down or revving up.
I created this space here a few years ago and although it's teeny tiny, I was able to include a stationary bike, some vertical sensory boards, a jumping ball, and building tools.
These types of exercise balls are a 2-for-1 and work perfectly in most spaces: they can be upregulating or downregulating, depending on needs & how they’re used.
I use pictograms absolutely everywhere because they can be so universal!! What are pictos? They're clear pictures that help people visualize simple information. Paired with simple language or on their own, pictos can be used for labels, instructions, and to represent more complex information. When in doubt, as you're communicating with your own kids or students, speak less and say more! Visuals can convey a thousand words and can help to reduce frustration created by any language or processing barriers.
In smaller spaces, it can be helpful to use vertical space because there's not usually much square footage. Here, I handmade a vertical interactive sensory board that kids can use while standing or sitting on a ball. While coordinating shoulder and arm movements in that position, kids have the opportunity to improve their strength, flexibility and dexterity all at once. Hand-eye coordination and fine motor control are also targeted with these boards as kids play with locks, beads, xylophone hammers, and gears.
We definitely made the most of every square inch of this tiny space! No corner was left strategically unused!