My son loves to push, sift, throw, and rifle through things. When we go to the beach, he tumbles through the sand until he’s covered in grit. He loves the sound and the feeling of it, I guess. Many children with Autism have sensory needs, and his needs include both tactile stimulation and auditory defensiveness, among other things. We won’t go into talking about vestibular and proprioceptive responsiveness today–that’s just too much. But, this summer Squeaker receives compensatory services through the school system and the school we’ve gone to this week has this ball pit in it and he loves it. He gravitated to it immediately, so I thought, “I can make that!” It calmed him down, it allowed him to get out his energy, and he got to push things around. Perfect!
If you think it’s hard to make, you’re wrong. It’s totally easy.
- Cheap plastic swimming pool
- 100-pack of plastic balls
- Other balls of any variety (if you want to add more – I added some soft ones and squishy ones so he’d have a variety of sensory experiences)
- Put the pool wherever you want it (on a flat surface)
- Cut open the bag of balls and dump it in the pool
- Put the other balls in the pool
- YOU’RE DONE!
The beauty of the ball pit? All children will love it. I’m sure you’ve been to those play house in fast food restaurants where they have the inflatable rooms with all the balls in it and the kids all go nuts. Well, why not just make one and put it in your house and not have 50 kids jumping on your kid? I originally made this ball pit for Squeaker, but then his brother saw it and lost his mind in it. For the first time in about a week, they played together. Totally worth it.
I spent less than $10.00 on the pool and $11.00 on the bag of balls at Walmart and you can go to the dollar store and get two-packs of squishy balls.
As a result, my son gets to take sensory breaks in his room as frequently as he needs. In his words, “This is beautiful,” he says, “I like it.”