How to Make a Sensory Play Space: Tadhg’s sensory room.

Children who are visually impaired often remain restricted in their movement and use of space. A play space can encourage children to reach, explore and develop spacial awareness.

The basic idea behind a play space is that you create a predictable environment where your child can manipulate toys and feel free to explore. A play space can be small (like a small box or corner in a room), it can be part of your child's everyday space (like a special insert on their wheelchair tray) or it can be big (like a large box they can crawl into or a large area on a wall).

When creating a play space, think about what sort of development you're trying to encourage. For example, if you want to encourage your child to stand, try creating a wall of toys that they can stand next to and play with. If, on the other hand, you're trying to encourage your baby to reach out and touch things, maybe start with a small box that they can lay in with toys dangling above their head.

You can also create a playspace on your child's body, with play vests or blankets or even by tying an object to your child's wrists or ankles. This is a great first play space idea for babies!

photo of colourful ball pit and lights

Tadhg’s under the stair sensory room.

Tamsin, Tadhg’s mum, really made the most of the space when she built Tadhg’s sensory room, a.k.a. “Harry Potter’s room” since it’s under the stairs.

She painted the walls black, she has put some disco lights and fairy lights on the walls; and then she added his favorite toys: a ball pool, some noisy toys, and some textured toys.

It’s really important to always leave the toys in the same position and if you decide to change them to show the kid the new toys that are in. 

What is it for?

The sensory play area is designed to...

  • encourage reaching
  • teach spatial awareness
  • improve muscle tone in arms
  • encourage vocalization
  • teach object permanence
  • teach babies that they can manipulate their environment, rather than wait to be manipulated by it.

The most important rule about play space is that you are the person than knows best your child, so enjoy yourself while you are building it, it’s going to be a work of art and love.