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Make your own weighted lap pads

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Jack is in Kindergarten and during circle time, he often gets up, wanders the room, and pulls things out of the bins. He has trouble staying seated in the group when he is not doing an activity. Jack is working on learning to wait and take his turn.

Some little tricks that help Jack, and may help some other kids are to have a weighted lap pad (like this one from Harkla), or a fidget to hold so that he can keep his hands and body occupied while he is sitting so that he can still be a part of the circle time. You could purchase a weighted lap pad, but they are also very easy to make. Depending on what you choose to make it with, the lap pad can also double as a fidget.

I like things to be simple to make, so items that the weight can be easily slipped into are the easiest. Some simple options are a car wash mitt (Amazon referral link for convenience), a large oven mitt, an un-stuffed dog toy (that you are supposed to put an empty water bottle in for the dog to play with), a neoprene laptop or tablet sleeve, and a pillow cover. I found a tablet sleeve and pillow cover with interesting mermaid fabric.

The car wash mitt has some great fabric on it that has a great texture to fidget with. The dog toy is soft and plush, and would give nice tactile sensation for fidgeting. The mermaid fabric on the tablet sleeve and pillow cover is great for fidgeting with.

To easily fill the items with some weight, I use zip lock bags (double bag) and fill them with poly pellets, rice, or beans. I also sealed the zip lock bags with duck tape to make sure that it won’t leak out. You can do several bags with even weight, or one big bag with weight. I use a postage scale to see how much weight I am putting into each bag. Make sure that you get all of the air out when you seal the bags. These bags are not as large as a commercial lap pad, but can be an economical way to do a trial and see if a weighted lap pad would be helpful.

Some benefits to using weighted items:

  • The weight can have a calming effect
  • Mild proprioceptive input
  • a fidget/something to hold onto gives security

 

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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.
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