Sensory processing is when a child has difficulties organizing information he or she has gathered through the senses. This can impact a child’s every day life, in and out of the classroom.
I am all in when it comes to providing my students with sensory breaks throughout the day. And there certainly are days when my students crave and need more sensory integration that others.
It’s the moments like these that it is important to have a basket (or entire closet) full of tricks.
Mermaid fabric is really popular right now because… well, it’s pretty stinkin’ cool.
One day I was walking through WalMart I noticed these pillows. I was drawn to them… and I couldn’t stop running my hand across the sequins.
My immediate thought (after “I just want to play with this all day”) was sensory integration and “how can I use this in the classroom?”
Weight lap pads are great for community based trips, in the resource and inclusion settings, and are great for use at home in any family setting. They are discrete (they make no noise and draw no attention to the child), yet soothing to students who exhibit sensory seeking behaviors.
And this is where my new DIY Mermaid Lap Pads are going to come into play!
Links are affiliate links provided for your ease of shopping. Supplies can also be purchased at WalMart.
Because you want to let the Liquid Stitch dry for an adequate amount of time, I start with this part.
Grab 2 washcloths and your Liquid Stitch to get started.
Be generous with your Liquid Stitch. You want it to work! Don’t forget to leave a small opening (don’t LS around the entire perimeter).
Then plan the second washcloth on top of the first.
Now set this aside and let it dry for about an hour, or until you feel as though it is dry.
Next, you will move on to getting the mermaid pillows ready.
If you have a small pair of scissors, they will work best at picking the seam on one side of the pillow.
With any pillow, there will be the inside seam (that you can’t see) and a partial outside seam (that the factory uses to stuff the pillow and seal it up… kind of like what you’re going to do).
You want to find this small outside seam and open it up.
The first little bit will be difficult to get started, but then it will just come undone as you clip the string holding it together.
Keep going until you open the entire outside seam of the pillow.
Take about 60% of the stuff out of the pillow and set it aside.
I stored the excess pillow stuffing in a grocery bag. You’ll want to do this too, (1) so it doesn’t make a mess in your room, and (2) because you’ll need some of it later.
Complete this step to as many pillows as you will be making into lap pads.
You can continue when your washcloth “bags” are finished drying.
Liquid Stitch says to let it sit for 30 minutes or so, but I let it sit for about an hour since I was super generous.
I checked the washcloths to make sure they were officially “stuck together” before putting any rice inside of the new “bag”.
I cut the corner off of one 5lb. bag of rice. I only cut the corner because I didn’t want the rice to come out too fast and spill everywhere.
After you put the entire 5 pounds of rice inside of the washcloth bag, it will look something like this.
Time for some more Liquid Stitch! I was still generous with the LS in the opening.
Then I squeezed the opening together and let it sit upright like this until it was dry.
Again, LS says to dry for about 30 minutes or so, but I let it sit for about an hour. I don’t want rice falling out inside of the lap pad.
Continue to the next step once your washcloth rice bag is completely dry and sealed.
Once the washcloth bag is completely sealed shut, you can put it inside of the mermaid pillow.
This part is really fun… manipulating 5 pounds of rice to fit it inside the pillow… 🙂
After you get the washcloth bag to fit inside of the pillow, add some more stuffing back into the pillow.
You’re definitely not going to put all of the pillow stuffing back in. I played around with it a lot, and just made sure that I couldn’t feel the bag of rice inside of the pillow.
Then I used the Liquid Stitch to seal up the pillow opening.
I let this sit overnight with the chip clips on the seal. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to come apart.
Now these two mermaid weighted lap pads are ready for my kids to use when the school year comes.
For my students, these weighted lap pads will be used during instructional time and during our daily motor lab time. Not only will the weight lap pad act as a calming weight, but the mermaid fabric of the pillow will act as a fidget to keep fingers and hands engaged during lessons, which will increase attention and focus on the task at hand.
They will be instructed on appropriate and inappropriate behaviors when using the weighted lap pads, as with any other sensory input or output device or fidget.