Inside you’ll find: The benefits of sensory swings, what swings are best for different sensory needs, and the best sensory swings for every need.
When your child has sensory needs, it can be hard to know what sensory activities and tools will be the most beneficial without breaking the bank.
While there are plenty of ways to get sensory input with zero equipment, or even the furniture in your own house, it can be worthwhile to have a couple sensory toys at home that deliver multiple sensory benefits.
Sensory swings would have to be at the top of the list.
What are the Benefits of Sensory Swings
Sensory swings offer considerable vestibular input as well as proprioceptive input. Vestibular input comes from the inner ear and relates to movement. Depending on the direction of the movement, it can be calming or alerting. Surprisingly, the best sensory input to help kids regulate all their sensory needs is one that most folks have never heard of, proprioception. Proprioceptive input No matter
Since most sensory kids have multiple needs, sensory swings are a great way to multitask!
Types of Vestibular Input and a Caution
The body can move on all sorts of planes and directions and each one can affect a child differently.
You can move from side to side like how tired parents swing their babies from side to side, front to back like in a rocking chair, rotary, like spinning in circles, diagonal or straight vertical, as well as being still but inverted.
Kids may like some movements and avoid others. That’s one of the reasons vestibular is so very tricky. But in general, rocking and side to side motion is calming while spinning is alerting (which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for seekers) And usually inversion helps with regulation.
CAUTION: Vestibular input is extremely fickle! Follow your child’s cues, including their non-verbal ones. They may enjoy spinning and be giggling and begging for more when suddenly it’s like a flipped switch and everything changes. Be ready to change immediately. Watch for facial expressions and body language or tension because often times kids can’t verbalize in the moment.
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Platform Sensory Swings
Highly affordable swing that kids can sit, stand or lay flat on (prone position). It’s highly directional (only front to back or side-to-side).
This swing is the gold standard in most occupational therapy gyms. It’s carpeted for comfort and can move in any direction smoothly.
Additional Prone Sensory Swings
This simple swing is for the ultimate sensory seeker! Many kids will love the webbing giving extra tactile input along with the trunk workout required to stay in the prone position.
If you can only get one swing, I’d suggest this one! This swing can move in every direction and offer the safe feeling of the fabric enclosing your child in a safe nest.
These swings are fantastic for proprioceptive seekers. Kids weight pulls the fabric tight around them providing all sorts of sensory benefits while giving the opportunity to get plenty of vestibular input too!
While a bunch of the swings on this list qualify as spinners, this swing will rotate smoothly and the round platform will help kids feel secure.
Outdoor Sensory Swings
This swing helps kids develop muscle tone while moving around. Their core has to work hard even while their grip improves. (Note: this swing could even improve your child’s handwriting!)
Similar to the previous swing, but with the added benefit of being a climbing rope!
For the ultimate sensory seekers, look no further. Not only do kids develop their arm strength while getting vestibular input, they can even swing with their head inverted! Major plus!
Indoor Sensory Swings
Ultimate in comfort. Great for kids to use while reading a book or for those with poor muscle tone.
This kit has a bunch of options to get vestibular and proprioceptive input right in the door frame of your own home!
How cool is this swing? If your child is resistant to swings, maybe having someone else join them will make it irresistible! (Remember, never force sensory input ESPECIALLY vestibular input!)
Well-padded platform swing that can handle more than one kiddo!