Sensory Retreat: Ikea Ekkore Swing

Pod Swing

Ikea Ekkore Swing

The Ikea Ekorre Swing is a great, affordable tool for creating a sensory retreat for your child.  During most of the day, I prefer to have the swing touching the floor, so that it doesn’t wobble and twist while your child is taking a break.  I’ve also tied a piece of fabric to cover the opening while allowing your child to easily get in and out.

Ikea Ekorre Swing

Ikea Efforre Swing with fabric square tied at the top to cover opening.

I suggest that an adult facilitates while the child is swinging on the Ekkore Swing.  If your goal is to help your child calm down, push them back and forth, in a rhythmical manner, without twisting or jerking the swing.  Very few kids are calmed by spinning in this passive swing.

For increased deep tactile and proprioceptive input, stuff the swing with the child’s favorite stuffed animals, bean bags, or blankets.

“Do It Yourself” Weighted Blanket

Instructions for homemade weighted blanket:

Genius!  I love this idea.

Weighted blankets are one of the most versatile sensory tools. Not only can they be used while sleeping, but as a lap pad while sitting at the table or in the car.  They also make great additions to sensory retreats (see previous post titled “sensory retreats” for more information).

Putting the blanket together may take some time, but it’s much cheaper than purchasing one from a company.  Some parents put their duct tape weighted blanket in a twin duvet cover or a pillow case for easy washing.

Sensory Activities for the Home

These handouts are perfect for giving parents an extended list of sensory activities that can be tried at home.

Observe your child’s response during and after, to determine which sensory activity has the best impact on your child.  Never insist on or force sensory activities.  You’ll most likely get the best results by modeling the activity and then responding to your child’s cues.

Meeting your child’s sensory needs is a dynamic processes, and requires some trial and error.  Don’t forget to have fun in the process!

Proprioceptive Input

Tactile Input

Vestibular Input

Spandex! An essential sensory tool.


The milliskin fabric is great for tunnels and body socks.

Lycra Tunnel

Lycra Tunnel


Homemade Body Sock



Body Sock with Joint Compressions


The moleskin fabric is great for your in home sensory swing. It is much thicker than other types of spandex, and stretches in four directions (4 way stretch) versus just two directions.

Lycra Swing

Lycra Swing

Lycra Swing

Lycra Swing


This lap snake was sown by a local mom. She explained that it really helps on car rides. The lap snake provides calming weight and can be used as a fidget. It has double layers of the thicker spandex lycra, is filled with rice, and double knotted at the end. This lap snake weighs approximately 10 lbs. and is used for a 7-year-old boy.



Breath Activities


My favorite go-to activity to help our little ones with regulation is Bubble Mountain. All you need is water, a straw, a container and a few pumps of dish washing soap.

I suggest placing the container on the floor and having children lie on their stomachs, resting on their elbow and forearms. This position stabilizes the upper trunk, which discourages upper trunk breathing. Movement in the belly is desired. Movement at the shoulder and collarbone is inefficient and fatiguing.

Just a few minutes of blowing can reset a child’s arousal state. Children of all ages love this activity.

Breath Activities

Breath Activities

Bubble Mountain

Bubble Mountain


Another great tool are soundless pipe whistles. Most whistles are loud, shrill and alerting. The soundless whistles are fun and calming.



Below is a fun Elmo video song called “Belly Breathe”.  Watch it with your little one and try modelling diaphragmatic (aka “belly breathing”) breathing next time your child has a high arousal state.


Safety Rotational Device

This rotational device will allow smooth rotary movement for indoor swings.  It costs more than the ones you’ll find in the hardware store. However, my experience is that the cheaper ones occasionally get stuck, which makes a loud, unexpected sound and creates choppy movement.  This type of sensory input is dysregulating, the opposite of our desired outcome.

Sensory Retreats


These suggestions by Angie Voss, OTR, are essential for every family with children who have sensory processing difficulties.

Sensory retreats allow children’s nervous systems to calm and reorganize.  They should be incorporated into the child’s routine several times a day.  I suggest scheduling sensory retreats before challenging activities, such as mealtimes, homework or bedtime.

Angie also highlights the importance of having a retreat from overwhelming sensory stimuli while out in the community. Follow the link for practical strategies.

Homemade Resistance Tunnel

The above link is detailed instructions to make a resistance tunnel by Angie Voss, OTR.

A resistance tunnel is a great (and affordable!) tool to provide organizing sensory input.

Please check out all of Angie Voss’s resources at  Her resources are amazing!

Lycra Tunnel

Lycra Tunnel