Archives For Equipment

There is an endless number of items, toys, games, and therapy equipment I would love to have, but like most people, space, money, and time are always a barrier.  I use to use a sensory tunnel during treatments when I worked in the clinic setting and it was a favorite of many of the kiddos I worked with.  I was inspired last week by one family I work with to copy their stretchy sensory tunnel and make my own.


A sensory tunnel can be used as a “heavy work” activity to help our proprioceptive input.  Proprioception is knowing where our body is in space.  Our muscles, joints, tendons, and connective tissue sends signals to our brain telling us where our body is in relation to other objects or people.  Since the sensory tunnel lays tight around the kiddo’s body as they crawl through, it provides a lot of proprioceptive input, as well as tactile input.

A sensory tunnel is made of stretchy material like Spandex or Lycra.  I found some Spandex material at our local JoAnn Fabric.  I have heard of others finding stretchy material on the clearance rack for as low as $1.oo per yard!  {I was not so lucky, but was able to use a 40% off coupon}.  I was told by a lady at a fabric store that polyester thread would be the most durable thread to use.  I also found some elastic thread, but we did not end up using it.   I do not have a sewing machine, so I went to my amazing mother’s house and she helped me make the tunnel. Here are the steps to making your own sensory tunnel:

  1. Buy 3-4 yards of stretchy material (such as Spandex)
  2. Fold your fabric in half long ways with the material inside out
  3. You may pin the fabric together, but we found that we were able to pin just the first 6 inches or so and then held it together with our hands and the foot on the sewing machine
  4. Determine how big you want the opening of your tunnel and sew length-wise down the entire length of fabric (I recommend approximately 20-30 inches in diameter – mine pictured is approx.. 25 inches)
  5. Trim any excess fabric
  6. Turn right side out
  7. Ta-Da! Tunnel complete!

DIY Sensory Tunnel  DIY Sensory Tunnel

We did not hem the ends of the fabric since we used Spandex which so far, doesn’t seem to fray.  Other material may need a hem.

To use your tunnel, hold one end of the tunnel open to help your child crawl through to the other end.  If your child is a little nervous to go inside, you may have a second person hold the other end so that they can see all the way through.  You could hide toys or stuffed animals inside for them to find or have them push a therapy ball through the tunnel for even more resistance.  Frequently, I have kids crawl through to retrieve puzzle pieces and put a puzzle together on the other side.

What other activities could you use for your tunnel?  Have you seen any good deals on fabric?  Let me know how your tunnel making experience goes!  


The purpose of this blog is to provide resources for parents who want to carry over therapy activities with their child at home.  The information provided here does not replace therapy or medical care provided by a qualified therapist or medical professional.    These activities are safe for most children.  However, some activities or materials may be inadvisable for children who have certain allergies or medical conditions.  It is recommended that you consult your child’s medical provider or therapist before engaging in the activities you have selected.  

I have parents ask me multiple times per week, “What are the best toys to buy for my child?” This was a question I frequently asked when I first started treating children as well.

When I was taking my NDT Certification Course, I wanted to explore all my instructors’ “suitcases of toys”. They always had the coolest gadgets to entertain the kids. Most of us would have at least 5+ activities or toys lined up because kids have pretty short attention spans, as we all know (especially those who have kids themselves). The instructors, on the other hand, could keep a child engaged for an entire hour session with just 1 small toy! I was always mesmerized by this and still to this day am always on the search for the perfect toys!

Of course it depends on the age of the child, but the following are 3 of my favorite toys (currently):

1. Flying Monkey

Flying Monkey

All of my kids LOVE the flying monkey! – I found this odd little toy being sold from a box at the register of a local gas station. This little monkey has stretchy arms and pockets on his hands where you place your fingers . . . pull back his feet and tail and off he flies across the room (of course with his super hero cape fluttering behind him). Once he lands, he makes loud monkey sounds (enter monkey screaming here). I use him to knock over towers we have built, to land in a bucket (add this to my previous bucket blog), or simply to walk across an obstacle course I’ve built.

2. Connect 4

Connect 4

This classic game I have found to be so handy to work on fine motor skills (pincher fingers), reaching up high to work on sitting or standing up tall (to place game piece in), to work on sit to stand (grab piece from floor, then stand to table to drop piece into game), trunk/back strength when played lying on belly and having to reach forward and up to place piece in game, etc. I use this with my older kids and my younger kids. My younger kids may not play the traditional game, but they love to fill it up and slide to watch them all crash down.

3. Bead Necklaces

Beads with Reacher

Cheap bead necklaces that you buy for parties are always a blast! With little girls, of course the obvious dress up always entertains. Boys like to use them as pirate treasure. I frequently use the beads to provide tactile input – I will roll the beads along a body part (the feet for example) when a child does not have a lot of body awareness of their feet. The child feels the beads on his feet and then I may have him reach with his feet to roll the beads toward him. I have used reachers to have the kids pick up the beads. They are perfect for working on reaching tasks to put a necklace on mom or on a doll.Beads with Lucy Doll

These are usually standard toys that you will always find at the bottom of my bag of tricks.

What are your favorite toys that keep kids motivated? Please share below in the comments. Thanks and have a great day!