Creative teacher designs tennis ball chairs for her students to increase their sensory perception… The results were amazing!

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By NTD Newsroom
February 23, 2017Stories
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Creative teacher designs tennis ball chairs for her students to increase their sensory perception… The results were amazing!

When a teacher was browsing Pinterest, she came across a brilliant idea – to make tennis ball sensory chairs for her students. The effect was amazing!

Teachers have one of the most difficult jobs in the world; it involves being good at multiple tasks all at the same time. It’s not sufficient to simply master a subject and teach a topic. A teacher also has to develop a knack for being sensitive to her student’s needs and how they learn best.

tennis ball chairs

Raymond Ellis Elementary School

For many teachers, it becomes part of their life to think of new ways to reach their students. When Amy Maplethorpe, an elementary school teacher in Round Lake, Illinois, came across an idea to help her students concentrate better in class and calm down, she grabbed the idea and went ahead to design it.

Tennis balls are sometimes used for covering the bottom of chair legs to prevent scratches in the flooring, but this new idea of using discarded tennis balls is designed to help children with sensory issues.

tennis ball chairs in classroom

Wikimedia / Sam Howzit

Amy teaches at Raymond Ellis Elementary School in the speech and language department. After creating this tennis ball chair and trying them out, she found them to be extremely beneficial for her students to help them keep focused.

The school was grateful for Amy’s creation and posted the idea on their Facebook page, including instructions on how to make the chairs.

“Sensory seating is used for students who may have difficulty processing information from their senses and from the world around them,” the school wrote.

“Tennis balls on the seat and backrest provide an alternative texture to improve sensory regulation. Students with autism spectrum disorder, Down’s syndrome, sensory processing disorder, etc. may benefit from this seating option. “

Not all students have shown results, but Amy has certainly noticed improvements in many students of all different ages and with special needs.

“First-grade students that have used the chair have become more patient and have followed directions,” Amy told the Huffington Post.

She is mainly targeting 1st grade children, but some of her older students also seemed to respond well to sensory chairs.

elementary school classroom

Wikimedia / frwl

The school’s Facebook page has received lots of attention from people who love the idea and can’t wait to try it out.

“Thank you for such a high interest in the tennis ball chairs,” the school wrote in their Facebook page. “It’s exciting to hear that they could benefit students across the world!”

“I’m really excited that this has taken off and I’m really excited to see the benefits for students across the country, and educators and parents,” Amy said.

Here are the simple instructions for making a DIY tennis ball chair as shared by the school’s Facebook page:

The materials used to make the chairs included: a chair, tennis balls, fabric, Mod Podge, paintbrush/paint sponge, and hot glue.

First, take a chair and Mod Podge the seat and backrest, and then place fabric over it.

Next, Mod Podge over the fabric and wait for it to dry, which takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Then, hot glue halved tennis balls cut in half to the seat and backrest.

When that dries, hot glue the excess fabric underneath the seat and behind the backrest to give it an ‘upholstered’ look.

It may also be helpful to hot glue around the tennis balls one more time for an extra hold. And with that, the chairs are done. Happy creating!

The tennis ball chair has already shown many benefits. Perhaps you would like to give it a try too!

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