Quick, Cheap, & Interactive: Sensory Lights!

Quick, easy, interactive sensory lights for under $20

Inexpensive Sensory Lights.

UPDATE: Honwell now also has remote-controlled puck lights with 16 color options for $25. If you are looking for more colors, this might be the way to go but do notice that they are not “tap on/off” with ALL of the colors available. They are remote-controlled to get every color which could limit some therapeutic applications. They do still tap on/off for the main 4 colors. Honwell was kind enough to send us some of these to check out and we LOVE them as well. As a bonus, the remote for these also works on our bubble tube (see review)!

4 Pillars: Communication: Below you will find affiliate links, by clicking on one of these and making a purchase, Spark Therapies receives a small percentage as a commission at no additional cost to you. The commissions earned from these posts are used to fund more projects to improve the clinic, community programs like art and improvisation and/or help cover therapy services for kids who need them if their family cannot afford the cost.

As many of you know, we are big on integrating sensory experiences and therapy techniques into both our Occupational and Speech therapy sessions. As a result, having a fun and interactive darkroom (we call it our “sensory cave”) is critical. We currently have a fantastic bubble tube (see my review of it here), two blacklights, a fiber optic waterfall, and an aurora light. Our kiddos love to tell their therapist what colors to make them and pick what other lights are on/off in the space.

I was looking for another interactive feature (namely more sensory lights) to add to our sensory darkroom but I wanted it to be easy for our clients to manipulate themselves and stumbled across the HONWELL Touch Light Wireless Tap Lights while on one of my (daily) Amazon explorations.

Features.

These change multiple colors (white, red, green, blue) and are dimmable when pressed and held. They are relatively large and let out a lot of light so kids have an easy time seeing them and pressing them to change the color and brightness to meet their wants/needs for the space. The button to change/turn off the lights is not difficult to press down so a lot of strength isn’t needed (which is great for the littles we work with).

We chose to stagger these little puck-shaped sensory lights so kids of different ages and sizes can use them and having to reach to reach some of the high or lower ones helps strengthen muscles and develop motor planning for occupational therapy. These are also great for working on color identification, using phrases like “more” or “less” for the light intensity, and expressive language skills (like asking for a specific color or sequence) during speech therapy and can be used for a ton of other activities like multi-step directions, counting, coordination and more. The number one reason we wanted these is for their value as a tool for sensory integration therapy.

Each takes 3 batteries (so be prepared for that!) but so far these have lasted just fine despite daily use and having been left on overnight a few times (oops!).

Cost.

The best part? They are under $20 for a 4 pack!

Concerns.

I was initially concerned about the durability as some of the kids we see play a little rough but these have held up fantastically for the past few months we’ve had them, even with constant use!

I was also worried about how to attach them to the wall. What if we wanted to move them, or remove them altogether later on? We stuck them right to the wall using the included 3M adhesive circles and none have fallen (or been ripped) off. I feel pretty good about using the 3M adhesive products because they are designed not to damage the surface they are stuck to and we have had great luck with similar products around the clinic. I will update this if and when we ever do need to fully remove one, just in case!

Lack of color options was another concern for these sensory lights as our bubble tube has a wider variety of colors and we don’t want kids getting bored with the limited options (See Update at the top about the remote-controlled Honwell lights with MORE color options). We are happy with the colors as they are and, most importantly, the kids we treat adore them.

What you can do with them.

These are best used in a dim or dark space. A closet or the wall of a bedroom with the lights off works well. Because they are hung up with 3m tape, you shouldn’t damage the walls. And you can always move them if the first spot isn’t exactly what you were looking for or if one is too high for your child to reach.

Speech.

As I mentioned before, having kids request and name colors is a fantastic way to practice both color identification and expressive/receptive language skills. You can also use these to teach different emotions; i.e. How do you feel if you are red? Angry? How do you feel if you are blue? Sad? Make sure that whatever game you use or invent while working with these, you ask as many open-ended questions as possible. Open-ended questions are ones that need more than a simple yes-no answer. Having children answer these is a great boost to language development.

You can also introduce some simple multi-step directions (if your child is old enough for these developmentally!). Request they turn one on and then another, being specific in which ones are used. A great way to start working up to bigger multi-step directions is to think of something that typically has several “micro” steps. Putting on your shoes could be broken down into: pull on socks, pull on shoes, tie shoes. With these lights, you can have them put colors in specific sequences, dim different lights from low to bright, and so on.

Occupational Therapy.

Having a child physically press the lights works on motor planning and fine motor skills. It builds planning skills to decide on the light to press and what order to press them in. Then they must use multiple muscle groups reach out and fully press it or press it multiple times to achieve the desired color.

The verdict.

We love these as sensory lights and so do the kiddos we work with! You cannot beat such a low price for something that is so easy to use with so many applications.

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