I launched flexible seating in my classroom three years ago. There wasn’t really an “AH-HA” moment when I decided to make the switch…coming from a career in early childhood education, the use of flexible seating in my elementary classroom just seemed like a no brainer. With the help of Donors Choose projects, local grants, and my inability to put things back on the shelf once I’ve touched them in store, I’ve added a lot of my collection of seating options. Below are some of the options that I’ve gathered throughout the last couple of years along with links so you can add them to your classroom too!
These are an easy addition to any classroom. They are inexpensive and kids love them! I have these cushions from IKEA and for $3.99, I’m actually surprised at how well they’ve held up. They are now three years old, are used daily, and we’ve only had one casualty (and I’ll admit…it was my fault). If you don’t live near an IKEA, Five Below has a bunch of pillows and seat cushions for around the same price!
These are one of my kids absolute FAVORITE seating options and I need to buy more so they’ll stop fighting over them! They are actually memory foam bath mats from Amazon but they’re soft and provide some nice cushion for the kids when they’re working on the hard tile floor. Amazon sells a bunch of different sizes but I find that the 20”x32” are the perfect size for my third graders and are still easy to store. Check them out here. And as an added bonus, they’re machine washable! I’m not sure they’re technically supposed to go in the washing machine but I did last summer then set them on my deck to dry without any issues!
I bought these stools when shopping at IKEA a couple years ago. I don’t actually live near an IKEA and by that I mean I’m not even in the same state as IKEA so I grabbed a bunch of them because even if they didn’t hold up, the price was couldn’t be beat. My first year of teaching, I used these for seating at my small group table and I was honestly surprised that for $5, they were still standing at the end of the year. We’re on year three of using these and they’re sat on daily in our Makerspace. I’ve only had to tighten one loose screw so I’d say they were a good buy! Five Below has similar stools and I didn’t see a price but I’m going to guess that they are $5 a piece too.
Personally I don’t think these provide as much squish and comfort as the memory foam bath mats but my kids love them. Since they’re the ones who use them, it’s their opinion that matters! We use the Mayshine brand rugs. They’re soft, durable, and machine washable! They also come in a wide range of colors. You can grab them by clicking here!
This is one of the items that I’ve been DYING to have in my classroom but couldn’t afford to purchase myself. I started out by requesting five stools through a Donors Choose project last year and it was a great introduction for my class. This year, I was lucky enough to be awarded a grant that covered the cost of purchasing stools for all of my students. Since they all have a desk as their “home base”, they sit on these instead of regular chairs. Yes, they are expensive so it’s an investment but they last! You can often find me sitting on one during small group time. These 18″ stools from Amazon are the ones that I have.
So, when I said that everyone sits on a hokki stool at their desk instead of a chair, I didn’t exactly mean EVERYONE. I do have a handful of friends who either don’t use the stools appropriately, damaged their stool, or are too stimulated by the movement. These friends have regular chairs with bouncy bands attached. For classrooms that don’t have stools, I think these are a great option. They keep little feet busy and bodies focused. These are the ones that I requested through my Donors Choose project last year.
Yoga Ball Chair
Flexible seating isn’t just for kids, ya know! I have this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. yoga ball chair for my small group table and I love it so much that I’ve not only considered getting one for my desk but one for home too! As someone with knee/back/hip issues, I can’t say enough good things about the comfort of sitting in this chair!
These cushions are amazing and I can’t say enough good things about them. They were another item that I got through a Donors Choose project and not only are they great for flexible seating around the room but they are great for wiggly friends. One of my students carries a cushion around with to all specials and even lunch. It provides less wobble than the hokki stools but just enough that my friend can shift their focus from maintaining a still body to learning. I also love that they are incredibly durable and they don’t break the bank! Check them out here.
Who knew something so simple could bring so much joy to a classroom! I started out with a couple mats that I bought from Five Below for $5 a piece. A full sized yoga mat is great for an adult but honestly, they take up a lot of space and are really big for a third grader so I cut them in half. They’re now the perfect size for my students to sit or lay on. If you’re like me and don’t live near a Five Below (I stopped in to buy mine while on a trip), you can check out stores like Walmart, Target, and TJ Maxx. I also have these mats from Amazon that I ordered when I knew I needed more seating but didn’t have time to stop in at a store. I’ve noticed that both the Five Below and the Amazon mats have held up well and they’re both machine washable!
I will admit, these are not the only seating options in my classroom. You may be wondering why I didn’t write about the others but honestly, they aren’t my favorite and I don’t want to recommend something that I’ve tried and either didn’t love or haven’t had success with. I’m always looking to add more seating options for my students so if there is something that you love and I haven’t mentioned, let me know!