Materials required:

  • Standard Size Pillow Case
  • Duct Tape
  • 2-Cup Measuring Cup
  • 8 Cups Birdseed, Dry Rice, or Polyethylene Pellets (Bean Bag Fill Pellets)
  • Large Mouth Funnel
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Marker or Chalk
  • Glue Gun (2 -3 Sticks of Glue)


*If you sew, you can use stitching wherever the instructions mention “glue”.

  1. Measure out about 12 inches from closed end and draw a line. You can adjust this for smaller or larger laps! Make sure you are giving extra length beyond the lap size so that you can fold over the edge and seal. 
  2. Cut across the line. You can use the left over fabric to make bean bags or another lap pad if you seal the other end.
  3. Turn the pillow case inside out and draw three or more straight lines. This will help you form “tunnels” and will help to even out where the filling goes. It is not absolutely necessary, but it does help to even out the distribution of the weight.
  4. Turn the pillow case back (right side out) and quickly form a thick line of glue onto the drawn line and press down to seal the two sides together. Continue this with the rest of the lines. You may need to have someone help to keep the pillow case open while you are doing this.
  5. Fill each tube with 1-2 cups of filling that you chose depending upon how heavy you want the final product to be.
  6. Seal across with glue, fold over the fabric and seal again, being careful to seal to the ends so filling does not leak from corners (you can fold over and glue the corners here to help with that).
  7. Fold over one more time and seal with decorative duct tape.


Weighted lap pads are a great alternative to weighted vests. They’re much easier to put on and off, and you don’t need to worry about having the perfect size. Plus, children who demonstrate tactile defensiveness when it comes to clothing may be more willing to try a lap pad. 

Weighted lap pads can be used during circle time for those students who demonstrate difficulties paying attention and sitting still. The idea of the weighted lap pad is that it provides the user with proprioceptive input. (Schaaf, R. & Mailloux, Z, 2015) Proprioceptive input provides “organizing sensations” that can help with dampening sensory hyperreactivity. Input can also help the child orient and respond to sensations to which they are hyporeactive.

The authors state that the intensity, duration and quality of these sensory experiences can determine whether the input has an alerting or calming effect. Treatment for a variety of sensory processing differences involves providing proprioceptive information, including treatment for: decreased discrimination of vestibular and proprioceptive information, decreased discrimination of tactile information, somatodyspraxia, tactile defensiveness and gravitational insecurity (Nackley, 2001).

Lin H., Lee, P., Chang W., & Hong, F., (2014) found that (although not a cure-all of attention deficits) the deep pressure input provided by weighted vests improved three aspects of attentional performance (inattention, speed of processing and responding, and consistency of executive management) and three types of on-task behaviors (off task, out of seat, fidgets). 

More Resources:

EBS - DIY Weighted Lap Pad Instructions PDF
Sensory-Based Data Collection Sample Data Sheet PDF


Nackley, V. L. (2001, March). Sensory diet applications and environmental modifications: A winning combination. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 24, 1–4.

Koomar, J., & Bundy, A. (1991). The art and science of creating direct intervention from theory. In A. Fisher, E. Murray, & A. Bundy (Eds.), Sensory integration theory and practice (pp. 251–314). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis.

Schaaf, R., & Mailloux, Z. (2015). Clinician’s Guide for Implementing Ayres Sensory Integration: Promoting Participation for Children with Autism. 

Lin, H., Lee, P., Chang, W., & Hong, F. (2014) Effects of Weighted Vests on Attention, Impulse Control, and On-Task Behavior in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. AJOT, 68, 149-158.

Updated: 4/1/2016

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