The Racine Public Library’s sensory room is a private, quiet room full of calming toys and tools like bubble tanks, cozy enclosures, tactile wall toys, sensory lights and more. It also includes a privacy screen and chair for nursing parents.
What is a sensory room?
A sensory room is a relaxing space with furniture, toys, gadgets and more to meet people’s unique sensory needs. Sensory rooms can be an educational or development space for children or cognitively disabled people. They can soothe an autistic person experiencing a meltdown. Or they can be a secure place for a person with trauma to relieve a flashback.
These are only examples — the room is open to anyone who would find it supportive. No matter the need, the sensory room is a safe space for emotional regulation and sensory stimulation.
Who can use the sensory room?
Anyone! We especially invite autistic people, disabled people, those with mental illness and parents and their young children to use the room.
- “Sensory Rooms Assist with Trauma Recovery” by Tasha Lehner
- “Rise of sensory rooms can help just about everyone” by The Press of Atlantic City
- “Sensory room helps preschoolers regulate brains and bodies” by Erin Albanese
Can you add something new to the sensory room?
Maybe! Send your suggestion to [email protected], and we’ll consider adding it to our next supply purchase.
What sensory activities can I do from home?
A lot of the items in our sensory room are available for purchase to have in your own home. There’s a lot of options for other sensory toys and activities for at home. Here’s a few links to explore!
Learning about different types of minds and needs is a constant journey. It’s also a great way to support yourself or loved ones in new ways. Here’s a few links to help:
- Sensory Room Binder: “Sensory Systems Information” (page 14)
Ways to figure out what senses need extra care with advice for ways to soothe or stimulate those senses.
- Identity-First Language
A look at the different ways to talk about autistic people, and why autistic people don’t prefer the wording “person with autism.”
- Start Here: A Guide for Parents of Autistic Kids (PDF)
A guide to autism, by autistic people, without stigma or negative messages.
- Meltdowns – a guide for all audiences
What is an autistic meltdown, and what do you do when you or a loved one has one?
What tools are in the sensory room?
Color-changing bubbles, moving fish and a gentle hum calm the eyes and ears.
Settle into this cozy little pod and swing around for motion and fun.
Follow your reflection around the mirror, and see what you notice!
A large, glowing, egg-shaped light that changes colors. It’s the perfect size for holding!
Gazing into this mirror is like looking down a long tunnel.
Fiber Optic Lights
These fiber optic lights are long enough to trail around the room.
Squeeze the soft, watery orbs throughout their clear pouches.
Roll, squeeze or stretch this gooey putty.
This hands-on wall board holds a bead maze, doors that open to different textures, moving gears and more.
Step, sit or jump on the tiles and watch the colors ooze.
Enjoy the soothing, rhythmic swaying of this chair.
Touch the wall light’s tiles to change the colors and patterns.
Watch the jellyfish toys float gently through their tank.
Noise Blocking Headphones
Block background noise with these big, comfy headphones.
Squish this sand-like, putty-like substance into different shapes.
The weight of this extra-heavy blanket is calming to sit or lay under.
A small, cozy tent that limits lights and noise.
Sink into the beanbag chair to feel cozy and comforted.
Rock back and forth in this plush chair to focus and move.
Step from piece to piece to feel the mats’ different textures.
This light makes wave patterns on the ceiling.
Find your favorite textures, visuals and sounds among the fidget toys in this kit.
See photos of these toys and tools and ideas for how to use them.
Book the Sensory Room
The sensory room is available for 45-minute reservations:
- Mondays — 9 a.m. to Noon, 4 to 7 p.m.
- Tuesdays — 1 to 5 p.m.
- Wednesdays — Noon to 6 p.m.
- Fridays — Noon to 3 p.m.
Outside these days and times, the sensory room can be used for urgent needs at the discretion of the library.
When you’re done with your session, ask the youth services desk about bringing home one of our fragrant oil samples!
To reserve the sensory room or ask about as-needed availability, stop by the youth services desk on the first floor, or call the library at (262) 636-9217.
Rules of Use
- Up to six people can be in the sensory room at a time.
- Reservations are only for the person who makes the reservation and any guests they name.
- Guests under 12 years old must have a parent or guardian with them.
- No food or drinks in the sensory room, except for dietary or medical needs.
- The room can’t be used for professional therapy without the approval of the library.
- Let a library worker know if any of the room’s contents are broken or not working.
- When you’re done in the room, please return it to the way you found it.
Want to see what other changes we’re making to the library to celebrate our 125th anniversary?