December 5, 2023

Heavy work centers in a special education classroom are where you can do activities that require some effort, such as pushing or pulling.

HEAVY WORK CENTERS AND WHAT TO PUT IN THEM

But what do you put in them and why are they important for special education students?

Discover the toys and manipulatives that work well in a heavy work center and why you should consider adding one to your classroom.


Why have a heavy duty center

Some children in special education need additional activities to help them use their strengths. These activities, such as pushing and pulling, help them build muscle.

Heavy work centers also help develop children’s fine motor skills. By pushing and pulling objects, they can strengthen their hands, wrists and fingers, helping them complete activities that require more dexterity.

Heavy work centers can also help improve coordination and balance by providing activities that engage both sides of the body.

In addition, hard work centers can offer sensory integration activities that benefit children with special needs. Activities such as pushing and pulling weighted objects can help stimulate a baby’s sense of touch, sight and sound. This, in turn, can help calm the child and help them regulate their senses. In many ways, a heavy workstation can be seen as an active calming corner, as it often has the same effects for some students.

By creating an environment filled with different types of materials and textures, these activities help children interact with their environment and become more aware of their bodies and their surroundings.

Centers of hard work in the special education classroom also provide an opportunity for social interaction among students. By engaging with each other in these activities, children can practice communication and problem-solving skills.

This not only helps them academically, but also prepares them for future interactions with their peers outside of the classroom setting.

What to put on a heavy duty workstation

This article contains affiliate links to products that can help you in the classroom.

A heavy work center in a special classroom is an ideal place for children to engage in activities that require some physical effort and coordination, such as pushing and pulling. Things that go to the center must therefore provide them with these opportunities.

Toys and manipulatives that work well in a heavy work center include:

For outdoor hard work centers, you can provide students with:

The activities that can be done at this station are great for strengthening coordination and gross motor skills, such as solving puzzles and hand-eye coordination.

Pull-ups, pull-ups, and tug-of-war are also great activities to include in a heavy work center located in a large space or outdoors!

Regulation of sensory input

Heavy work centers also help develop a child’s sense of balance and control over body movements. When used correctly, they can even provide a calming effect.

By using hard work materials in the classroom, children with special needs can learn the skills they need to be successful in school while regulating their need for sensory input.

Since a heavy work center can also provide tactile stimulation and sensory integration exercises, it is important to include these items as well.

Materials used in this station can provide calming input, such as soft fabrics or weighted blankets, or stimulating activities, such as finger knitting and squishy balls. Tactile activities are ideal for helping children develop their sense of touch and can even help with motor planning skills.

Centers for hard work in special classrooms can play an important role in a child’s development by providing both physical and tactile stimulation and enabling children to self-regulate.


Overall, the heavy duty workstation is an invaluable resource for any special education classroom. It provides movement activities to strengthen motor skills, tactile materials to stimulate the senses, and sensory integration techniques that are essential to a child’s development. Due to their variety of uses, heavy work centers can be an important part of any special education classroom.

What are some of your favorite things to include in a heavy duty work center? What do your students like to use the most? Share your ideas with us below!

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