Cheap Flexible Seating Ideas that Will Help You Get Started

Flexible Seating.  You have probably heard about it or seen it while scrolling through Instagram and seeing all those beautiful alternative seating options.  You are probably also thinking, "OMG, I can't afford THAT!", just like I was.  Well, you CAN start with flexible seating options in your classroom right away without a lot of money invested.  I am sharing how you can get started and 5 cheap, flexible seating options that you can try.

Have you wanted to try flexible seating in your classroom but don't what to spend a fortune?  This post will show you how to get started with flexible seating in your classroom using inexpensive items you may already have.  It also provides helpful tips about management strategies and an anchor chart to get started.

Why Flexible Seating? Questions to Ask Yourself

First off, before you decide to try something like flexible seating, which seems to be one of the newest trends (fads) in education, you need to ask yourself 2 questions:

1.  Is this something I would like to try because I think it is best for my students?

2.  Is this something I think I should try because it is the next big thing and I should do it too?  

I did start flexible seating this past year in my classroom, and I'm happy to say that I'm really pleased with the outcome.  I do need to preface this by saying I did not go to Walmart and buy scoop rockers or order yoga balls or wobble seats.  I didn't go out and spend money on new furniture for my classroom.  

I was able to start flexible seating in my classroom with what I had (and what you most likely have, too) and a few small purchases.

Where do you start once you have Decided to Try Flexible Seating? 

The first thing I did was determine where my kids were going to work. When I think of flexible seating, I'm thinking about different seating possibilities within the classroom and not necessarily different kinds of seating.

As a class, we talked about different places we could work in the classroom aside from our own desks. My students came up with spots like working on the carpet, working under their tables, standing up at their tables, laying on the floor, and using the clipboards to work any place in the classroom.

I have no plans to give up our desks/tables - I consider that our "home base" where everything is stored and has a home.  Many of my kids prefer a desk and chair, and I have a large room so I can comfortably accommodate my desks and other options. 

Setting Expectations for Flexible Seating

The next step was to create an anchor chart that we could refer to when starting out using different workspaces. This is the most crucial step in the whole process. You need to establish very concrete expectations about what it looks like to work in various places in the classroom. If your first graders are anything like mine, they will pick spots based on where their friends are sitting.
  
Have you wanted to try flexible seating in your classroom but don't what to spend a fortune?  This post will show you how to get started with flexible seating in your classroom using inexpensive items you may already have.  It also provides helpful tips about management strategies and an anchor chart to get started.

Well, let me tell you the anchor chart works! We call our spots our "Smart Spots."  Some of the benefits I have seen with flexible seating.
  • Students know what the expectations are and know that they will lose their smart spot if they are not making good choices. 
  • My students were staying on task a lot longer than before.  I believe this is due to the power of choice.  Let them pick where to work, and they will stay engaged longer.  

Cheap Flexible Seating Options!

All of the items pictured were super cheap or free!  Some of the pillows I already owned, and the others are from a thrift store.  The foam tiles were leftovers from my own children's playroom.  As you have guessed, thrift stores are a great place to start!  

It is important to remember: 


Flexible seating is about the options you give your students rather than the furniture you provide.  


My students were happiest when they could lay on the carpet or sit on the bench by the coat hooks with a clipboard.  

What are your thoughts on flexible seating?  Love it?  Haven't tried it? I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts.

Take a moment to pin this post!

Have you wanted to try flexible seating in your classroom but don't what to spend a fortune?  This post will show you how to get started with flexible seating in your classroom using inexpensive items you may already have.  It also provides helpful tips about management strategies and an anchor chart to get started.


Until next time, 

5 comments

  1. Great ideas! About 5 years ago I took the lower adjustable legs off one of my tables to convert it to a "coffee table" for students to sit on the floor and work at. They love it and there is no cost. I put tennis balls on the bottom of the legs to protect the floor and make it easier to move when needed.

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    1. That is a great idea! Thanks for sharing it and for checking out the blog post. Christina

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  2. This is bang on with how I feel. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely be using that anchor chart!

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! I am glad that you found the post helpful. I am sure you will have great success with the anchor chart in your classroom.

      Thanks for checking out my blog!
      Christina

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  3. I am beginning flex seating with my eighth graders. I appreciate the honesty and helpfulness. Thank you

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