Back-to-school supply shopping is looking very different for a lot of families this year, including ours. With many of kids doing some form of remote learning, those kids’ families are converting or adjusting study spaces in their homes to help accommodate this change in learning routines. Our kids A (fourth grade) and W (first grade) each bring their own set of challenges to this situation. A is more capable of being independent for remote learning, but his work load includes things like an Advanced Math and Gifted class so he’s needing to spend longer amounts of time in front of the computer. As a first grader, W doesn’t have the same work load, but he’s a much more wiggly kid in general so there are times focusing can be a challenge for him.
When I saw the pitch for Active Chairs from Studico, I was intrigued. As a former teacher, I’ve experienced kids who struggled with focusing, especially kids who were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Some of those kids were not on medication for various reasons or their medication was wearing down by the time they got to my class. I tried to fit in little ways they could get out the wiggles or hit a reset button without being disruptive, so I liked the idea of a chair that gave kids the ability to wiggle without being disruptive. These chairs are designed to help with focusing and maintaining good posture, which can be a huge issue at times when someone has to sit for long periods of time. Studico sent me two chairs (one for each boy) in exchange for a review.
There’s four sizes of chairs depending on the height of the person using the chair. The fourth and tallest height (which is meant for teenagers) is also adjustable. The range in price from $34.99 (the toddler size) to $79.99 (the teen size). W was sent the 14″ model in blue designed for ages 3-7 (a 42″-49″ height) which retails for $54.99. A was in the third size with the 17.75″ model in black meant for ages 7-12 (50″-61″ height) which retails for $57.99. In determining the size chair you need, focus on the height rather than the age if your kid is taller or shorter than average. Note that each model also comes in a variety of colors.
The chairs came in three pieces and were simple to pop together with no additional tools needed. There’s a little light padding on the seat part (the smaller disc) and the larger bottom disc has a rubberized grip on the bottom. They’re lightweight enough for a kid to easily move around or transfer to another room on their own, a feature I really appreciated.
I had the kids test them out for a full school week so that I could make observations and get their feedback.
W, our more wiggly first grader really took to his. I noticed him gently swaying while listening to his classes or watching the videos assigned during his work time. That ability to rock gently really seemed to help him out and he could easily move his chair to another table section when he needed to switch from a computer to working offline. I myself deal with anxiety and I can see how that simple rocking might be helpful to deal with that as well. The chair is designed to help improve posture too, and I feel like he was sitting a lot nicer overall and hunched over a lot less. W told me he really liked his chair and it’s now become the default thing he uses during class time.
A, our fourth grader with the higher academic load, uses his off and on. He likes it whenever he’s crafting or drawing. The ability to quickly pivot or easily lean to the side to grab something he needs is really helpful for him. He sometimes starts the school day in his original chair, but when he gets to a point where he starts to feel restless, He trades chairs quickly and quietly and uses the Active Chair to manage those wiggles.
Overall, I really like the chairs. The assembly is fast and simple, and we haven’t had any issues with the chair popping apart. I really like how easily the chairs can be transferred from room to room (including upstairs). The ability to wiggle around without being a disruption is really nice. Both boys used these on carpet, but rubberized bottom should help them be equally quiet on harder floor types too. The hard plastic and rubberized areas should be quick to clean and sanitize if needed, The slight padding still seems easy enough to wipe down in case of spills or sanitation needs. While they might cost more than a basic rolling chair for kids, if it actually has them sitting better and being more focused, I feel the extra cost is worth it. I can see myself buying the next sizes up when the time comes and I’m tempted to get the full size version for myself.