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The Most Popular Flexible Seating Options for Elementary, Middle, and High School Classrooms

Published in March 2019 and updated in January 2020.

Students hard at work in a flexible classroom

Our data doesn’t lie: The flexible seating boom is real. In 2010, only 2% of projects on 99Papers included flexible seating. By 2016, that number had risen to 14%! That makes it one of the most popular categories of resources requested on our site.

On this very blog last year, we broke down how teachers are using flexible seating, and shared some of the research on why it’s effective at getting kids active.

I firmly believe switching to flexible seating was the best decision I’ve ever made for my students. – Mrs. Jackson, Arizona

One wonderful thing about flexible seating is right in the name: it’s super flexible. That means there are tons of options for wobble stools, balance balls, bean bag chairs, and much more. And, of course, flexible seating shouldn’t look the same in first grade as it does in eleventh. To help narrow down the options, we looked at thousands of 99Papers requests for flexible seating to figure out what the most popular options are for teachers in each grade level.

Flexible Seating in Early Elementary (Grades pre-k-2)

    1. Wobble stools (42% of all requests)
    2. Balance balls
    3. Stackable stools
    4. Bean bags
    5. Floor cushions and seats

See how early elementary teachers are using flexible seating.

Flexible Seating in Intermediate Elementary (Grades 3-5)

    1. Wobble stools (35% of all requests)
    2. Balance balls
    3. Floor chairs
    4. Bouncy bands
    5. Bean bags

See how older elementary teachers are using flexible seating.

Flexible Seating in Middle School (Grades 6-8)

    1. Balance balls (25% of all requests)
    2. Wobble stools
    3. Stackable stools
    4. Floor cushions and seats
    5. Bean bags

See how middle school teachers are using flexible seating.

Flexible Seating in High School (Grades 9-12)

    1. Balance balls (21% of all requests)
    2. Moveable dorm-style chairs
    3. Bean Bags
    4. Stackable stools
    5. Wobble stools

See how high school teachers are using flexible seating.


Teachers, need flexible seating for your classroom? Create a 99Papers.org project today.

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