We are always up for a new sensory-based activity, so when my daughter’s counselor suggested a squish bag I was game! Having two children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (one with SPD) and the other two with ADHD, we can use these for both calming and sensory needs. These DIY Sensory Bags are so easy to make!
DIY Sensory Bags for Autism, ADHD, & SPD
Children with autism and sensory processing disorders often need sensory input. Some have oral fixations, need deep pressure, jump and spin, while others are looking for a specific feel. Sensory toys are a great way for them to get the sensory input they need from a self-soothing item.
There are all sorts of toys on the market today, many of which can be made at home too. Sensory toys can be great fidget toys too. They can improve concentration and focus in children with ADHD and others who need to keep their hands busy to be able to listen.
What You Need:
- Hair Gel
- Freezer Ziplock Bags (gallon or quart)
- Little Craft Poms
- Food dye or glitter
- Trinkets without sharp edges
- Colored or patterned duct tape
DIY Sensory Bags Directions:
The DIY Sensory Bags for Autism, ADHD, & SPD is so simple to make! The first thing you need to do is place your hair gel in the freezer zip lock bag. I figured out from a 20oz container of hair gel from Dollar Tree, you will need at least 2/3 the container for a gallon bag. For a quart-sized ziplock bag, you will need at least 1/3 a bottle of hair gel. This is the minimum, but you can add some more to give it more “squish.”
The rest is the fun part! To give it the color, you can either add just a couple of drops of food color or use colored glitter. We loved using glitter since it gives it that extra sparkle and visual effect. A teaspoon size of glitter is more than enough, even for the gallon-sized bag.
Then, add in your squishies, pom-poms, confetti, and trinkets. Our favorite item so far has been the cushy pencil grips cut into six slices. They have this really cool squish effect when you press down on them inside the bag. You can also make each bag themed.
You could do an ocean scene, google eyes, or just random as we did! The random seems to be the favorite around our home.
Check out these posts:
- How Teachers & Parents can Motivate Children on the Autism Spectrum
- Explain an Autism Diagnosis to an Autistic Child
- The best GPS device for Autistic Children
- How to teach Autistic Children Emotional Regulation
- What are the Benefits of Art Therapy for Autism
- Chalk Wild Art Bags
Make sure to Seal it!
Finally, you have to seal the bags. Squeeze out any extra air (so the bag doesn’t pop), but make sure that the gel can still freely move around—Zip the bag up and then tape the outsides with duct tape. I used doubled the duct tape (triple on the ones for our son who will be 3) on the side with the zipper to reinforce. Make sure you have tape on both the front and back of the bags!
To get a more polished appearance, tape opposite sides first. Start with taping the top and bottom. Then, do the sides the same way. The best thing to do is cut the duct tape to size before placing them on the bags. It is not easy to remove, and you do not want to attempt to trim it on the bags.
What design did you make for your DIY Sensory bags? Let us know in the comments below, or even share them with us on social media @TheMomKind or using #TheMomKind (or both!)