Your kids are going to love this tactile sensory play with texture balloons. They will enjoy deciphering what is inside each one and the tactile sensory input they get. You will like how simple and inexpensive this activity is to put together. These tactile sensory balloons are a great way for sensory avoiders to experience textures without touching them directly. As an example, if your child doesn’t like the feel of water beads, you can place water beads in a balloon and they can feel the shape, squishiness, and movement of them without having to feel the wetness or gooeyness.
This activity presents learning opportunities. The guessing and matching is science. Language skills are enhanced while discussing the characteristics of each filler and when reading the cards.
How to make texture balloons:
- helium balloons
- popcorn seeds
- hair gel or hand sanitizer
- dry rice
- optional: cards to match up with the corresponding item
- Fill each of the balloons with one of the fillers (popcorn seeds, gel, sand, rice, flour, marbles) and tie in a knot at the top to close.
- It can be challenging to fill the balloons. The best way I have found is to blow the balloon up first and let the air out.
- Insert the end of a funnel into the top of the balloon and place the filler in the funnel. For the marbles, you’ll have to slip them in the top of the balloon one at a time.
- Have the child use their senses to try to determine which filler is in each balloon.
Other ideas for items to fill your texture balloons with:
- coffee beans or coffee grounds
- water beads
- whatever else your imagination can come up with
You can find printable cards for the tactile balloons in The Sensory Science Book Volume 1. You’ll also find other easy to create hands-on science activities for kids.
Encourage your child to also use their auditory sense in addition to their sense of touch. Discuss how the flour and the sugar sound different in the balloon and why that might be.
For older children, you could also fill one balloon with water and another with water and then freeze the balloon so that it is filled with ice and talk about states of matter.
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Other sensory science activities you may enjoy: