Sensory play is important for all children and even more so who struggle with sensory processing. Sensory bags are easy to create, portable and inexpensive. Sensory bags are also sometimes called squish bags.
Sensory bags allow children to explore, discover, imagine, create, and learn while engaging many of their senses. They are great mess free sensory play. This is a feature that moms and teachers can especially appreciate!
Sensory bags are portable so they can be brought with you for use in waiting rooms or on road trips. You can also tape the bag to a table or to a window for your child to easily be able to manipulate the contents and play.
Sensory play impacts many areas of development including:
- Language skills – a child will expand and develop their vocabulary and grammar as they describe the senses they are experiencing.
- Sensory input – providing sensory input to meet a child’s needs.
- Fine motor skills – through manipulating small objects, a child’s fine motor skills are improved.
- Social skills – by communicating what they are experiencing and sharing sensory play with others, a child will naturally improve their social skills.
Professionals who work with patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimers are reporting success with using sensory bags. Providing appropriate sensory stimulation for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has been shown in recent studies to improve sleep and decrease agitation and restlessness.
When working with adults, you will want to create sensory bags that hold their interest such as using something like this gel bag maze. Some patients enjoy themed or fun sensory bags, particularly if it pertains to something of interest to them.
Sensory bags are particularly effective for children who suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), though they can be a healthy part of learning and play for all children.
Our Sensory Bags
Below are some of the sensory bags that I’ve made for my kids. I hope that my sharing these sensory bag ideas will help inspired you to create your own.
Sensory bags provide hours of mess-free sensory play (especially provided that you seal the edges of the bag with duct tape). You can fill them with different textures, colours and sounds. The possibilities are endless!
Sensory bags can even be used with toddlers and babies, with adult supervision of course. Sensory bags are great for tummy time. For younger children, you may want to tape the sensory bag to a table or to the window which will allow your child to still explore through touch but be less tempted to bite the bag or put it in their mouth.
The instructions for creating a sensory bag are simple. Fill a good quality resealable bag with one or more fillers. Remove the excess air from the bag and seal. If you will be using the sensory bag with younger children or if you want to mitigate the risk of mess, you can seal the entire bag with duct tape on all sides. There are many varieties of fun and colourful duct tape available to go along with the theme of your sensory bag.
Filler suggestions for sensory bags:
- water beads
- hair gel
- hand sanitizer
- glass beads
- food colouring
- plastic letters
- shaving cream
- baby oil
- googly eyes
- foam shapes or foam stickers
- felt shapes or felt scraps
- small plastic toys, animals or shapes
- dry noodles
- small rocks
- decorative rocks
- aloe vera gel
- popcorn seeds
- mini ornaments
- paper shreds
- pieces of string or wool
- plastic letters or letter beads
With all the options out there, the decision for you is which one are you going to make first?!