How to Make Sensory Bags: 5 Fun and Affordable Sensory Bag Activities

How to Make Sensory Bags: 5 Fun and Affordable Sensory Bag Activities

Today’s article is all about how to make sensory bags that are fun and affordable!

For kids and for those with sensory processing difficulties, sensory play is key for helping young people become well-rounded learners.

Sensory bags are great because they’re so easy for parents, early educators, and occupational therapists to make.

They’re so easy to make but pack a sensory punch that’s not just educational but super fun too, ideal for little ones or kids with sensory processing needs.🥰

Related: 15+ Fun Sensory Table Activities for Toddlers

Related: 5 Easy Sensory Bin Ideas You Need to Try!

Related: 25 Best Books on the Five Senses

Why Should I Learn How to Make Sensory Bags?

Sensory bags are an open-ended and engaging activity that can be tailored to different age groups, abilities, and interests.

They are awesome because they offer a multi-sensory experience by combining various textures, colors, smells, and sounds.

This helps children develop their sensory processing skills as they explore the world around them. ♥

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How to Make Sensory Bags: 5 Fun and Affordable Sensory Bag Activities

The Science Behind How to Make Sensory Bags

But why make time to create these sensory experiences?

Check out these great benefits of learning how to make sensory bags!

  • Fine Motor Skills Development: Squeezing and pressing on the bags strengthens hand muscles and coordination.
  • Sensory Processing Growth: Interacting with different textures and materials inside the bag help with sensory integration, essential for children with sensory processing needs.
  • Language and Cognitive Boost: Describing their experiences with the bags can increase vocabulary and cognitive understanding.
  • Stress Relief: The tactile nature of sensory bags can have a calming effect, reducing anxiety and promoting mindfulness.

What Are Sensory Bags?

Sensory bags are sealed, squishy bags filled with a variety of items meant to engage a child’s senses.

They offer a safe, no-mess solution to explore materials like gel beads, feathers, textured shapes, and more, all through the safety of a plastic bag.

Activities in sensory bags can be done on the floor, on a table top, can be grabbed and picked up, or can be taped to a wall or window for use while standing.

Beyond their simplicity, the beauty of sensory bags lies in their open-ended learning opportunities that don’t break the bank or take much time to create!

How to Make Sensory Bags: Gathering Materials

To start your adventure in making sensory bags, you’ll need a few basic items.

First, gather durable, sealable plastic bags, such as Ziploc bags. Gallon size works best.

⭐Tip: Choose heavy-duty bags Ziploc bags to minimize the risk of leaks!

How to Make Sensory Bags: Creating the Bags!

Fillers bring the sensory experience to life! 🎉

Sensory bag fillers can include items like hair gel, shaving cream, plain water, liquid soap, or cooking oil for a squishy base.

You can then add various items for texture and visual interest, such as glitter, food coloring, small toys, feathers, or sequins.

⭐Tip: Make sure to have some tape on hand to securely seal the bags and prevent any spills.

Or, you could even double bag the sensory activity before play time starts!

With these materials, you’re ready to create a fascinating sensory experience for children to enjoy.

Now let’s get into some examples of my favorite sensory bags and how to make them!


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    How to Make Sensory Bags: General Directions

    For open-ended sensory bags, start by checking that your Ziploc bag is leakproof.

    When you’re ready, fill a sturdy, sealable plastic bag with filler items like feathers, textured shapes, and a base, like hair gel or shaving cream.

    To avoid messes, you could wrap the edges of the bag with duct tape to keep everything safe, and then see how your kid likes exploring all the different sensations!

    Other options: You can also add food coloring, glitter, Orbeez (and more!) to the gel/ cream for added sensory stimulation.

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    How to Make Sensory Bags: Ocean Explorer

    Fill a bag with blue hair gel, small fish toys, and glitter to create an underwater scene.

    Or, save yourself some time and grab this premade Ocean Explorer sensory bag kit from Amazon, linked below!

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Ocean Explorer

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Alphabet Tracing Bag

    Combine water, dish soap for bubbles, and foam letters to encourage your little one to write letters using the bag!

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Alphabet Tracing Bag by Pocket of Preschool
    Made by pocketofpreschool

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Nature Explorer Bag

    Explore all the sensory things nature has to offer by adding leaves, twigs, and stones into a bag filled with oil and water for a fascinating mix of textures.

    Another great premade option is this Butterfly Garden-inspired sensory bag, linked below for you!

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Nature Explorer Bag

    Related: 100+ Amazing Unschooling Supplies for All Ages

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    How to Make Sensory Bags: Color Mixing Lab

    A drop of primary-colored water and oil in separate corners allows kids to squish and blend, discovering new colors.

    You could even use shaving cream as a base and add paint in primary colors, allowing kids to squish and spread the colors, exploring what new colors they’ll make!

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Color Mixing Lab by Best Toys 4 Toddlers
    Made by besttoys4toddlers

    How to Make Sensory Bags: I Spy Activity

    Create an I Spy activity in a sensory bag by mixing a clear hair gel with various small toys, beads, and colorful pompoms.

    You could even jot down or draw all items hidden inside, challenging children to identify and name each item as they move them around in the gel.

    Here’s a great premade I Spy sensory bag option I’ve linked for you!

    How to Make Sensory Bags: I Spy Activity

    How to Make Sensory Bags: Safety First

    While sensory bags provide endless fun, it’s crucial to prioritize safety.

    • Always supervise playtime.
    • Regularly inspect bags for wear and tear.
    • Choose non-toxic materials.
    • Practice hand hygiene before and after play.
    • Avoid materials that children are allergic to.

    That’s Everything You Need to Learn How to Make Sensory Bags!

    Sensory bags are more than just a pretty play time activity!

    Once you learn how to make sensory bags, you’ll see that they’re gateways to learning through exploration and sensation.

    By creating these sensory-rich tools, you’re not only providing fun activities but also supporting crucial developmental milestones in children’s lives.

    Whether you’re using them into the classroom or using them for quiet time at home, these bags have the power to transform ordinary moments into extraordinary learning opportunities. 💞

    Before You Go, Comment Below!

    I hope this guide inspires you to create innovative sensory bags that spark curiosity and learning. If you’ve tried making one, or have unique ideas and experiences to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts and comments below to join our community of creative educators and parents.

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      Safety tips and words of caution

      All materials you choose for your sensory bins should be nontoxic and should not be of a size or material that could cause choking or other dangers. Monitor anyone using a sensory bin, bag, table, etc. closely, especially young children.

      The general recommendation for sensory bin age-limits is no younger than eighteen-months-old, with materials within the bins including other water, sand, and fixed plastic objects (something they can’t pinch their fingers in, for example).

      If the toys can fit inside and slide through a standard toilet paper tube, they are too small for babies and toddlers, and should not be included in your sensory bins.

      Rules for Keeping Sensory Play Safe

      A great tip for young children is to make sure their bellies are full and that they’ve eaten a meal in a place that is separate from where the sensory bin play occurs before using the sensory bin, which can help reduce the desire for children to want to eat the sensory bin’s contents.

      If you struggle with this, try to switch out your base material for food or something that is food-safe and okay for the child to eat. Keep your rules for sensory play consistent.

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