If you have a little one at home, you’d know that one of the latest trends in the market is sensory bags. It’s a proven concept that children, as well as adults, learn better when their senses are engaged. Sensory learning can last long in the memory, like the taste of your mom’s food or the sight of a beautiful sunset.
Even something like the smell of a campfire taking you to a summer memory or belting out the lyrics to your favourite song come under sensory learning. This concept begins when we’re little babies and by exposing your kids to textures, sounds, colours and more, you’re exposing them to senses that help develop their overall cognitive skills. Once you get the hang of it, the whole process becomes fun and you can also involve the kids in the experience.
What Are Sensory Bags?
Sensory bags for toddlers are one of the latest toys in the market and allow kids to enjoy mess-free play while also stimulating their core senses. These bags, which are also known as squish bags, allow the children to discover, explore, imagine, create and learn using their senses.
They contain different materials and even artwork which can stimulate their senses and get them excited about play-time.
Benefits of Sensory Bags for Children
There are many benefits for sensory bags for babies, including –
- Language Skills – The language skills of many children are improved and grammar and vocabulary are boosted, as they describe the many senses they experience.
- Sensory Input – The bags provide a sort of sensory input that also meets the child’s requirements.
- Fine Motor Skills – As kids manipulate smaller objects, they also improve their overall fine motor skills.
- Social Skills – As children can communicate their experiences using sensory toys, they improve their social skills naturally.
What Fillers Can Be Used to Make a Sensory Bag?
There are plenty of options to work around with these bags for infants. They can be filled with a variety of things including:
- Dry pasta
- Pom poms
- Shaving cream
- Dyed rice
- Drinking straws
- Clear hair gel or even shampoo
Creative DIY Sensory Bag Ideas
Here are some of the best and creative DIY sensory bags. You can even make these with sensory Ziplock bags by placing different materials inside these little bags. Here’s a list of sensory bag ideas –
1. Ocean Sensory Bag
It’s important that you give the baby a calming and wonderful sensory experience with the help of the water blob. This ocean sensory bag idea is one way to get them interested in the sea right from a young age. They can easily squish and splash their way to glory without making a mess at all.
It’s an excellent way to get them to play with “water” and pique their curiosity towards this wonderful liquid. The mini version is easy to pull off and here’s how you can make it. You can work with small bath toys and just a little bit of water
- Place the bath toys (optional, but not anything pointy) in the freezer or Ziploc bags and fill them with water. Make sure you squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag tightly.
- Use duct tape and make the seal strong. You can use two overlapping strips that fold over the edge.
- Place the filled bag, with the side that’s taped down inside another bag, squeeze as much air out again and duct tape it for extra security.
- You can also place a towel down for extra safety.
- Let the baby enjoy their new squishy toy and play.
2. Shaving Cream Sensory Bag
Shaving cream is another soft material that you can place inside bags to convert them into a fun and enjoyable experience for the little one. Make sure the sensory bags are properly sealed before you give it to kids.
Babies can learn all about soft squishy toys with a shaving cream sensory bag and it can keep them entertained for hours.
- It’s super easy and fun to work with sensory bags that are made from shaving cream. Start by adding the white foam into a resealable bag and put a few drops of food colouring into it.
- The more drops you add, the stronger the colour, so you can add as much as you’d like.
- You can start off by adding colour combos such as blue and yellow or red and yellow.
- Duct tape the bag strongly and make sure it doesn’t burst. Extra duct tape works wonders.
- Hand the bag to your little one and watch as they play and mix colours. Blue and yellow forms green while red and yellow forms orange. It’s a great way to teach kids about complementary colours and watch them play with the squishy sensory bag, in a mess-free environment.
3. Play-Doh Sensory Bag
This is one of the easiest and super fun sensory bags you can make for your little ones. Play-doh is a popular material for children to play with and they can explore its magic with the help of these bags.
You can let the kids play around with the soft material and it straightens on its own over time.
- To make this sensory bag, you’ll need play-doh, a ziplock bag, some duct tape, even beads or glitter.
- Add the playdough, glitter and add beads to the bag.
- Ensure that you’ve closed and sealed the bag properly with the help of rubber bands or duct tape.
- You can encourage kids to even try to mould the playdough in different shapes to create a cool sensory bag idea.
4. Lava Lamp Sensory Bag
One of the best ways to teach kids about colours is to create sensory bags that come in different colours that glow in the dark as well. It’s important that kids are able to enjoy the lovely effects of lava lamps, at home, so they understand these substances better.
All you need to create lava lamps in a sensory bag are some baby or cooking oil, Ziploc bags, neon watercolours and clear packaging tape.
- You can begin by filling a large zip-lock bag around 1/3rd of the way with oil. Baby oil works best but so does cooking oil too.
- You can proceed to add a couple of tablespoons of neon watercolour to make them glow and look great in the dark.
- You can close the bag with the help of clear tape and this ensures that there is no leaking when your kids are playing with the bags.
- Repeat this process and add other colours into the lava lamp sensory bag to stand out from the rest.
- Then, switch off the lights and let the kids play around with the many colours that appear. It’s a great way to teach kids about the properties of oil and water as well as colours in the process.
- The lava lamp will bubble around, adding a touch of drama as their faces brighten up with the lights inside.
5. Rice Sensory Bag
Rice sensory bags are one of the most fun types to set up for your little one. This is because rice is one of the best and ideal sensory materials for children. It comes with a soothing texture as well, which makes it perfect for unwinding and playing right before bedtime.
Rice is an excellent sensory bin material, purely because it is extremely affordable too. It’s also super easily available. You can go purchase it from your local store and go forth and create sensory bags out of the same. Purchase a bag of rice from your local store, add it to the plastic bin or bag, seal it tightly, and your bag is good to go.
- Buy a bag of rice and place it in a plastic bag that’s filled right up to the brim or even 3/4ths of the way ready.
- You can use a bag that goes halfway in and, to spice up the fun, even add a few toy items towards the bottom.
- The toys act as a nice little surprise for kids and you could also mix it up by adding coloured rice into the sensory bin wherever needed. You could look up tutorials that teach you how to make neon or harvest coloured rice. These techniques can be made to create any type of coloured rice.
- You can also keep the rice in the bin by covering it tightly. You could also clean up any spills with the help of a vacuum or just simply put a sheet under the bin to collect any spills. Pick up the sheets and pour any of the excess rice back to the bin.
- The project is perfect for preschoolers, toddlers, or even school-age kids but not ideal for those kids who still put objects into their mouths.
These are just some of the more popular sensory bag ideas for kids. You could fill sensory bags with hair gel or any other materials to give kids an experience they’ll love. It’s important that they understand how different materials and products work and these sensory bags stimulate their core senses in a fun, non-toxic and, most importantly, safe and easy way.