Find U-Pick Apple Orchards Near You


DIY: How to Make a Sensory Toy

Trying to find the perfect sensory toy for your child can be a struggle, so why not make a sensory toy for your child with special needs? Here is a step-by-step guide to DIY a balloon sensory toy.

diy sensory toy

There can be more to balloons than just air. Filling them with different textures and tying them off leaves you with interesting malleable toys. Make pairs with the same fillings and ask kids to match textures, or draw faces on the balloons with a marker and enjoy the change of expression with each squish. Dig through the pantry for a selection of different fillings such as flour, dried lentils, polenta, or salt. Watch out for sharp or pointy grains that could pierce the balloons, such as rice or angular pasta. 

You will need:

  • balloons (helium-grade work best as they are stronger)
  • a funnel
  • various dry goods as filling

Set-Up Time: High
Clean-Up Time:
Low
Mess Factor:
Low

There can be more to balloons than just air. Filling them with different textures and tying them off leaves you with interesting malleable toys. Make pairs with the same fillings and ask kids to match textures, or draw faces on the balloons with a marker and enjoy the change of expression with each squish. Dig through the pantry for a selection of different fillings such as flour, dried lentils, polenta, or salt. Watch out for sharp or pointy grains that could pierce the balloons, such as rice or angular pasta.    

Instructions
Some fancy finger-work may be required, as well as a bit of patience. Stretch the mouth of each balloon over your funnel and slowly feed the dry goods inside. This may involve some stretching and squeezing and wiggling of the balloon, or a sneaky prod with a chopstick to force reluctant filling into the vessel. If you’re using flour, beware of squeezing, as the flour is likely to leap right back out of the funnel and into your face, which can be amusing but also frustrating.

When tying off the end, slowly squeeze out the air before knotting the balloon. Alternatively, you can get really fancy and double-back the balloon by twisting the neck a couple of times and folding it back over the body, then stretching another balloon over the top and repeating the twisting technique. It does offer a cleaner finish but, really, kids aren’t that fussy, and if you’re grumpy after getting a face full of flour, a basic knot will suffice.

And if your child is able, let them get crafty with you to make one!

Recipe from Recipes for Play: Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations, copyright © Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.