Fidget and sensory toys are very popular right now and kids love to play with them. I am always looking for creative things for my kids to make themselves that they can play with. These sensory balls are easy to make, great for a calming activity and inexpensive.
There are a collection of sensory balls described below. From using water beads, and sand to flour and clay, choose one, or all, to create at home today!
The materials are inexpensive, and you can try out different things that you already have at home. They were so easy to make and my kids played with them for hours afterwards.
Materials for Sensory Balls
There are only a few materials that you need for your sensory balls. As far as filling them, you can use whatever you have on hand. Some different ideas are listed below. Make sure to use materials that are safe for the children playing with the sensory balls.
- Sand, Rice, Flour, Water Beads, Cotton Balls, Clay…
- Balloons (A variety of colors is ideal)
My kids were able to play with the fidget balls for days; however, they do often end up breaking at home point. If kids are pulling on the balloons or if they are punctured in some way, they can easily become very messy.
Do not put anything inside the balloon that you would not want your child playing with on its own. Always supervise children when playing with sensory balls and avoid small pieces.
My kids started off filling them with sand, but then wondered what else they could fill their sensory balls with. Perhaps flour? Maybe soapy water? What about water beads?
The possibilities are endless and we ended up spending most of the day having fun creating lots of sensory balls.
When filling the balloons, always avoid filling the balloons too full. If you stretch the balloon too much, the balloons are more likely to break. Trust me, you want to avoid this mess!
How to Make Sand Sensory Balls
Start with some sand, funnels and balloons. Dry sand works best since it will not clump together while filling your balloon. If you can do the activity outside, it can help eliminate some of the clean up.
First, attach the end of the balloon onto the funnel. Fill the funnel with sand and start squishing the balloon to allow the sand to fall into the balloon.
You may need to use something to push the sand through the funnel into the balloon.
We used pencils to help push the sand into the balloon. We then squished the balloon to make it flat and make room for more sand.
Once the balloon is full of sand, tie the end and your sensory ball is ready!
If you want to make your sensory ball more interesting and add some color, you can try one of two things.
First, before adding the sand, you can put one of your balloons into another balloon of a different color. Make a few small cuts in the top balloon and then fill the inside balloon with sand.
As you push the sand into the balloon, the balloons will expand and you will be able to see the balloon inside through the holes of the top balloon.
The second way to add the other balloon, is to fill the balloon with sand first, and then pull some of the second balloon over top. To do this, start by cutting the balloon for the outside and then stretching it over.
If you are using two balloons, make small cuts only. If you make large cuts and holes, the outside balloon will simply stretch and rip and not stay on the inside balloon.
Adding the second balloon can be tricky and may rip. I found the best way to keep the outside balloon from ripping was to use a smaller sized balloon for the inside and the larger one on the outside.
Water Beads Sensory Balls
Another fidget toy ball that we made was with water beads. If you have never used water beads they are a really interesting small ball that when you add water, it grows to about the size of a marble.
It has a really interesting texture and is a great sensory experience to play with a bowl full of water beads. Another great purpose for the beads are to create a really cool sensory ball!
We had some water beads at home, so we decided to try them out inside a sensory ball. These ended up being one of my kids favorite fidget toys that we made.
For the water bead sensory ball, we used clear balloons so that we could see all the colors of the water beads inside the balloon.
Put the funnel inside the balloon and add the water beads. Next, add water to the balloon and fill with as much water as you can. The beads need the water in order to grow.
Leave the ball for a little while to give the beads a chance to grow. Once the beads are full size, your sensory ball is ready to play with.
Flour Fidget Toys Sensory Ball
Another option to put inside a balloon is flour, or rice. You create the sensory ball in the same way as their other balls, but simply change the inside material.
For our flour filled bag, we used two balloons. I started by cutting a few small holes into the outside balloon and then putting the other balloon inside. We then added the flour through a funnel.
Push the flour to compact it in the balloon as you fill it. When it is a size that you are happy with, tie the balloon and you are ready to play.
Clay Fidget Toy
If you are looking to create a fidget sensory toy that is largely mess free if it breaks, using clay or play dough is a great option. This sensory toy is great for car rides because if it does pop, there is very little mess.
Start by rolling a bit of clay into a snake like roll. Then insert it into the balloon. Pull the top of the balloon apart and insert more of the clay.
You can add as much clay as you want, but avoid adding too much and stretching the balloon. (If the balloon is stretched, it is more likely to break)
This sensory ball is great for being able to be formed into different shapes, and then keeping the shape.
Once you have made your sensory ball, you can add to it by adding extra details. My kids loved drawing faces onto their sensory balls and even feathers for hair. Permanent marker is best for drawing on the balloons.
Have some fun experimenting with what all you can add to your balloons!
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more activities and ideas to do in the classroom, or at home with kids, below are some of my favourite and most popular learning activities.
From quiet books and clay animals craft ideas to escape rooms and science experiments, there are lots of things to keep kids busy and learning. Click image for activity description.