Easy sensory bags for babies {you can make at home with dollar store bags}

How to make sensory bags

Sensory bags are a fun activity to do with your baby. They are a great way to entertain your infant, help them explore their senses, and encourage tummy time for babies that dislike it.

To make a sensory bag you simply add items to a ziploc bag, suspend in hair gel, and seal them up with some duct tape to ensure nothing comes leaking out onto little hands.

If you want to know how to make a sensory bag without hair gel, the answer is oil! Whatever you have on hand will work! Olive, canola, coconut!

DIY Sensory Bags

Check out four of my favorite sensory bags that I made for my daughter. It should give you the basic idea of how a sensory bag is made and then you can get busy making your own creations!

I made mine with items from the dollar store making it an inexpensive activity to do with your child.

dollar store sensory bags

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Supplies for sensory bags

I started with a trip to the dollar store. I was able to pick up all these items, everything I need to make the sensory bags for about $10.

It’s especially a great place for making fun seasonal bags as they always have fun holiday or season themed items in stock.

sensory bag supplies on table

There are just a few items that you’ll have to have in order to make sensory bags. The essentials are:

You can use almost anything as a filler, more on that below.

four sensory bag ideas on white background

Sensory bag filler ideas:

For fillers the sky is the limit. You can put anything you want in your bags.

Just remember not to mix metal items with liquid or you’ll end up with a rusty mess.

If you’re just getting started you may want a craft starter kit like this. Otherwise, all of these make great picks too:

  • Craft pom poms
  • Water beads
  • Fake flowers
  • Glitter
  • Floral filler
  • Small brightly colored figures

Putting the sensory bags together

Fill the bags with an assortment of items and then tape the edges of the bag all the way around with the duct tape to give them a really good seal. Use different colored duct tape to add to the experience.

If there is no liquid inside you don’t have to seal them as well for babies. If you’re making them for toddlers who could possibly get the bags open you will want to seal the opening of the ziplock bag so they can’t get any of the small items out.

If you don’t want to use duct tape, or don’t have any on hand, you may be able to get away with double bagging them. Just supervise your baby while they play in case there are any leaks.

sensory bag with floral filler and dragonflys
sensory bag with floral filler and dragonflies

I made four bags in total. I only used the hair gel in one bag.

Remember, there are 5 senses so make different kinds of bags to help your baby have different sensory experiences.

Some of the bags I made were squishy, some were more firm. Some made fun sounds while others were quiet.

sensory bag with flowers
sensory bag with clear gel and lei flowers

Every sight, sound, and experience is new to your baby so even a simple bag like yellow outlined one above, made with fake flowers from a lei and hair gel, will be fun and new to them.

Make sure to include your little one while you make the bags. My daughter had a great time watching me put them together and then I could hand them off to her as I finished. (Just make sure they can’t reach any of the little pieces that you’re using for the bags.)

How to play with sensory bags

baby playing with sensory bag
sensory bag made with water beads

Now you’re ready to play! They can use them on their high chair, while sitting in your lap, or for something to look at during tummy time.

I like to prop my daughter on a boppy nursing pillow for support (but you could use one of these infant floor seats!) and use the sensory bags to keep her happy and entertained. I think they were a hit!

My youngest daughters favorites were the glittery pink one and the one with the confetti type stuff because it makes a rustling sound. (I actually found this stuff on the floral aisle). Great cheap entertainment and completely customizable. Try a few out and see what your little one likes.

baby playing with sensory bags

Tips for fun sensory bag play:

  • Make sure you get ziploc bags that you push sealed, not the zipper kind. The zippers keep you from getting a tight seal and caused one to leak the first time I made sensory bags.
  • Double bagging them can help ensure a good seal and add a little extra thickness to prevent little fingernails from puncturing the bag.
  • I only needed about half of a large bottle of hair gel for the bag I made so only buy as much as you think you’ll need.
  • Include your baby in the creation process. My daughter had a great time watching me make the bags.
  • They’re sensory bags so try a variety of sounds, colors, textures for them to explore.
  • Don’t want to run to the store? You can get Craft Supplies delivered to your door in 2 days by Amazon.

Want to do it the even easier way? Grab a DIY kit or pre-done bag on Etsy.
I especially like the ones below with fish inside or googly eyes!

sensory bag kit from etsy

A DIY set so you can easily make your own sensory bags.

“Squish panels” from this shop on Etsy.

4 sensory bags from SensiPalStore

You can also purchase water play mats which are similar to sensory bags except they’ll only have one design. Many of them happen to be an ocean theme. Just always check for punctures or you’ll end up with a mess!

Babies might also love jello sensory bins and edible finger paint! There are lots of sensory activities you can do with your baby to provide easy entertainment and spark their imaginations.

Dollar store sensory bags

10 thoughts on “Easy sensory bags for babies {you can make at home with dollar store bags}”

  1. I just made some…wasnt sure how much hair gel to use….i made fish, valentine hearts and colored beads. Great for belly infant was trying to eat the fish.

  2. I made a sensory bag yesterday using a Ziplock bag taped shut AND taped to a piece of poster board. First, I drew three ice cream cones, labelled them vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, and colored them accordingly. Then I added brown, pink, and white pompoms and hair gel to the bag before sealing. My grandson loved pushing the “ice cream scoops” into the cones. Next time, I’ll make a neopolitan cone!

  3. My granddaughter is teething. She has 2 at the bottom already and everything goes to her mouth. Everything! If I triple bag do you think it would be teeth proof? Of course she will be supervised.

    1. I wouldn’t advise unless you only put edible liquid inside. Baby teeth are sharp! If you’re supervising and keep her from putting it in her mouth it would be ok. You could also try a sensory bottle as that uses a plastic bottle so teeth wouldn’t be able to break through.

      1. I’ve seen these sensory bagels either taped to the floor or even to the high chair table. They can still play without the risk of getting them in their mouth. 😊

        1. That’s a great idea! Although I could see my youngest leaning over to try to eat them, she tries to eat everything.

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