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.
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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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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!
A DIY set so you can easily make your own sensory bags.
“Squish panels” from this shop on Etsy.
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!