Hospital-Style Sensory Bags

I’ve been seeing these cool sensory bags all over Pinterest, and I really wanted to try them out myself. I was able to create my own version of these sensory bags utilizing materials you might find at a children’s hospital. If you are doing this activity at home, I suggest you use what’s lying around your house, like Ziplock plastic bags and packing tape. There are lots of great ideas for sensory bags over at Growing a Jeweled Rose, my favorite is the Alphabet bag where you tell your child to find a letter and they squish the bag around until they find it!

For my fellow child life specialists out there, here’s how you can mold it to your needs in the hospital! What you will need is any type of Ziplock bag. If you’re got the name brand and want to use it, great! I found that the biohazard bags they put test tubes in also work great, since they seal like Ziplock and I can count it as medical play! You will also need any type of fun goop. I really like using Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo or Body Wash, because they come in single-use packages, so I don’t have to open a huge container. I’ve found that 2 little bottles are the right amount for the activity. You will also need some way to seal the bag closed so the little ones playing won’t make a mess. I used ducktape, because we have a ton of different colors and designs in our playroom. Finally, you need to have some little fun things to put in the bag for kids to explore. You can use beads, jewels, sequins, etc. Just keep in mind to not put anything pointy in the bag, or else it might make a hole! So stay away from any sequins shaped like stars!

Here’s my example:

Hospital Sensory Bag

First off open your bag and pour your selected goop and fun little pieces. This bag has travel size bottles of shampoo and body wash, and a few handfuls of sequins and glitter in it. If you’re using the bio-hazard bags, make sure you take out the white paper first! Then I sealed the bag, and folded it down a few times to make it smaller, because I felt like it was a bit too big. It also hides the black and orange that covers what is in the bag. You don’t have to fold it down if you don’t want to, but make sure you add another small container of shampoo to fill up the space. Also you don’t need the bag to be really full of stuff, just enough to make it fun to play with. I also didn’t skimp on the ducktape. I really didn’t want it leaking out.

What’s super cool about this bag is that you can make it out of the loose parts you have lying around. Also you can do this activity again and again by changing up what you put in the bag. Maybe one day you want to focus more on visual stimulation, so you fill it with shiny things. Another day you want to encourage exploration with touch, so fill it with beads that have different textures. Or for the more advanced kids, fill it with letters and/or numbers and tell them to find a certain number or letter. The possibilities are endless! Personally I want to try the idea of filling it with glow-in-the-dark goo and let the kids have at it! Let me know what you make!!!

Hospital Sensory Bag Activity Notes

Ages: 1 to 5 (don’t let the little ones play with these unattended!!!)

Materials Needed: plastic bag, strong tape, shampoo and/or body wash, and something fun for them to explore (sequins, beads, etc)

Therapeutic Value:
Developmental Stimulation
Exploration
Motor development

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