I have another easy and fun sensory play idea to share with you all today. This activity is great for visual sensory play, and is totally mess free too. Once you’ve finished making it, it will last for a long time as a sensory toy that you can take out to entertain little ones, or use as a calm down tool. I was not totally sure what to call this – the end result is kind of a wand and kind of  a tube, but either way it’s fun to play with!

DIY sensory tube or sensory wand toy to use for visual sensory play, or as a calm down tool. It's so relaxing to watch and play with

This sensory tube is made from:

  • an empty bubble wand container, like from these bubbles (UK / US)
  • water beads (UKUS)+ water
  • fine glitter

You might notice that these supplies are very similar to what we used to make our Valentines sensory snow globe but the end result being in these different containers looks different.

How to make this DIY sensory tube

First, finish any remaining bubble liquid you might still have within your bubble wand – which is a great sensory activity in itself. All kids love bubbles! And they offer great visual stimulation as well as being good for oro motor skills if your kids are able to blow bubbles themselves. I find these larger wand style bubbles so much better than the smaller ones, they create larger bubbles and seem to be much easier for my children to blow.

blowing bubblesIf you do have too much left over though you can just transfer the mixture to another container to keep it so that you can make the sensory tube.

Once the tube is empty, start transferring water beads into the tube until you’re happy with the amount. We used pre-hydrated water beads for this, and picking them up and placing them into the neck of the tube is really good fine motor practice for little hands.

Then, fill up the tube until near the top with water and pour in some glitter (leaving a little space is good, because then you get a bubble inside the tube, which can move up and down when you tilt and turn it)

To make the lid that you will use to close the tube, you will probably want to break off the wand part so that it is not getting in the way or blocking up the space inside the tube. If you have a normal plastic wand, you should be able to just snap that off and then tightly screw on the lid to seal. Because these containers normally hold a liquid anyway (the bubble liquid) I did not need to glue or tape the lid on – just screw it on tightly and you will be fine.

It’s not easy to show the inside of the tube properly in photographs, but trust me it is really pretty when you hold it up to the light, or shake it and see all the water beads and glitter moving up and down.

DIY sensory tube or sensory wand toy to use for visual sensory play, or as a calm down tool. It's so relaxing to watch and play withThe blue tinge to ours is simply because we used a bubble tube that is blue – but that doesn’t affect the end result, you can still see clearly through to contents of the tube, so if you have coloured tubes or clear tubes either way will work fine.

DIY sensory tube or sensory wand toy to use for visual sensory play, or as a calm down tool. It's so relaxing to watch and play withTip it, tilt it, shake it, hold it up to the light – it’s fun to see how the glitter and water beads move around inside the tube, and is calming and relaxing too.

Once this is made, it should last well. We made the one in the pictures a month or so back, and it is still as good as new. If you do need to replace it down the line, then they are very cheap and easy to make anyway. It would be fun to make a whole rainbow of these – I’m sure we will be adding lots more to our collection.

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If you have a light box or light table at home (or make your own, using this very easy DIY method to create a small light table) then these would be a fun light table toy too.

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Visual Sensory Play Ideas