Playdough Sensory Bags

Sensory play is one of our favourite types of play. My boys are all happy enough to get involved in messy play, and to touch and explore different materials and play recipes, but not all children are the same and some might shy away from anything too messy or squishy.

One of my friends mentioned to me that her little boy does not like to play with playdough as he doesn’t want to touch it, so I thought of the idea of making simple playdough sensory bags to offer another way for children to explore playdough without getting it on their hands.

simple playdough sensory bagsThese playdough sensory bags are very quick and easy to make. If you have playdough on hand, then all you need is some zip lock bags, the playdough and for optional extras you can add bits like googly eyes, sequins or pom poms.

I used some left over playdough that we had made using this simple playdough recipe  (3 ingredients, and no cook – could not be any easier! ).  You could use any recipe you prefer or follow the same idea using shop bought playdough.

All you need to do is place the playdough into the zip lock bag to fill it, then squish it and flatten it down to fill any empty spaces and you are done! If you think your child will be tempted to open the bag (some of mine did) then tape it with duct tape across the top.

I actually liked the plain playdough sensory bags best, as they allowed the focus just to be on the texture of the playdough, and the squishing and squeezing. The extras like the googly eyes and sequins were not able to move around as freely as they would have in a gel or water based sensory bag, although it is quite good fine motor practise to push the pieces through the playdough bag since the playdough gives more resistance.

The mixed black and yellow colour in the top bag was down to adding food colouring to the playdough after adding it to the bag, and then mixing it by squishing. It’s quite interesting for the kids to work on spreading the colour and mixing it into the playdough. It won’t give an even spread over the playdough so if you are wanting to actually re-colour the dough, then do it before adding it to the bag! The black and yellow along with googly eyes does work quite well for a spooky Halloween-y feel.

playdough sensory bagThese are mini sensory bags as we used a small size zip lock bag but you could make them as big as you like by using larger zip lock bags.

squeezing playdough sensory bagThe boys loved squeezing the bags. It’s an interesting way to explore the texture of playdough and can be quite calming. If you have a child who does not like mess or tends to be tactile defensive then these bags may offer an easier way for them to experience these textures, or if you have a child who loves the sensory input of squishing and squeezing then this works for them too. My boys squeezed quite hard and the bag did not burst, but obviously don’t over fill too much if you think that might be a risk and if you have the bag very full then using tape at the top will be best.

These sensory bags will take only 5 minutes to make and will keep well for a few weeks at least, or if you have home-made playdough that is getting a little past it’s best (the no cook flour and water recipe tends to get a bit slimy after a few weeks rather than drying out!) then you can get a bit more use out of the dough via the playdough sensory bags before throwing it away – which is what we did.

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