Texture balloons are pretty awesome and easy to make. Fun filled sensory balloons that you can make for home, school, or work. They are surprisingly tough and can take a good squeeze. For more awesome sensory play ideas check out our huge resource for neat ideas.
Texture Balloons for Tactile Sensory Play
What Is Tactile Sensory Play?
Tactile sensory play is all about touch! Wet or dry, cold or hot, vibrations and sensations. It can go way beyond a sensory bin. Some children do not like to feel everything and some materials are aversive. The fingertips are powerful sensors and the skin is the largest organ of the body! Some children have to touch everything and some avoid anything messy or different feeling (my son). All children like to explore, discover and experiment with their surroundings and sensory play does just that. Remember never push or force a child to do something that is making him uncomfortable as it will not necessarily make it better! These texture balloons allow even the biggest avoider (my son) to try out new textures with the safety of the balloon shell!
- Balloons (dollar store works fine)
- Fillers: Sand, Salt, Cornstarch, Marbles, Play Dough, Rice, and something slimy (gel works)!
- Air power or a good set of lungs
How To Make Texture Balloons
This is really pretty simple but I learned a couple things along the way and ended up making a second set! The best advice is to blow up your balloon and let it hold air for a minute. This really stretches the balloon to make for a larger texture balloon. We did not do this at first and ended up with a bunch of minis.
Texture Balloon Tactile Sensory Play
So far these have withstood quite a bit of squeezing, dropping and throwing! I did not double balloon them with a protective outer layer but so far so good. So far he has said the cornstarch and sand are his favorite but the play dough one is pretty close too! You can either keep them on hand for tactile sensory input to engage the mind and body or to calm the mind and body depending on what your child needs.
The white one is filled with play dough but his favorite was the cornstarch one and then the sand one for splatting on the floor. Although these are texture balloons, some of the fillers also provided great proprioceptive sensory (heavy work) input too! He did not like the yellow one filled with a slimy substance. Nor did he even want to touch the slime!
Simple Texture Balloon Activity
I set out little white bowls filler with each of the materials I used to fill the balloons. Feel the balloons and try to match them to the correct material. Lots of guessing fun and great language development as you talk about what your child is feeling. Join in the fun too. We did!
Are we having fun with our tactile sensory play and texture balloons? You bet!