Homemade Sensory Gel Pad
Note: I may earn money or products from the companies, products, or links mentioned in this post.
So excited to share this post with you today from a friend of mine who I met at Adam’s therapy! She came up with this wonderful idea that is perfect for children with Autism, SPD, or any sensory defensiveness.
As a wife and stay-at-home mother of two special needs children, I’m always looking for ways to save money while still providing my children with all the tools they need to learn and be happy. Both of my sons have sensory processing issues so we do a lot of sensory play in our home.
One day I was searching around on the internet for sensory play ideas and I came across a picture of what looked like a homemade sensory gel pad. I was very intrigued by this idea! I couldn’t find a description of exactly how to make one, all I could find is bits and pieces about what was used. I decided to attempt to make my own and after a little work getting it right, I had a homemade gel pad! It cost me only a few dollars to make, and it saved me a lot of money as they cost $30.00 or more to purchase one from a therapy store .
How to Make a Sensory Gel Pad:
- Hair Gel
- Sandwich bags of any size (with zipper)
- Duct tape
- Small toys, bead, or buttons
1. Take your bag and fill it about 1/3 full of hair gel, then add you beads, buttons or whatever else you may choose to use.
2. Next, try to push most of the air bubbles to the top of the bag and zip it closed. Use your duct tape to seal the zipper. You can also use duct tape on all of the edges to make it more durable. And that’s it, you have your own homemade sensory gel pad!
A few Tips I Learned From Making a Homemade Sensory Gel Pad:
1. It’s a good idea to reinforce all the corners with extra tape.
2. Try not to use anything with a sharp edge (e.g. a star) because it can puncture the bag.
3. If you want extra security you can put your sensory bag inside another bag and tape that bag closed. This makes them very durable, but the inside bag can shift sometimes making it a little frustrating.
4. Using decorative duct tape gives the gel pad a fun look!
These are fun for any child, and the possibilities of what you can put in your sensory bag are endless. As a mother of special needs children, I can tell you that this is an amazing teaching tool as well as a coping tool for special needs kids. We use these to help my son with his anxiety in public and to help him focus. If you use a little less gel you can make a gel pad for tracing letters. You can also put things inside like letters and numbers. You can use glitter, colored gel, or food coloring to make them more fun!
Many children with sensory processing disorder, or other sensory related issue, are sensory defensive and may dislike some touch sensations (e.g. getting hands dirty, finger-paint, light touch that may occur when standing in line, etc.). These are great to encourage the use of touch and to learn about objects and the environment. I highly recommend these gel pads for all children.
Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom with two amazing special needs boys ages 4 and 1 ½. She feels very blessed that the Lord chose her to raise these amazing boys and has devoted her life to helping her children reach their full potential. You can find our more about her, her family, and their journey through Autism on Spinning Glow Sticks.
Thanks for sharing! I’m going to try this for my little guy
So glad it was helpful to you! 🙂
I am trying to make one for my daughter and I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to get out the air bubbles. I didn’t realize that hair gel had so many.
I know I am WAY late on your comment, but thought I might help someone else… I used a hair dryer to warm the gel up/slightly “melt” it… however you want to put it. Lol. It made getting the bubbles out MUCH easier!
That a great idea, thanks for posting!!
This is brilliant. I am using this as my practical activity for a very important Child Studies assignment. Thank you for the idea and instructions xx
So glad you liked it! Thank you for commenting. 🙂
We’re going to make these today…but not for children to use! My husband works with adults living with dementia and sensory pads are a useful tool. We have found some commercial ones online, but they are so expensive. A Google search led us to your site, and we’re going to give the homemade version a try! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I’m so glad you found the site! I hope it helps your patients.
Thank you for this great idea. I just wanted to let you know that I have been looking for the same thing but for use with my mother who has dementia. They sell sensory gel pads online and they are quite expensive for something you don’t know will be used or not. So, another application for your creation!
Thank you! I’m so glad it could be helpful!
I’d suggest freezing the lot into a block then when frozen use a vacuum sealer if you have one. The plastic is very durable and once the gel is defrosted there shouldnt be any air pockets.
Great idea tho thanks
That’s a great idea, thanks for sharing!