How to Make Your Own Sensory Balloons (or Stress Balls)

Last Friday I told you about a project I did with the kids during the week, making our own sensory balloons (or stress balls, whichever you want to use them for!) This was the EASIEST thing. And the kids had a blast. (I mean, bouncing off the walls, can’t contain their excitement, full on squealing GLEE. Ask my mom, she called in the middle of it!)

So how do you make your own sensory balloons? Easy Peasy.

Step 1: Gather your materials.

  • soda or water bottle
  • scissors
  • 1/4 c measuring cup
  • balloons
  • fillers – flour, sugar, corn starch and water/glue, bird seed (or some other small seed like flax), steel cut oats, whatever you want.

Step 2: Prepare your work space:

  • Using your scissors, cut the top off of a soda or water bottle
  • Gather your fillers – we used flour, sugar, corn starch & glue, and steel cut oats
  • Blow up the balloons and then let the air out to stretch them out

Step 3: Fill your balloons

Fit the end of your balloon over the mouth of the funnel. Let the kids help hold the funnel/balloon, measure 1/4 cup of filler, pour it into the funnel and shake it down into the balloon.

Carefully pry the balloon off of the funnel and tie it off while squishing out as much air as possible.

Repeat.

We made 3 of each so each child had their own sensory balloons.

Step 4:  Play! (After you clean up your mess.)

I wasn’t sure how much glue to pour into the corn starch balloons, as a result each one is different. The one with the most glue felt like it was full of pudding. The one with the least glue felt like it was full of silly putty. The sugar was a fave because you could squish it flat or mold it to a small extent and it would retain its shape. The steel cut oats provide the most sensory input and is also a fave. Personally, I find the flour very soft and relaxing, a better stress ball for me, I guess. =)

The kids enjoy playing with these quietly while I read to them. It’s my hope that they can help provide some sensory stimulation for my hands on learners who need to wiggle while I read!

I hope you enjoy your homemade Sensory Balls. ( But here’s a tip… if you should allow your child to take one in your mom’s car.. don’t let him take the one with corn starch and the most glue. Should he pop it in her car, she will not be happy!! (Eeep!)


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Rachel
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Rachel

Way cool! I know commercial stress balls are doubled up on the outer coating…putting one balloon inside another will help prevent leaks if the ball gets a little too stressed. =)

Amber
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Amber

Hm, I didn’t think of that! I wonder how hard it would be to slip a second balloon over a first one – and before or after we fill it? Hm.

Apparently this one popped because he was digging his nails into it (which I’d told them not to do.) =p Boyz!

Karen
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Karen

What a great idea. This would be good for people who have sensory problems. I would also try to find a way to place two balloons together.

Rachel R.
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Rachel R.

What a great idea! I’ll have to make some of those for my niece and nephew!

Amber
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Amber

Thanks!! Let us know how they turn out!!

Ami
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Ami

My older son will love this! Thanks for a fun idea. He’ll like squeezing it while he reads. He’s quite the sensory kid. 🙂

Amber
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Amber

You’re welcome!! My younger two are especially tactile, I knew they’d love this, too!! But even my oldest enjoys them.

Janice
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Janice

I made these today with flour, rice, and salt; I came online to find more filling ideas. The glue/cornstarch sounds fun.
I double layered my balloons by filling one, then cutting the tip off the other before stretching it over the first. Not easy, but I did it in the end (2 pairs of hands might have helped).
I’m also going to draw faces and add yarn ‘hair’ with my son this afternoon.

Janice
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Janice

To clarify: by tip, I mean the rolled part of the opening.

Amber
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Amber

Very cool! Thanks!

Vickie
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Vickie

For the cornstarch and glue filling. . . do you mix the cornstarch & glue before putting into the balloon, or do you add them separately and mix them by squishing them in the balloon?

Amber
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Amber

We added them separately and squished the balloon — but we decided that if we do it again, we’ll mix a small amount in a bowl first, to find the ratio of cornstarch to glue that we like so that we have a “recipe” for how much to add to the balloons.

Vickie
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Vickie

So I tried it. . . . I live in Russia, so I used potato starch instead of cornstarch. (It’s what’s available here.) When I added the glue to it, it dried instantly and got kind of weird. Definitely not like silly putty or pudding. =/ After I filled it, I added some lavender essential oil. I got some on the balloon. I was afraid that it might weaken it–it did. =/ Thankfully, the mess was anticipated and therefore contained. =) I made another one using the same potato starch, and I got a second balloon stretched over it for… Read more »

Amber
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Amber

Huh, how weird? I’ve never used potato starch.. I don’t know if it was that or if you just really need to mix them together in the balloon.. or maybe we need to stir the starch into the glue instead of the glue into the starch? I do know that one of ours came out hard and almost unworkable, one came out squishy with little lumps in it, and the other came out in the middle. It may not be the best filler.
I liked the sugar, and the flour, those two were pretty cool. =)

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Ms. Wagner
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Ms. Wagner

I STRONGLY advise against the sugar as a filler! My students made these in PE this week for use during statewide testing as a ‘stress’ buster. My stress went THROUGH THE ROOF as two of my quietest, most gentle students’ stress balls BUSTED all over their tests, their desks and the floor!

Debbie
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Debbie

For those with latex allergies, you could use the latex free gloves. A “hand me your stress” glove!

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