10 under $10 Sensory Must-Haves
Why does everyone keep talking about sensory toys and what’s the hype? Well for me working with children who have experienced trauma, their senses are either in overdrive and need regulating or they are absent and need stimulating.
The senses of seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling and feeling activate their minds and can calm their nervous system that often is in overdrive. So look at the children you are working with or your own children and work out do they need something to calm their senses or something to stimulate it?
I love using everyday items or bargain items to build my sensory kit at work. Probably some of my best finds come from 2 Dollar shops or my favourite shop of all time-Kmart! So go looking and try and find the best bang for you buck before spending hundreds of dollars on sensory toys. These are my top 10 under $10 sensory must haves.
Play-Doh is one of the most versatile sensory tools to use with children. It is cheap to buy, even easier to make and children of all ages are aware of play-doh.
To spice up the sensory experience of Play-Doh here are some tips:
- Add some glitter
- Add a few drops of essential oil
- Add leaves, bark or small pebbles for a nature experience
Available: Kmart (Play-Doh Party Bag x15: $10)
Bubbles, Bubbles, MY BUBBLES!
Great tool for children to not only run around and chase but to learn controlled breathing. Many students may find blowing bubbles difficult-practice makes perfect!
Available: Kmart (24 mini bubbles: $5, mini bubble wands x8: $2 or mega bubble wand: $0.75)
Feathers are a calming experience and help regulate breathing. Stroke the feather along arms for calming. Hold feather up and have students control their breathing by blowing the feather.
Available: Kmart (Craft feathers: $2)
4. Squishy Toys
Tactile, fidgety, calming and regulating. These are definitely one of my stock standards in sensory kits. They are all SO different. They have lights inside them, they make noises, they have spiky bits and squishy bits and move and stretch and roll.
Available: One Stop Sensory Shop (See Anemone: $4)
5. Stretchy dinosaurs
Pull them, squish them, throw them on the walls and roof! Have them in the car for your children to help them do something with their hands and stay settled. Or include them in your lesson and have students measure how long the can make their stretchy animal (I am sure can include that somewhere in your measurement outcomes).
Available: Kmart (Sticky and Stretchy Animals: $3)
|Sticky and Stretchy Animals|
6. Fidget toys
They come in ALL shapes and sizes. Small, discreet and great for everyday fidgeters. Often students who have experienced trauma heart rate is way above other students and their body is in survival mode, therefore hard for them to sit still.
Available: One Stop Sensory Shop (Wooden Flexi Robot: $7)
Sue Larkey (Twist puzzle Key Chain: $3)
Leave it to Leslie (Twist and Lock: $2.20 and Twist and Lock Dinosaur: $10)
|Twist Puzzle Key Chain|
|Twist and Lock|
Transition times or calming down after activities are often the hardest times during the day for our students. Having warnings and timers not only help give time to activities ending but the liquid timers can provide soothing experience as it regulates their heart rate and breathing watching the liquid settle.
Available: Sue Larkey (15 sec wheel timer key ring: $4)
Leave it to Lesley (Mini Hourglass timer: $9)
8. Wooden Massager
Soothing fidget toy that can give pressure to different parts of the body or massage hands. Great for adults too!
Available: Sue Larkey (Wooden Massager: $4)
Basic and simple, simply add strips along the desk for different sensory experiences. Are you feeling in a soft or spiky mood today?
Available: Kmart (Hook and Loop Tape: $3)
10. Rubber bands
Small or large or even exercise bands. I love using exercise bands on the chair legs to help students sit still in their seat and have resistance and exercise with their legs without getting out of their seat.
Available: Kmart (Stretch bands x3: $8)
Get creative! Think outside the box. Would love to see what else you may be able to think of to add to your own sensory box!
Websites to access resources: Sue Larkey
One Stop Sensory Shop
Leave it to Leslie