Category Archives: SmartKnit DIY

SmartKnit DIY: Sensory Fidget Board

Who couldn’t use a Sensory Fidget Board?  This sensory toy is perfect for helping children focus their anxious and fidgety behavior.  The different textures, sounds and even scents of each piece of the fidget board will appeal to the senses.

Just like our sensory bottles, the Sensory Fidget Board is very easy to make at home with regular household tools AND can be customized for each person.  A fun way to plan your sensory board might include a shopping trip for the child who will use the board.  Wal-Mart and dollar stores are great places to start.  You can also buy many of these items on Amazon, too, if you familiar with the touch and texture of each item.  Choose things that your child is naturally drawn to and enjoys touching and holding.  We selected a few fun items that we liked for our sensory board, but the possibilities are truly endless!

Watch our step by step video for instructions on how to make ours.  Then, just adjust depending on whatever amazing items you choose for yours!

Sensory Fidget Board

IMG_6029

Supplies:

Directions:

  1. Using the pencil, trace the shape of the board onto the foam sheet.
  2. Use your scissors to cut out the foam shape.
  3. Peel off the backing from the foam sheet and carefully place it over the board.
  4. Carefully arrange the items onto the board and begin attaching them with glue gun or staple gun.  Be careful not to melt anything with your glue gun.
  5. When applying the hook and loop fastener, match up the hook side to the loop side as closely as possible and glue one side to your board.  Then add a small amount of glue in between the hook side and the loop side, so the two pieces stay together on the board but most of the strip will unfasten.
  6. Once you’re done attaching all your items, let the glue cool and harden.  That’s it!  Enjoy! 😉

IMG_6045

This was what we came up with, but the possibilities are truly endless.  😉

Here are a few other things that would work great on a sensory board!

Cotton balls

Mesh or Loufa sponges

Paint brushes or makeup brushes

Rubber bands

Silky hair ribbons

Silicone basting brush

Safety mirror (no sharp edges)

Raffia strips

Fine grain sand or smooth pebbles enclosed in plastic or fabric bag (ensure all sides are closed so nothing can escape)

Glass accent gems or marbles

Beaded play jewelry

Plastic hair curlers

Feathers

Slow-rising squeeze toys

Felt

We also love the idea of including water beads – as these are so nice to touch – but we couldn’t figure out a way to attach them and still get the full effect of them.  If you can think of a way, send us a message and let us know!

SmartKnit DIY: Calm Down Bottles

Have you heard about Calm Down Bottles?  They are Sensory Tools to help in calming anxious children that have sensory sensitivities.  Children can watch the calming movement in the bottles, which helps them to self-regulate when their emotions become overwhelming.  They’re pretty nice for adults, too! 😉

The best thing about sensory bottles is that you can make them yourself AND they can be completely customized to each person.  When we were researching how to make Calm Down Bottles, we discovered that there are an abundance of different methods and materials that can be used.  The results can give you totally different looks and feels.  You may have to experiment with different possibilities to find the right one for you and your child.  After testing lots of different possibilities, we came up with two options that we really liked.  Those instructions are below, as well as a step by step video.

Calm Down Bottle #1 – Ocean Inspired

IMG_5125

Supplies:

IMG_5112

Directions:

  1. Using a funnel, pour glitter into the water bottle. – You can determine the amount, but definitely cover the bottom of the bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle 1/3 of the way full with oil. – This isn’t a precise measurement, as your bottle size might vary, but if you fill the bottle 1/3 of the way, you’ll have the best results.
  3. Fill up the rest of the bottle with water, but leave some space at the top.
  4. Remove the funnel and add food coloring. – A few drops should do it, but you can determine if it needs more color.
  5. Screw on lid – make sure it’s tight.
  6. Shake it up.
  7. At this point, you can determine if it needs anything additional – maybe more glitter or more food color. Play around with it for a little while.  See what it does after an hour or two or a day.  Once you are satisfied with your results, use super glue to glue the lid on before giving it to your children.  This is optional, but might be necessary to keep the kids from experimenting with the contents on their own. 😉

Calm Down Bottle #2 – Fuzzy Pom-poms

Supplies:

IMG_5112_2

Directions:

  1. Using a funnel, fill bottle 1/3 of the way full with oil.
  2. Fill up the rest of the bottle with water, but leave some space at the top.
  3. Pour a generous amount of water beads into the bottle.
  4. Remove funnel. Drop pom-poms into bottle.
  5. Using a funnel, pour glitter into the bottle.
  6. Screw on lid – make sure it’s tight.
  7. Shake it up.
  8. Like the first bottle, once you’re satisfied with the results, use super glue to glue the on before giving it to your children.

IMG_5136

These were the two we liked best, but what we learned is that the possibilities are truly endless.  We saw some bottles that used only water as a base.  Some had hand soap.  Others had clear or glitter glue in the water.  We saw one that used corn syrup.  Or, you could use mineral oil instead of canola oil.  For us, canola gave it a little bit more of the cloudy look we were going for, but mineral oil makes a nice alternative.  We even saw some bottle that used clear hair gel as a base.  This option didn’t really work well for us, but it could have been user error. 😉

The water beads were a really nice option, but the different base liquids can really affect how the water beads “behave”.  We decided that glitter was nearly a must, as it gave each of the bottles kind of a sparkly and dreamy look.  But several of the bottles we made didn’t have glitter, and they were nice, too.  The pom-poms were fun, but you can put all sorts of different objects in the bottles to watch what they do.  We saw one suggestion that used acrylic shapes, pony beads, small colored hair bands, perler beads or even large shaped confetti.

We also saw a sensory bottle that didn’t use a water base.  Instead, they stuffed a bunch of twigs from the backyard inside the bottle making sure they were not all straight up and down, but kind of haphazardly arranged.  (You can purchase craft twigs, also.) Then they added another element for sound.  In this instance they used dried rice.  The idea was that all the rice would race to one end when the bottle was turned over to make sounds.  Because the sticks were also in the bottle, the rice would catch on the sticks a little bit.  Any number of elements could be used in a sound sensory bottle, such as sand, dried beans, paper clips, popcorn kernels or small pebbles.

dc65d5a3492cd5a225b8ba4a565a72ad

Image from Rhythms of Play.  Check them out for more great ideas!

Finally, the best idea we saw in all of our research was the use of a small wine rack to make a sensory bottle rack.  A parent made several different kinds of sensory bottles and stored them all in a small wine rack.  When their child needed to use a sensory bottle, each of the bottles was arranged in the rack for the child to choose the one he wanted.  Brilliant!

One last note on the Voss bottle.  As we stated previously, we used Voss bottles because they have such a nice shape and work well for sensory bottles.  Any type of bottle will do, though.  We also used Voss glass bottles, but if you are concerned about the bottles breaking, we recommend plastic!

290926_m16

We hope that you enjoy making your own DIY Calm Down Bottles.  We really had a lot of fun ourselves and truly didn’t realize all of the amazing possibilities!