We all are seeing the effects of screens and devices on our students’ fine motor skills. And we’re always looking for easy ways to work in fine motor practice. Plus, we all love a good DIY project that has so many uses. Well, that’s why sensory bags are awesome. Read on to find out how to make a sensory bag and how we use it for sight words!
What Is A Sensory Bag?
A sensory bag is honestly a zip-loc bag filled with hair gel. This gives the students a sensory experience and a tactile experience when working on skills. Or it can just be used for a fun sensory experience.
How To Make Sensory Bags
This is quite simple. You will need hair gel and zip-loc bags. If you’re going to use it for word work or sight words, you’ll need some letter tiles. (And can we just acknowledge that this stuff is a straight throwback to Mr. Greg in middle school…)
Simply fill a gallon size zip-loc bag with 1.5 bottles of hair gel. That’s one and a half bottles.
And then you close that bag. And you insert it into a second gallon size zip-loc bag. Basically, you’re double bagging it so it’s less likely to rip or tear. But, let’s be real. Eventually, they will rip or tear. It’s like. It happens and it’s OK. It’s just hair gel. If it gets on a kid’s hands, just run it through your hair and style your new look!
How To Use Sensory Bags
The easiest way to use these fun toys is just to let kids hold them and play with them or run their fingers around the bags. This gives them some fine motor work but also gives them a calming sensory experience.
For us, we use the bags to really work those fine motor skills while practicing sight words.
Before you seal the bag, you can add letter tiles. Students can then slide the letter tiles around to spell sight words!
We use these letter beads from Roylco. I like these because they’re rounded and don’t have sharp edges so they won’t tear the bag. (CLICK THE IMAGE TO GET THEM FROM AMAZON!)
Here’s my helpful tip: plan the sight words you want in each bag. Then add the letters to make those sight words. Place the sensory bag and word cards in a center or use it in small groups. Students choose a card, read the sight word and spell the sight word by using their finger to slide the letters around. Then they write the word!
For our sensory bags, we use these sight word cards:
For more sight word ideas, check out Sight Word 60: