Using stress balls can be extremely beneficial for your children. Whether they are in your sensory bin readily available in your calm corner, stress balls are always a good idea!
- Water bottle & funnel or funnel cup
- ½ cup filler material per balloon (see below)
- Cups or bowls (optional)
- Scissors (optional)
Balloon filler material options:
- Self-rising flour
- Water balls “Orbeez”
- Soup mix
- Dry tea powder
- Split peas
Step 1: Fill the bottle
Provide lots of material options for sensory to select from. Our favourite is the soft fillers like flour, the feeling is very calming. Fill the bottle halfway using a funnel or funnel cup as shown in the pictures.
Step 2: Blow up your balloon
Blow your balloon about halfway and secure with a few twists so that no air can escape. Secure the balloon over the top of the bottle or funnel cup.
Step 3: Tip and Fill
Pick up the bottle and tip it upside down, shake all the filler into the balloon. A blown up balloon will allow to pour the filler much easier than a none blown balloon and you will be able to fill your balloons with more filler to create a bigger ball.
Step 4: Let the air out
Secure the neck of the balloon and slowly squeeze the remaining air out of the balloon until all the air is out. If you let the air out too fast the filling might fly out. If the ball is not your desired size you can pour some of the filler out or of it’s too small repeat step 1, 2 and 3.
Step 5: Secure the balloon
When you are happy with your balloon size and all or most of the air is out, run your fingers down the neck of the balloon to push down any filler. Secure the balloon with a knot. At this point you could be finished as shown in the pictures or you could cut of the tail of the balloon to round it off (optional). Roll the balloon in your hand to round out the ball.
Benefits of Sensory balls
Sensory balls are great because they can be used in several ways.
- Stress balls can help children calm down. Simply manipulating a stress ball and applying pressure on it with one or two hands while paying attention to their breathing can calm little minds and over excited little bodies.
- They can help develop body awareness
- They can help a child mange their emotions (anger, sad, restless etc.)
- They can help when a child feels nervous or stressed due to a specific situation
- Before a nap or bedtime to help decrease children’s energy levels
A simple activity involving stress balls:
Sit in a circle with your group. Give each child a stress ball. Encourage them to close their eyes to promote calmness. Invite them to breath in as they squeeze their stress balls and to release their stress balls as they breath out. Repeat this exercise until all are overwhelmed with a sense of calm!