Therapeutic Toys You Can Make at Home

Updated on October 19, 2017
DMChristiansen profile image

Christiansen's son, Jackie, is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is the author of Planet A: A Mother's Memoir of ASD.

Turn These Common Household Products Into Fun!

3 DIY Therapeutic Toys That We Love

Therapeutic toys can be expensive. With all the doctors’ visits and therapy sessions that many parents of special needs children pay for out-of-pocket, it’s nice to be able to cut corners somewhere. Here are three great therapeutic toy ideas that are easy to make at home and use many of the products you already have in your cabinet. Each toy takes minutes to make and is designed to take with you to keep children occupied and their hands busy.

1. Sensory Bag

Grab a can of shaving cream from the bathroom, a plastic Ziploc bag and some food coloring, that’s it! Open the bag and spray a dollop of shaving cream in each corner and one in the middle. The Ziploc freezer bags work best because they are sturdier than the sandwich bags. Add a drop of food coloring to each of the side dollops and zip up the bag. Your child can have fun pushing the shaving cream together to mix the colors and create a new one. I used blue and yellow. This is an easy activity to throw together before leaving for a long car ride or outing.

2. Lava Sensory Bottle

I used a smaller size water bottle for this project, knowing that I wanted to be able to throw it in my purse to pull out during stressful times. The Nestle Pure Life, 8.0 Oz is the perfect size. Empty one-half to two-thirds of the water from the bottle. Add several drops of food coloring to the water then refill the bottle with any cooking oil. Turn the bottle upside down several times to mix and see the lava action. You may want to glue the top onto the bottle to make sure there won’t be any leaks. That’s it! You can add glitter or beads to make it more exciting but the lava action might be enough to calm your child during a stressful situation.

3. Therapy Putty

I was surprised at how simple this was to make on my own. With several brands selling for as much as $10, this took two products and was a fraction of the price to make. All you need is lotion and cornstarch. Start by putting an ounce or two of lotion in a bowl. I liked the FRAGFRE lotion from Amazon. Add cornstarch, a tablespoon at a time and mix. Use your hands to combine well. It will stick to your fingers at first but just keep mixing. Roll into a small ball and add food coloring if you wish. Your child can play with the putty in a bag or with their hands and you can make as much or as little as you need. I made a very small ball and stored in a bag to take in my purse.

As parents of special needs children, we don’t have much extra time and these therapeutic toys are a great way to quickly put something together with minimal cost. You can make several sensory bottles and keep one in the car and another at home. Tuck the therapy putty into your child’s backpack and throw together a sensory bag as you walk out the door. Sometimes these little things can really help.

Make Your Own Putty and Sensory Bag

Great Lotion!

FRAGFRE Natural & Organic Body Lotion Parabens Free Natural Scent Organic Face Hand & Body Lotion for Men, Women & Children 8 oz - Cruelty Free Gluten Free Vegan Organic Moisturizing Body Lotion
FRAGFRE Natural & Organic Body Lotion Parabens Free Natural Scent Organic Face Hand & Body Lotion for Men, Women & Children 8 oz - Cruelty Free Gluten Free Vegan Organic Moisturizing Body Lotion

This FRAGFRE lotion is great for the putty. It is fragrance free which worked great for my son who has sensory issues. Plus, I really like that it's organic. It does have a light scent but we found it soothing rather than overwhelming. 8oz goes a long way since we only used about 2-3 oz for our putty.



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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great stuff. My son has more toys than he could play with in a year. But he much prefers us making our own. These are cool.