Forget the Fidget Spinner: 3 DIY Sensory Toys That Are Just as Fun

Whip up one of these easy-to-make, sensory-friendly toys to help keep active kiddos occupied.

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Children learn through their senses. Therefore, a great way to encourage your kids to explore their surroundings is through sensory play, which facilitates learning by promoting creativity and curiosity in a fun environment — a win-win in our book! Popular sensory toys, like fidget spinners, also provide a much-needed creative or energetic outlet for restlessness, allowing children to more easily focus on the task at hand. Keep reading to learn how to make three fun sensory toys from objects around the house or with scrap craft supplies.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Project No. 1: Marble Maze

Marble mazes are perfect for developing fine motor skills. For this project, you can use any type of thicker fabric like felt or fleece. Craft felt works great because it's inexpensive and comes is an array of fun colors. Use a contrasting thread to make the maze really pop out.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

What You'll Need

  • a marble
  • sewing machine and thread
  • pins

Print Template + Pin

Print out this marble maze template, then trim it down, leaving 1/4" around the outer border. Stack the two pieces of felt, then center the template on top and pin it in place. Cut away excess felt fabric.

Sew

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Sew along the template lines.

Add Marble + Finish Up

Insert the marble between the two pieces of felt at the maze opening, then sew around the border of the template. Make sure you move the marble out of the way of the presser foot as you go around. Gently remove the paper template to reveal the maze!

Project No. 2: Button Chain

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

These cute felt button chain links are perfect quiet-time toys. They help improve fine motor skills and teach a valuable skill: how to button!

What You'll Need

  • stiff craft felt, various colors
  • large buttons, various colors
  • needle and thread
  • sewing machine button foot (optional)

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Cut Fabric

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Cut felt into 2"x9" strips. The number of strips you make depends on how long you want your chain to be. We made six.

Make Button Hole

Place the button on one end of the strip, then draw a line to mark where the bottom of the button will sit. Cut a slit (or sew a buttonhole with a sewing machine) on that line large enough for the button to fit through. Repeat with other strips.

Attach Buttons

Sew the button on the opposite end of the felt strip. Repeat with the other strips, then link the chain loops together. Fidgety kiddos will enjoy buttoning and unbuttoning this chain again and again.

Project No. 3: Texture Cube

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Let little ones explore different textures and colors all in one toy. 

What You'll Need

  • wood block
  • glue gun
  • various toys, craft supplies, etc
  • paint (optional)

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Use various types of colors and textures: hard, soft, fuzzy, bumpy, etc.

Paint + Glue

Paint the wood block a fun, bright color like yellow or orange (optional). Once dry, use a hot glue gun to glue various sensory-friendly materials to each side of the block. We used a piece of wool, bubble wrap, faux fur fabric, small Legos, pipe cleaners and two types of fuzzy pom-poms.

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