Sensory bags are a favourite in our CEFA Early Learning school classrooms, and if you try making them at home, you will understand why. They provide hours of mess-free entertainment for babies and are great fun for older children as well. If you and your child made our glow in the dark sidewalk chalk, you will be able to use the same paint for this activity. These glow in the dark sensory bags are so mesmerizing to watch, they look like tiny flat lava lamps. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Best Ages for This Activity

Zero to three

How to Make It

This is per sensory bag. If you want to make more than one bag so you have different colours, just adjust the quantities.

  • 1 sandwich size ziploc bag (I like the freezer bags as they are a little thicker and can withstand more loving touches) – check to make sure it does not leak first
  • ¾ cup baby oil (you can use any oil, even cooking oil. I like this one because it is transparent)
  • Clear packaging tape
  • 2 tbsp fluorescent paint or glow in the dark paint (this one does not need a black light to activate, just light)
  • 2 tbsp very hot water

Optional Ingredients

Let’s Get Started!

  • If you wish, you can prepare the bags beforehand and give them to baby once they are done, to play with. If you have an older child, they can help you prepare the bags with you for their little sibling, or for them to play with.
  • Check that you Ziploc bag has no leaks by first filling it with water, closing it, and making sure no water leaks out. Then empty the bag and dry it on the inside.
  • Fill 1/3 of the bag with baby oil.
  • In a cup, mix 2 tbsp of paint with 2 tbsp very hot water. When it is well mixed, add to the Ziploc bag. You can adjust the amount of paint or oil to your liking.
  • Take all the air out of the Ziploc bag and seal the bag hermetically.
  • once sealed, tape the opening with clear plastic tape for extra protection.
  • Voilà!
  • If you use glow in the dark paint, you would have to expose the bag to light before it can glow in the dark (daylight is perfect). The more light it absorbs, the more it will glow. If you use fluorescent paint, you will need a black light. You can also use the black light on glow in the dark bags, to make them pop even more.
  • If you have a black light, you won’t need to expose the bag to light, you can just shine the black light on it and watch how beautifully it glows.

Learning Opportunities

Learning to make play materials is a great life skill. Your child will feel great pride, and it boosts their self-esteem. Children will learn S.T.E.M. while measuring, combining, mixing, counting, dissolving, etc. This recipe also has a great amount of hand-eye coordination skills, and of fine motor skills, a precursor to writing. following directions also teaches reading and S.T.EM.. If your bag is for your young baby, the learning benefits are in the sensory experience, which is importance for science and for writing.

Extended Learning Opportunities
Tape your sensory bag to a window or to a wall for your child to play with it in a different way!

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