Children on the Autism spectrum can often have sensory processing difficulties, so much so that it affects their day to day life considerably. I’ve written plenty of material on this subject over the past 4 years but if you want to find out a little more on the subject just click HERE to be taken to one of my most detailed posts.
If you follow my blog you will already know that all my little mans senses are somewhat sensitive especially that of his tactile sense (touch). This can often make life very difficult for him. He can only wear certain material and practically lives in jogging bottoms (I can’t remember the last time he wore a pair of jeans). However, its not just his clothing that he finds difficult to tolerate but everyday things that he needs to touch such as pencils, or certain plastic and more besides. Little man explains that by touching certain objects he is left feeling “Fuzzy” his whole body goes cold, his hairs stand on end and his skin tingles endlessly. He describes such an experience to be painful even.
Nonetheless, there are certain textures little man wants to touch. He will seek such textures out and cannot rest In till his got a hold of them. This combined with his constant need for movement has resulted in me buying many types of sensory toy. When buying such items I look for toys that not only provide a pleasant tactile experience but also ones that double up as a fidget as well as stress relievers to help avoid meltdowns.
We have discovered some fabulous items online and many of them costing very little money. However, we can go through such high numbers that this can actually work out rather costly in the long run. That’s why I’ve taken to making them myself.
Today I want to share a really easy to follow step by step tutorial that shows you how you too can create easy handmade tactile sensory buddies with nothing more than some thread, felt, buttons and dry rice.
So… Here it goes…
To make a tactile sensory buddy you will need the following materials…
A piece of felt in any colour you wish (measuring 17 by 11 cms)
Pen or pencil
Sharp scissors or craft knife
Some tread in the same colour as your chosen felt.
Two medium size buttons of the same colour and size.
One Small pink self adhesive button
Four small red self adhesive buttons
Dry uncooked rice
How to put your buddy together…
1: Firstly cut your felt to size so that it measures roughly 11 cms across and 17 cms in length. Use your ruler to measure and your pen or pencil to clearly mark out where it is you will need to cut (don’t worry about pen marks as these wont be seen when finished.
2: once you have cut out your felt fold it in half and with your ruler and pen draw a line about half a centimetre from the edge of the felt on all the open sides of your fabric (not the folded bottom section). Hold in place with a few of your dress pins.
3: Now take your needle and thread in the same colour as your felt and start sewing along the 2 lines located at the sides (not the top section this comes after). Don’t worry to much if it looks a tad untidy with dangly loose ends etc as this will form the inner body of your tactile sensory buddy once you’ve turned it inside out.
4: Now sew along the top line but stop and tie of your thread once you hit the halfway mark. This section will be sewn later once we have turned the buddy inside out and sewed on all the accessories and filled it with rich.
5: Now turn your felt inside out so once closed no traces of tread can be seen.
6: Once you have done this turn your felt so that the smallest part becomes the top and the unstitched section is now at the side.
7: Now sew the two medium buttons on as eyes. Sew these on just one side of your buddy and sew them on from the inside so the ties are hidden. Do this by accessing the inside from the area you have yet to sew.
8: Now fill the buddy with dry uncooked rice and sew the remaining area. You could also use material glue to keep things tidy.
9: Add the pink self adhesive button for the nose.
10: Add your four red buttons as a mouth.
This is a really simple addition to the collection I plan on creating. Be as creative as you like. Add funky feathers, painted spots, stripes and more.
The rice provides a very satisfying tactile experience and can be squeezed and played with easily. A great homemade sensory toy that doubles up as a fabulous stress toy… Sick! (Little mans words not mine by the way!)