Engaging sensory crafts to make at home

Do-it-yourself projects to help with boredom, mental health


Jayde Classen

This illustration is the process of making a calm down jar. The jar is made to help cope with anxiety. It does this by giving a temporary distraction and allowing you to focus on breathing while it is spinning.

Jayde Claussen

During quarantine, boredom has kicked in and on top of that, if you struggle with ADHD or anxiety, it may be hard to get tasks done. According to a study by the National Center of Mental Health Research, Information and Workforce Development one way to help cope is with the use of sensory crafts, which are things like stress balls, sensory jars or fidgets. These tools are not only fun to make, but they also help promote relaxation, stress relief and aid in focusing. The following are four different sensory crafts you can make with household objects.

Sensory Jar

The first craft is called a sensory jar and according to psychologist Jennefer Delgado, it can help manage anxiety. The main supplies you will need are a jar, a mixture of water and glue and something that will float in the mixture. For example, you can use glitter, beads, rice, food coloring, pom poms, legos, rubber bands or anything else you have lying around your house which will float in the mixture. To make this, mix two parts glue to one part water, stir then add your objects and close the lid.  If you want this project to last a while, you can glue the lid shut with hot or super glue. Shaking the bottle can help with anxiety by giving you a temporary distraction, which is used as a way of redirecting yourself. It’s a trick used by teachers of young students to calm them. When you shake the jar, you start to focus on breathing, and as the liquid settles you begin to calm down. Once it’s settled you can repeat the process until you feel better. While it may seem simple, it works really well for calming down.

Recycled fidget

This toy is perfect for fidgeting with while working on homework. If you or anyone in your family drinks out of aluminum cans then this craft is great for you. You’ll need at least five pull tabs from the tops of the cans, a key ring and nail polish to change the color of your fidget. All you need to do is take the pull tabs and slide the larger hole on the key ring and you’re done. To make the fidget more aesthetically pleasing, you can paint it with nail polish.

I-spy Jar

If you ever need something distracting you that will take you a while to do, this project is perfect. Some people refer to it as an I-spy jar. You will need a bottle or jar, rice and any small objects you can find in your house like beads, hair ties, old keys or small plastic things. To make the jar you’ll need to add at least half a cup of rice and drop in your objects. All you have to do is shake the bottle and try and find all the items. If you’d like, you can also glue the lid shut with hot glue or super glue. This craft gives a temporary distraction and form of entertainment by allowing yourself to calm down and search for things.

Stress ball

 Another easy craft to make is stress balls. This craft is versatile and can be made easily. There are many variations of stress balls. One way of making them is by using balloons, and either two parts flour to one part water or just flour alone. If you do not have any balloons, you can use a thin winter glove filled with rice or beans and sew or glue the end of it shut. According to WebMD, when we get stressed or anxious our bodies tend to tense up, this project helps by giving a temporary object to squeeze which leaves the body feeling more relaxed.