These touchy-feely sensory pouches (also known as squish bags and sensory pads) are a wonderful way to explore the senses. They are also so easy to make! Making sensory pouches is a quick and inexpensive way to make an engaging and relaxing sensory activity for people living with dementia.
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These touchy-feely sensory pouches (also known as squish bags and sensory pads) are a wonderful way to explore the senses. Filled with interesting textures, sensory pouches are stimulating to look at and touch.

They are also so easy to make! Making sensory pouches is a quick and inexpensive way to make an engaging and relaxing sensory activity for people living with dementia.


  • Ziplock bags in whatever size you prefer
  • Hair gel, sand or shaving cream
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Duct tape of any colour 5cm (2 inches) wide


  • Anything small and soft (sharp items will perforate the plastic) such as: Buttons, coins, plastic flowers, shells, river pebbles, glitter, beads, sponges, pearls, flat marbles, leftover game pieces, rubber ‘sea’ toys.


  • Take a Ziplock bag and tape three sides with duct tape, trimming the edges as you go (carefully so as not to cut the plastic!)
  • Open zip side of bags and pour in gel, sand or shaving cream.
    Note: You may add two drops of food colouring to clear gel if desired
  • Insert decorations as you please
  • Squeeze as much of the air out as you can when sealing the bag
  • Zip bag shut and fasten shut with duct tape

Clients living with dementia should be supervised at all times while handling the sensory pouches.

Video Instructions

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Lee-Ann 31st Oct 2022 Activity Coordinator
Hi, I love this idea and can’t wait to try them out. I am new to activities coordinator role so it’s great being able to share all these wonderful ideas as I have been trying to build up a resource folder filled with ideas to have to hand and that I can then tailor to each resident. Can someone tell me the benefits to this sensory activity for my evidence for CQC? Thanks
Activities 9th Dec 2021
I have just spent my afternoon off making some of these for my residents. I have found it quite therapeutic making them so hope my residents enjoy them
Talita 13th Dec 2021
So good to hear! Thanks for your feedback.
Aubree 11th Nov 2020
I love the idea of sensory bags!! now I can use ziplock bags and then secure the seal with heat, however is it better to use pouches and if so, where can I buy the pouches? I know Solange you mentioned buying the pouches instead of ziplock bags.

Thank you!

Maurice 12th Nov 2020
Hi Aubree!

From memory the ziplocks were just standard google qualtiy ziplocks purcahsed from a supermarket. Nothing very special and should be fairly easy to source. You can see them without the coverings in the video at the 10 second mark.

Hope that helps!
Solange 12th Nov 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Aubree, the pouches can be bought online. However, they were limited they were rather small only (9 inches- 17 cm) and came in packets of 5. Since I bought many years ago, perhaps now they have larger sizes. All the best, keep safe.
Dot 22nd Aug 2019
Sensory pouches sound like a fantastic idea!
Susan 7th Jul 2019 Activity Director
Agnieszka I am so glad you find this idea useful
As you explore golden Carers you’ll find many wonderful ideas
However if you have any questions make sure you share them because we have many activity professionals with many great ideas
Also if you’ve had ideas that worked especially well for you and you would like to share them with us we would love to hear about them
Thank you
Agnieszka 7th Jul 2019
Wow I love this idea!!!!! Fabulous!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!
Talita 7th Jul 2019
Thank you so much for your feedback Agnieszka!
Jenny 17th Apr 2019 Personal Carer
Do you just put a little bit of gel in the sensory pooches ?

I do DT as well as a carer
Solange 24th Jun 2019 Diversional Therapist
Hi Jenny, the amount of gel should be about 1cm or 1/4 inches when the pouch is resting flat.
Some people put a little more, it is up to you.
Jenny 12th Apr 2019 Personal Carer
I am looking for more ideas for a client that is bed ridden, dementia doesn't speak, I'm going to try the sensory pouches, memory box, he is 24/7 care, ideas would grately apprciaged

Many thanks Jenny
Solange 13th Apr 2019 Diversional Therapist
Hi Jenny, the tighter you make it the longer it lasts. Also, buy good quality plastic pouches. Ours lasted for about 7 months. Eventually, they leek through accidents.
Jenny 13th Apr 2019 Personal Carer
Where do you buy the good quality pouches I made 3 with zip locks, wouldnt they be any good ? Don't know how I did. I want to make a sensory bottle as well
Jenny 12th Apr 2019 Personal Carer
I would like to try these as well, I have a man with progressive brain disease and has caused dementia, he is bed ridden and we have so much time with him I would like to find things to stimulate him when he is awake. He doesnt speak. Does the hair gel leak out ?

Frances Mei 20th Mar 2019
I came across this activity suggestion and i tried it.I played around using different kinds of beads, buttons and food coloring. Instead of using a ziplock bag, i used a plastic balloon as it has a stronger material and sealed it with heat.

Here are some pictures.
Talita 1st Apr 2019
Thank you so much for sharing how you made your sensory pouches complete with photos! They look amazing! Wow!
Cheryl-Lee 15th Jun 2019 Recreational Activities Officers
Where did you find the plastic balloons??
Thank you in advance.
Leisel 1st May 2022 Leisure And Lifestyle
Francis mei, how/what heat method did you use to seal the balloons for your pouches?
Susan 11th May 2022 Activity Director
Hi Leisel
I imagine you could use a glue gun to seal these
Leticia 23rd Oct 2018 Activity Director
I tried all of this Sensory pouches for my residents and they really enjoyed them thank you Golden Carers
Talita 29th Oct 2018
Thanks so much for your feedback Leticia, this is so good to hear!
Candice E Richards 18th Oct 2018
Great Idea! Made several of these yesterday and they were a hit.
I picked up some fake "snow" (small styro beads) at the dollar store to use instead of sand. Used odds and ends of mini rubber bands, buttons, washers, flat marbles & paper clips. Hair gel, also from dollar store worked well, I added a few drops of gel food color for mixing by residents. The shaving cream was least favorite as it got thin quickly.
Talita 21st Oct 2018
Thanks for the feedback Candice! Love that you used all items from the dollar store, perfect!
Leticia 10th Sep 2018 Activity Director
Great ideas thanks will try to make it for them
Talita 17th Sep 2018
Love to hear how it goes Leticia!
Isabel 24th Jul 2018
I have always tried to find puzzles, games etc that are tactile and challenging for my husband as he is totally blind and has been most of his life. He has Alzheimers and Vascular dementia and having a very high functioning brain it has never been an easy task finding games that would stimulate him but over the years I did manage to find some really great ones but it is a real challenge now. Games such as Monopoly etc do come in Braille but he needed much more challenging games. He loves words and I spend lots of time with him doing word puzzles of various sorts. He loves his Braille books and reads a lot but does not play his piano or any of his musical instruments or use his computer any longer things that were very important to him for many years before dementia set in.. He loved Math and science but unfortunately it seems that these have been the first things to go, he still listens to them via talking books etc but he is now finding that difficult. I am wondering if anyone can tell me where I might find mainly tactile items, things that might be of interest to him . I looked at a lot of word games here and we did a few of them today but I would love to find some tactile games for him. I came across a couple last week at a games and toy store but unfortunately they were not quite what I had hoped for once they were opened. It makes me realise just how much he has lost, a year ago he would have had no trouble at all with them. Thank you for this wonderful site I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into it. I was reading here about those tactile mats / plastic bags filled with different items and as he loved making furniture I think I will fill them with small items such as nails, screws, nuts and bolts etc and all different things that he loved to use with his hobbies the main one building N Gauge rail so thank you to whoever thought of those as it has given me lots of ideas. Isabel
Melissa 13th Feb 2018
I made 3 of them with different textures of material sewed buttons ribbon on them including pitchers on them as well they live them
Oliver 30th Jan 2018
I'm intrigued about trying these! I'm not sure my residents would be able to help make them but I'm sure they'd find them interested if I made them and had sensory sessions with them! Great idea.
Talita 4th Feb 2018
Love to hear how it is received Oliver. Thanks for your feedback!
Imelda 9th Aug 2017
I am going to try this with my residents as well, thank you so much.
Talita 4th Feb 2018
Thanks Imelda!
maria 16th Jun 2017 studying dt
I have made these with great success using rice.
Talita 4th Feb 2018
Using rice is a great idea! Thanks for your feedback Maria.
Diana 14th Jun 2017
I made this today. It's been a great hit with my Life engagement unit.
They Loved it.
Thank you!
Talita 4th Feb 2018
Thanks so much for your feedback Diana!
Julie 9th Feb 2017
I have downloaded and printed many of these activities and they are great
Talita 9th Feb 2017
Thanks for your feedback Julie!
Anthea 8th Feb 2017
Thank you so so much!!! I have tried them and they are absolutely BRILLIANT! I have used hand gel, pebbles, buttons, bobbins, sand and glitter stars ..... not altogether..... ha ha.....but so good for our blind residents, carers and Manager too! Just make sure properly sealed.
Talita 9th Feb 2017
So great to hear Anthea! Thank you so much for your feedback!
Genevieve 7th Feb 2017 Lifestyle Assistant
Sadly these were an epic fail :(
The shaving cream seemed turned to water and seemed to have weakened the plastic, and leaked out ... the hair gel also went watery :( so disappointed...
Any tips?
Talita 9th Feb 2017
oh! So sorry to hear that Genevieve! It sounds like they may not have been sealed adequately. The ones we made turned out so beautifully and have lasted and lasted!
Jenny 6th Dec 2016 Health And Wellbeing Officer
I will try make these for a client of mine from a religious group and try and incorporate religious items of the faith. Ant ideas of where I may get religious small items?
Karen 7th Feb 2017 Lifestyle Lead
Try the Op shops. I found a whole bowl of religious pendants in our local St Vinnie's a month or so ago.

Danielle - Lifestyle Assistant
Heather 12th Jun 2016
These are great, I have been wondering if these would work being attached to a table so they cant be moved for those residents who tend to rip magazines of screw things up when they a fiddling. I also have a gentlemen who bangs on a table for no reason I can find at this time. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I am certainly going to make some. Thanks for sharing.
Julie 3rd Jun 2016 Activity Director
could you use hand sanitizer inside the bags?
Talita 3rd Jun 2016
Hi Julie, we haven't tried but I'm not sure this would work as well. I would stick to gel or sand!
maria 31st May 2016 studying dt
You can pretty these up with fancy duct tape they sell in Office Works too.
Talita 1st Jun 2016
Great idea Maria!
Josephine 31st May 2016 Lifestyle Manager
Must give this a try - will try and incorporate this into an activity with low care residents too !
Talita 31st May 2016
Good idea Josephine, would love to hear how it goes!
Joanne 31st May 2016 Leisure and Lifestyle Co ordinator
Definitely going to make some of these this weekend...thanks
Talita 1st Jun 2016
Thanks Joanne, love to hear how you go with it.
Marguerite 31st May 2016 Support Person
definitely giving this a go for our blind resident with dementia.
Talita 1st Jun 2016
Oh Marguerite, what a great idea, let us know how you go!
jerri 31st May 2016
what a great project gonna try this
Talita 1st Jun 2016
Would love to hear how you go with the activity Jerri!
Deb 31st May 2016 Lifestyle Coordinator
I just HAVE to try this!!!! It looks fabulous! My imagination is running wild now with what I can put in the bags!!! Thanks!!!!
Talita 1st Jun 2016
Thanks Deb! We'd love to hear how you go with it!
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