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Sensory balls for students with severe or multiple intellectual disabilities

This is an excerpt from Build It So They Can Play by Teresa Sullivan, Cindy Slagle, T.J. Hapshie, Debbie Brevard, and Vic Brevard.

Sensory Balls

  • Need and Disability

These tools offer visual and tactile stimulation for students with severe or multiple intellectual disabilities. Students have a variety of balls to squeeze and manipulate with their hands. These homemade balls provide stress relief and a remedy for fidgeting.

  • Tools


  • Supplies

Surplus pantyhose

Dry beans


Latex-free balloons


  • Instructions

1. Cut off the top of the pantyhose. Cut the legs into 6-inch strips and tie a knot on one end of each.

2. Turn it inside out so the knot is on the inside.

3. Using a funnel, place 1 cup of beans or rice into the hose, then tie another knot to make a ball.

4. Cut off the end of a balloon and work it over the ball.

5. Use another balloon to secure the opening so that the ball is covered with two balloons.

  • Ideas for Using This Equipment

Sensory balls can be used in a beanbag toss or in catch and release exercises.

  • Modifications

Use other materials inside the hose (such as sand or flour).

Learn more about Build It So They Can Play.

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Build It So They Can Play

Build It So They Can Play

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