Here is a new twist on a do it yourself stress ball – dried bean stress balls. You might be wondering what make these any different than others? Well until you make one and feel it you will not understand. These dried garbanzo bean stress balls feel more like a deep massage in the hands. It definitely steps up the tactile input! The secret ingredient is the garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas). You can read more about how I colored the garbanzo beans for a sensory bin in a previous post.
To make the garbanzo beans stress balls you will need dried garbanzo beans, balloons, scissors and the top of a plastic water bottle. I came up with (in my opinion) the most AMAZING hack ever to keep the balloon open. If you have ever tried to make these it can be so hard to keep the top open to get the ingredients in the balloon. It is usually a two man job. So my idea was to cut off the top of a plastic water bottle. Simply slip the balloon inside and over the lip of the bottle. Presto chango your balloon stays open so you can put the beans in!!!! I know, not that amazing but it sure did impress me.
Moving on… now all you need to do is fill the balloon up. Have the kids help using a nice pincer grasp to get all those beans inside.
Once the balloon is filled up, tie it off. Cut off the top of another balloon and insert the bean ball into the balloon with the top cut off.
Now you are ready to use the stress balls. Since these provide a heavier tactile input that your typical stress ball some children may dislike the feeling. Some children may crave it. Here are some suggestions:
- stress ball – use it to relieve stress by squeezing it.
- fidget – keep the hands busy so you can sit still squish and squeeze the ball (it is a little noisy).
- warm ups before handwriting – rub this between your hands to wake up the small muscles and get them ready to write.
- foot massage – place it under your foot and roll it back and forth to work out any small muscle cramps in the foot (alert – this is some serious sensory input).
- coordination skills – these make excellent juggling balls. The garbanzo bean balls are a nice weight providing some extra input to catch and toss.
- challenge your balance – try to stand on one foot and roll it back and forth. Kick it to a friend.
Need more ideas for sensory breaks, stress relief and tactile input? Check out the Sensational Brain membership for creating effective sensory diets.