Sensory Elements

Introduction: Sensory Elements

This instructable shows some ideas to make sensory elements to use in 'snoezelen'. They can be used in combination with the sensory tent ().

As the sensory elements are custom made for a deeply mental disable person, the described sensory elements are limited to his interests (mainly colourful, plastic elements). At the end of the instructable there is a list of other interesting materials to make sensory garlands with.

To make your own sensory elements to use in sensory therapy or snoezelen, start from the interest of the person you are working with and be creative with materials you use! Possibilities are endless!

Making different types of sensory elements can be a nice workshop for caregivers and therapist at an institution. Everyone brings interesting materials and together you build sensory strings adapted to the interests of each patient.

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Step 1: What You Will Need:

Sensory materials:

garland 1:

Foam pearls

garland 2:

Colourful buttons (all shapes and sizes)

garland 3:

Scoubidou cords


  • For each garland you'll need 2 buttons (+/- 30 mm)
  • Elastic band
  • Cord


  • scissors
  • (super)glue
  • needle
  • sewing thread

Step 2: Make the Connections

With these button fastenings, it is possible to attach the garlands to the ceiling of the snoezeltent. There is a pattern of buttonholes in the ceiling of the tent.

We chose buttons because they are cheap and easy to attach and loosen. Depending on the place where you want to mount the garlands, you can opt for a different fastening system such as strong velcro, magnets, ...

  1. cut a piece of +/- 10 cm elastic band
  2. put one end of the elastic band through one of the holes of the first button
  3. make a loop and put the elastic band through another hole of the first button
  4. put the ends of the elastic band through the other button
  5. make a knot and cut the ends

The second button serves mainly as a decoration. So when you watch the ceiling of the snoezel tent, the buttonholes are nicely covered.

To each of these button connections you can one or multiple garlands.

Step 3: Make the Foam Pearls Garland

Glue the foam pearls toghether with superglue in a random pattern.

Make a knot with a colourful cord to one of the pearls and tie the other end to the button connection.

You can attach multiple of these patterns to one connection.

Step 4: Make the Button Garland

Cut a string of sewing thread twice the length you want the garland to be. Tie the ends of the sewing thread to a button. Put a second button on the thread. Make a loop and put the thread in another hole of the same button. Repeat this steps until the garland has the length you want.

Next, attach the garland with a knot to one of the button connections

Step 5: Make the Flower and Bells Garland

First, cut fabric flowers in three different sizes. Make three flowers for each size, that's the amount you'll need to make one garland. Then, make a little perforation in the middle of each flower. Make three piles of flowers, with in each pile a small, medium and large flower.

Next, put the ring of the bell through the perforation. Repeat this step for each pile of flowers.

Attach the piles of flowers to the scoubidou rope by making a knot to the rings of the bells.
Attach these ropes to the button connections and add some extra scoubidou ropes for a more aesthetic effect.

Step 6: Some Inspiration for Sensory Materials

  1. Touch

You can make 'touch bags', bags made out of fabric filled with a variety of materials such as: rice, paper, waterproof bag filled with liquid,...

Or make garlands with feathers, ribbons, wool,...

2. Visual

You can make garlands with little mirrors, pearls, lamps,... A slinky spring is also a nice visual experience as it changes when you pull it.

3. Hearing

You can also fill the touch bags with crackling materials like paper, rice,...


The bags can be filled with fragrant materials like Lavender for a multisensory experience.

Base the elements on the needs or interests of your client and be creative with cheap materials!
These garlands can also be used for childrens mobiles or just decoration.

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