Make your own Sensory Tub

Sensory Tubs are great DIY hands-on tactile experiences for kids and the perfect sensory activity for parents who aren’t fond of mess.

Remember: What starts in the tub stays in the tub.

They’re inexpensive to make. You can get creative while you’re creating one. And you can add whatever you like to your tub, stimulating your senses in the way that works best for you. This type of hands-on tactile play is great for bringing distracted minds back into focus, ready to discover their senses.

How to make your own Sensory Tub in three easy steps:

Step 1: Find Your Tub

Finding the perfect tub shouldn’t be hard; most containers will work perfectly. Whether that’s an old shoebox, empty storage container, or a cooking bowl, find whatever is hanging about in the house and upcycle it into a sensory treat.

Top Tip: If you’re planning on using liquids, we’d recommend using a waterproof tub so that things don’t get too messy. And if you’d like to increase the visual stimulation from this activity, use a transparent container. Watch the cause and effect of your actions from a new perspective.

Top Tip: Can’t find a suitable container? Why not get a Tubtrug. They are made from sturdy plastic, have easy to carry handles, and they also make handy storage containers when you’re not using them as a sensory tub. Find them here in medium and large.

tubtrug storage container


Step 2: Add the filling

Choosing the right filling for your tub is an important step as it provides a sensory base. But it is nothing to overthink, as you can’t really pick the wrong filling!

Will you use dried pasta for a crunchy tactile feel?

Or colourful dyed rice that looks amazing and also feels fabulous as it falls through your fingers?

Perhaps you want to up the physical senses by adding a splash of water and a squirt of washing up liquid for an awesome bubble effect?

Or maybe you’re in the mood for construction and want to build something great with bright play sand?

Either way, it’s up to you. Raid your kitchen cupboards and craft draws, and we’re sure that you’ll find the perfect objects to fill your Tub with!

Top Tip: For an extra sensory dimension, you could use edible ingredients to fill your tub – like cooked rice or pasta. This way, you can safely explore your sense of taste alongside the other four senses.

Top Tip – Colouring Rice: It’s easy to add a pop of colour to your rice. All you’ll need is a bag or white rice, food colouring and vinegar. Add a cup of the rice to a plastic container, then add a teaspoon of vinegar and a few drops of food colouring. Cover the container and then shake for a couple of minutes. Open up the container, and you should have some brightly coloured rice. Scoop it out onto a paper towel and wait for it to dry.

Pro Sensory Tip: Fancy totally immersing your senses? Why not use Gelli Baff as your sensory base. It might create a bit of mess, but the slippy slimy nature of the Gelli provides a unique sensory experience.
gelli baff in sensory tub

Step 3: Sensory Bits and Bobs

We’re almost there. Now we need to choose the right bits and bobs to add to your tub to give that extra sensory panache. Typically, it is easier to choose bits and bobs if you already have a theme that your tub is centred around.

Add numbers and letters to create an educational sensory tub.

Add shells, pebbles, and sand for a sunny seaside tub.

Or you could choose some of your favourite toys and try to find them buried underneath the fiddly bits of pasta.

Anything that little hands can grab and explore will be perfect – remember that tactile stimulation is key!

Top Tip: Add small cups to the tub. Use them to scoop up the rice or the liquid and watch it pour out again. It’s a really handy method for learning cause and effect and also building up key muscles.


Don’t forget to take a picture of your Sensory Tub and send it to us on social media @RhinoSensoryUK – We can’t wait to see your marvellous designs!

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