DIY Sensory Board

DIY Sensory Board with Wikki Stix

First held in the year 1972 by the Autism Society, April is Autism Awareness Month. The purpose of this is to emphasize the need for public awareness to promote acceptance, celebrate differences and be more inclusive towards the autistic community.

You are probably aware of the prevalence of autism in your community, but are you aware that it is the fastest-growing developmental disorder to date? It also affects one in every 54 children in the United States.

There are many ways that you can observe Autism Awareness month with your child. You can participate in local group activities, which may include fundraisers or walks. You can also read books about autism to your child. Lastly, you can create a craft or activity with your children while discussing autism and how it affects people around you.

My family chose to use Wikki Stix’s Multi Sensory Resource Kit to make this DIY sensory board and packet of sensory cards.

A sensory board is a board on which you attach tactile and visual objects (hinges, zippers, buttons, etc.) to be explored. It is designed for children anywhere between the age of six months to three years old.

Sensory boards and cards can help children with autism by allowing them to stimulate their senses at their own pace. The boards have been utilized to promote cognitive development, expand expressive communication, encourage social interactions and improve motor development.

A sensory board can be made from strong cardboard, wood or even a big plastic lid. We used a large rectangular shaped cardboard box. We also made a packet of sensory cards using sturdy cardstock, leftover craft supplies and Wikki Stix!

Use strong glue or a hot glue gun to attach the various items to your sensory board (except for Wikki Stix, as they do not require glue!).

There are no set rules when it comes to sensory boards, and you can make yours as cost-effective as possible with items you already have at home – this also makes it a great project to use up any unwanted materials in the house.

Materials Needed for the DIY Sensory Board

Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard
  • Cardstock
  • Wikki Stix’s Multi Sensory Resource Kit
  • Painters tape or craft tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Recycling bin items (plastic lids, bottle caps, paper, TP rolls etc.)
  • Craft items (felt, pom poms, sequins, buttons, etc.)
  • Scissors

DIY Sensory Board Step #1
Step 1:
First, decide the layout. Each section of your sensory board should have a different texture or color, and you can add as many different components as you’d like. You can add a colored frame around the outside to give your sensory board some “flair” if you’d like.

We used items from the recycling bin
Step 2:
Complete each section of your sensory board. We used items from the recycling bin, as well as various craft supplies and Wikki Stix to create different colors and textures throughout our sensory board.

Consider the size and shape of the items you are placing on your sensory board, and take note of which items could be potential choking hazards. Be sure to glue them down well. Additionally, children should ALWAYS be supervised when playing with sensory boards.

Lastly, punch a hole in the upper left hand corner
Step 3:
Use cardstock to create sensory cards. Fold a piece of cardstock in thirds, then cut along the folds. Next, glue different craft materials and leftover Wikki Stix to your cards.

Lastly, punch a hole in the upper left hand corner of your cards and use a pipe cleaner or twist-tie to attach your sensory cards together.

You now have a portable sensory board to take with you on errands, on the way to school, etc.

DIY Sensory Board Completed!
Just be sure to supervise your children when playing with these cards as well.

This April, spend time speaking with your children about autism and the need to be warm, empathetic and welcoming to the autistic individuals and families around us. While you’re at it, try to create a developmentally beneficial craft like this DIY sensory board and card packet – it is fun and useful!