DIY Sensory Friendly Mother’s Day Gifts That Every Mother Will Love
J Julia DeNey

DIY Sensory Friendly Mother’s Day Gifts That Every Mother Will Love

May 3, 2024

Mother’s Day, which falls on May 12 this year, is the perfect day to show love and appreciation to mothers and caretakers of children, especially those with sensory needs, and what mother doesn’t love a personal touch? 

Participating in gift-making can be therapeutic and enjoyable for children with sensory processing disorders when the activities are tailored to their needs. We created a guide with 5 sensory-friendly DIY gifts that every mother will love, along with tips on preparing children for the process of creating the perfect gift. 

Understanding Sensory Processing Disorders 

Sensory processing disorders involve the challenges of how sensory information is perceived and responded to by an individual. These often manifest as over- or under-sensitivity to stimuli such as textures or sounds, which can impact everyday activities, including crafting. 

Each child has certain textures and materials that may bother them, so exposing them to supplies utilized in these DIY gifts beforehand, if they have never seen them, will help them be comfortable or avoid triggering options for the best experience possible. 

Preparing to Craft with Children with Sensory Processing Disorders

Crafting with any child has its challenges, but when done with planning and keeping your child’s needs in mind, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Start by selecting a sensory-friendly crafting space that is quiet, well-lit without being too bright, and is a comfortable temperature to minimize overstimulation. 

Then, select non-toxic crafting materials suited to your child’s sensory needs. Some children may enjoy a more messy project like painting or molding, while others prefer something that won’t get their hands messy. If you are unsure, try introducing new activities slowly and allow the child to explore the materials at their own pace to ensure the best experience. 

Once you have gone through this process, you will be ready to get started! 

DIY Sensory-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Scented Playdough Sculpture 

Materials Needed:

  • 1 Cups All-Purpose Flour 
  • ½ Cup Salt 
  • 4 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar 
  • 2 Cups Lukewarm Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • Natural Flavor Extracts (i.e. Lavender or Vanilla - depending on smells your child likes) 


  1. Combine flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot, then add the water and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. 
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the dough thickens and begins to form into a ball. 
  3. Remove from heat and cool slightly. 
  4. Knead the dough on a surface dusted with flour until smooth. 
  5. Divide the dough and add a few drops of your chosen natural extract to each portion, kneading until the scent is evenly distributed. 
  6. If you are comfortable with it, your child can help through the beginning portions; if not, this is a great place to add them in. 
  7. Encourage your child to explore texture and shapes to create a personalized creation for their mothers. 
  8. Once complete, let the creation dry, and you will have a perfectly sculpted Mother’s Day gift. 

Customized Sensory Bottles

Materials Needed:

  • Clear, durable plastic bottles with secure lids 
  • Water 
  • Glycerin or clear liquid soap (to thicken the water)
  • Glitter, colorful beads, sequins
  • Super glue (for adult use only)


  1. Fill each water bottle about two-thirds with water. 
  2. Add a squirt of glycerin or liquid soap to the water to slow down the movement of the additives.
  3. Allow the child to choose their favorite glitter, beads, and sequins, and drop them into the bottle.
  4. Once the child has added all the glitter and supplies of their choosing, fill the bottle with the remaining water, leaving a little space to allow the contents to move freely.
  5. Glue the lid shut to ensure it is secure and leak-proof (a parent or caregiver should do this to ensure no superglue gets on the child’s finger). 
  6. Now, have the children shake the bottle to see their creation's "snow globe" effect before presenting it to Mom. 

No-Sew Fleece Blanket

Materials Needed:

  • 2 pieces of soft fleece fabric (1.5 yards each) - if possible, let the child pick out the fabric to ensure that they are OK with the feel and look of the fabric when interacting with it
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape


  1. Lay the two pieces of fleece flat, one on top of the other, aligning the edges.
  2. Cut a 5-inch square from each corner of the layered fleece.
  3. Cut 1-inch wide and 5-inch deep strips along each edge through both layers of fleece.
  4. Tie the top and bottom strips together with double knots, working your way around the blanket until all strips are tied. This activity is a great opportunity for children to work on their fine motor skills and gain welcoming sensory input from the blanket material. 

Handprint Art on Canvas

Materials Needed:

Canvas Board

  • Non-toxic, washable paint
  • Paper plates
  • Baby wipes (for easy cleanup)
  • Optional: stickers, glitter glue 


  1. Squirt different colors of paint onto paper plates.
  2. Guide the child’s hand into the paint and then firmly onto the canvas.
  3. Use baby wipes to clean hands between prints or colors.
  4. Allow the canvas to dry, and then allow your child to add additional decorations like stickers, glitter glue, or even more paint. 

Beaded Jewelry

Materials Needed:

  • Elastic thread
  • Scissors 
  • Large-hole beads
  • Optional: charms or pendants


  1. Cut a length of elastic thread suitable for a bracelet or necklace.
  2. Let the child pick out the color of beads and what charms they want. 
  3. Show the child how to thread beads onto the elastic, mixing colors and adding charms as desired.
  4. Once the beading is complete, securely tie the elastic ends in a double knot, trimming any excess.

Make Sure Your Child Enjoys the Process! 

Crafting can overwhelm any child, so try to maintain a calm and positive atmosphere and allow the child to take breaks as needed. Pay attention to the child’s reactions and adjust as needed to keep them comfortable and engaged. 

If you, as a caregiver, get frustrated, remember these feelings are normal, and it’s OK for you to take a break as well. These DIY gifts are more than just crafts; they are a means of expression and connection for children with sensory processing disorders and a present that a mother will enjoy for years to come. 

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