Many of us have seen stress balls. Many therapists suggest that their adult and child clients use them to help reduce stress and anger. They can also be given to help increase hand strength by occupational therapists. I have used them with autistic children to help calm, provide a sensory need or for reinforcement. Stress balls can be expensive.
It is quite easy to make your own. You can also adjust the feel of balloon depending on what you put inside. I have used rice, sand, and play dough. It would be interesting to use flour, cornstarch, shaving cream or slime. Each balloon would give a different sensory experience.
I have even used stress balloon making to encourage rapport building and assess in sibling therapy. We used playdoh for the ones that we made. The children had to problem solve during therapy and figure out how best to get the play doh in the balloons. They could not do this on their own and had to work together. I believe that this would be a beneficial activity for families that have children with ADHD or for groups that are working on social skills.
The basket of stress balls I made to give away at a booth with Scotts Valley Counseling Center. I used sand in them. I did find out that it is imperative to use thick balloons if you want them to last!
If you are interested in knowing how to use the stress balloons look here for a printable card .
Have fun and be creative!