Travel Sensory Diet Bag for On the Go Sensory Needs

This Travel Sensory Diet Bag is perfect for on-the-go sensory needs for kids with Sensory Processing Disorders children experiencing the Autism spectrum.  Read on for tips to help with sensory issues while out and about:
Have you ever been out shopping the day before Christmas Eve when the entire city is packing everything from pineapples to pickles in their carts?  And while you wear your itchy winter coat and drippy boots, the carts bump into aisles, people are talking everywhere, and buzzes, dings, and noise are everywhere.  It is utterly unorganized chaos.
Now imagine you have difficulty ignoring those beeps and buzzes.  That itchy wool coat is SO there.  The people talk and talk and you hear them all.  The utterly unorganized chaos makes you feel so out of sorts that you can’t help but breakdown, throwing yourself on the floor, and trying to make it all go away.
Children who live with a Sensory Processing Disorder experience situations like this every day.  It doesn’t have to be a busy holiday for the environment to be too much for their body to organize.  It is everyday life for SPD kiddos.  They over or under process environmental stimulation at the bus stop, in the library, in a restaurant, or while waiting with Mom at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The disruption of typical processing can occur at minor or severe levels, but is always a struggle

Use of a specialized travel sensory diet can help with over or under sensory responses while out and about.  Specific sensory inputs can help to organize these inappropriate sensory responses. Today, I’ve got a Travel Sensory Diet that can help with sensory needs and can go anywhere.

Travel Sensory Diet Bag for on-the-go-sensory needs


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Treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder with a Sensory Diet
To treat these responses to input, Occupational Therapists perform an assessment of individual abilities and needs.  Using information from evaluation, they establish a diet of sensory integration activities to organize sensory systems so that appropriate and meaningful responses occur. Function and purposeful responses to sensory input in all settings are the goals of sensory integration and sensory diets.
A sensory diet is highly specific to the needs of a child with sensory processing disorder.  Sensory diet activities should be specialized to the meet the child’s regulation needs.  Items that are often times found on a sensory diet include activities like wall push-ups, jumping on a trampoline, vacuuming, pillow sandwiches, and kneading play dough (among tons of other ideas!) 
But how do you do these sensory diet activities while in a restaurant or in a library? 

Travel Sensory Diet Bag for on-the-go-sensory needs



Travel Sensory Diet Bag for On-the-Go Sensory Needs


This travel sensory diet is perfect for on-the-go sensory needs.  We made a small tote bag with fun paint and used it to create a travel sensory diet.  A tote of this size can be slid into a big purse, carried by the child, or carted around in the minivan.  The best thing about this travel sensory diet is that you can switch out activities so that new regulating items are added in and old favorites remain.
Travel Sensory Diet Bag for on-the-go-sensory needs

So what do you include in a travel sensory diet bag?

 Proprioception Activities
Related articles: Read about proprioception here and here.
  • Bungee cord or Exercise band.  These can be used by arms or legs while sitting or standing. 
  • 1 pound wrist weight:  This is an important addition to a travel sensory bag.  The weight provides proprioceptive input as the child carries the bag. Sometimes, just carrying the tote bag can be enough to regulate sensory needs. 




  • Other ideas include wearing the weight on the wrist, ankle, placed on the lap, or draped over shoulders.
  • Use the weight of the bag as input: While seated, hang the loop of the handles over a knee for weight down through the calf and into the foot.  Switch legs after a while.
  • Hang the bag on one shoulder, then the other.
  • Hold the loops of the bag by the hand as if carrying a suitcase. Switch hands often.
  • Hold the loops of the bag by individual fingers.





Oral Activities
  • Sugar free hard candy
  • Sugar Free gum
  • Eat dried fruit, bagel pieces, popcorn, pretzles, or raisins
  • Kazoo
    (take the paper out for less noise!)
  • Chew Toy
    ” or Chew Necklace


Scent Activities
  • Small bottle of scented lotion.
Tactile Activities
  • Fidget with sensory koosh balls.
  • Pipe cleaners twisted together make a great fidget toy.
  • Beaded Keychain Friends
    for fidgeting
  • Small Scrub Brush
    (The pictured brush is used in the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol.  An Occupational Therapist should train you in this treatment
  • Baby wipe to wipe the face, arms, hands to “wake up” the skin.


  • Hang the head and arms down between the legs to touch the floor.
  • Arm windmills
  • Twisting walks: Twist at the waist as the child walks.
Other sensory diet ideas that work while on-the-go:
Carry grocery bags.
Push shopping carts.
Bend over hand hang the head and arms down to the ground.
Find a wall for wall push-ups.
Hug from a loved one.
Chew gum.
Drink from a straw.
Carry a sports bottle with crushed ice for resistive sucking and chewing ice.
March down a hallway.
Duck walks.
Find stairs and climb them.
“Mountain Climb” up a stairwell banister.
Use a coat as a sensory wrapper.  Wrap the child up like a burrito with an extra coat.
“Prayer Stretch”  Press the palms of the hands together and press hard.
“Spider Finger” Stretches” Place fingertips of both hands together and stretch fingers up and down.
Spin in a chair (if at a doctor’s office).
Chair Push ups.
Weighted vest for situations that you know will cause sensory overload.
Headphones to cut out background noise.
Travel Sensory Diet Bag for on-the-go-sensory needs
This on-the-go travel sensory bag can go everywhere from the doctor’s office with the too-hot waiting room and buzzing fluorescent lights to the hair salon with the noisy dryers and itchy hair clippings.
Travel Sensory Diet Bag for on-the-go-sensory needs

This post is part of our 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series where you can find free or almost free treatment activities and ideas.  Stop by every day!  You’ll find more fun ideas each day in October.


Looking for more sensory integration ideas?  These are some of my favorite:

  Oobleck in the Marble Run  Alphabet Discovery Bottle


Handwriting Ideas for Travel

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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

    Jackson Pollock Inspired Tote Bag Art

    Today, I’ve got such a fun and gorgeously simple art project to share.  This Jackson Pollock inspired tote bag art was just the creative outlet my second grader and I needed one rainy afternoon. 

    As a Mama of four goofy/amazing/active/wild kids, Pollock’s balance of control and chance speaks to me.  I think Moms have the balance of control and chance pretty well managed…sometimes we have a little more control in situations and other times it’s more of a game of chance. The balance changes by the moment. And it’s all part of the job of being mom!
    Flinging little drops of paint around sure was an act of balancing how hard we flung the paint and just accepting the chance of blue paint dripping onto bare ankles.  
    Which happened.  
    And lead to lots of giggles.
    Jackson Pollock inspired tote bag art for second graders (or any age!) that wants to explore Pollock's use of movement, balance, and control in his painting technique.  Create a unique and creative art project, too!

    This post contains affiliate links.

    Jackson Pollock Inspired Tote Bag Art

    You’ll need just a few materials to make this art project:

    Tote Bag 
    Poster Paints (THESE are my favorite brand! for their gorgeously bright colors.) 
    A bit of water
    Stick, paint stirrers, chopsticks, or paint brushes 

    Drop cloth, old table cloth, or a large Storage Bin

    We found this Jackson Pollock book
    at our library and learned some interesting facts about the artist.  One thing that stood out to us was the fact that Jackson Pollack’s paint brush never touched his canvas.  When we painted out tote bag, we loved re-creating that fact!
    RELATED: Get creative by Painting with Yarn!
    To make the Tote Bag project: 
    Spread out a drop cloth, old table cloth, plastic throwaway table cloth, or even an under the bed storage bin.  Anything that is going to protect your floors will work.  The mess with this project depends solely on how the art moves you and the kids.  And it might just end up being big old movements that paint the walls.
    Jackson Pollock often times painted with items other than paint brushes.  We did use paint brushes for our tote bag but only because we got too excited about painting and forgot to dip the stick end of the brush into the paints.  Be sure to not touch the brush to the tote bag though!  Instead, swirl, tap, swing, and shake the paint onto your painting surface.


    Let the paint dry and use your tote to carry essentials.  I’ll share how we’re using our tote in another post. Coming soon!
    Jackson Pollock inspired tote bag art for second graders (or any age!) that wants to explore Pollock's use of movement, balance, and control in his painting technique.  Create a unique and creative art project, too!
    Be sure to check out all of the great Famous Artist ideas from the 2nd grade blogging team! 
    Piet Mondrian Suncatcher Art for Kids from School Time Snippets 
    Van Gogh Inspired Sunflower Art Projects from Preschool Powol Packets 
    Matisse Inspired Suncatchers from Creative Family Fun 
    Warhol Inspired Art for Kids from Still Playing School 
    Jackson Pollock inspired tote bag art for second graders (or any age!) that wants to explore Pollock's use of movement, balance, and control in his painting technique.  Create a unique and creative art project, too!
    More creative art and painting you will love: