Glow up! Dark Sensory Room Toy and Game Ideas


Let’s get glowing!

Glow in the Dark & UV Sensory Room Toy and Game Ideas

If you saw my last post on how to set up a sensory cave on a budget and what we love most in a sensory cave, you may be wondering what exactly to do with it! I sat down with a couple of my favorite sensory-minded people and rounded up a few items to get and ideas for you to try that I love.

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Happy learning, growing, and discovering!

Glowing Balloons (UV reactive or Glow in the Dark)

If you opted to use a blacklight in your space, I recommend getting UV reactive (aka blacklight reactive) balloons as these typically glow much brighter. Simple glow in the dark balloons should still work but the effect may not last as long and you may have to remember to set them in a strong light source to charge them for awhile.

I recommend these Blacklight reactive balloons!

You can gently toss or bounce these or simply hang them up for a different tactile sensation.

A Light Table

Light tables have been a pretty big deal for a while now but they are prohibitively expensive, especially for home use. These are great for drawing/coloring, exploring colors, and using transparent manipulatives in a variety of ways.

Stay tuned for my affordable DIY color-changing light table tutorial, coming soon!

Alternatives that you can use include the classic “light bright” style toy which works on fine motor skills or even a light up drawing board to accomplish similar tasks.

Glow in the Dark Toys & Accessories

This area is limited only to your imagination!

Here are a few ideas and items that I really like:

I have not yet tried all of these but I will elaborate here once I get around to playing with testing them!

Make a Glowing Sensory Bin or Bottle

You can use plain or colored and dyed rice (make sure to let it dry thoroughly!) and pop it in a bucket with a scoop or a small cup to provide fantastic sensory stimulus. Dry rice feels weirdly wonderful if you dip your hands in it or scoop it up and let it fall between your fingers. Rice reflects light back so it will appear to glow bluish under a blacklight.

If you are looking for a wet sensory bin try some UV water beads!

You can either buy premade ones like the ones I linked above or make it yourself:

Get regular waterbeads (don’t worry about the color) and soak these as recommended by the manufacturer in Tonic Water instead of regular water. Tonic water glows bright blue under a black light. Make sure you put them in a water-safe container with a lid.

You can use these beads and/or rice in a sensory bottle as well!

Fine Motor Activities

If your child or teen needs to work on their fine motor skills, see what sort of tasks they are already doing or may not enjoy working on and see if using these in a new setting helps.

  • For kids who won’t try to eat eat them, try by stringing glow in the dark or UV reactive beads or dyed/glowing pasta on string or pipe cleaners
  • Lace up shoes with glow in the dark or UV reactive laces

Food Fun

IT’S SNACK TIME: Did you know that some foods can have some neat effects under a black light?

  • Ripe bananas (with some spots) are blue around the spots
  • Pineapples are blue as well
  • Honey and ketchup glows yellow
  • Cut up greens (like lettuce) turn red
  • If you have a teen who likes energy drinks (or you just want to see it for fun) check one with a high level of B Vitamins out under a black light

Here’s a resource with other food and snack ideas that glow!

This can be great for kids who might be a picky eater or who need some feeding therapy support with certain textures or flavors. Keep in mind that blue foods are sometimes less appetizing. Either way, this can be a fun experiment or game to try to change things up.

Make Art.

UV Face/Body safe paint may be a good option for fingerpainting activities. Grab some black construction paper or a plastic bin and have fun. Just make sure you check the ingredients before ordering!

Want something that will last awhile? Try these blacklight reactive paints. If you don’t want to paint on your walls, I recommend grabbing a pack of small or large canvases like these and painting on those instead (could be a fun activity to do with your child!).

NOTE: Be careful of spills and handling. Not all paints are safe for kids to use. Before you buy, make sure you are comfortable with what is in them and do not fingerpaint with them unless they are made for that purpose!

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas for games to try the next time you want to get glowing!

Check out my last post on our Sensory Cave Must Haves and see how you can make an affordable glowing sensory space of your own!



  1. Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

  2. This is fun, my kids will love this. Thanks for the information it refreshing to learn something new.

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