Mess-Free Gel Sorting Bags


I saw this idea on Facebook or Pinterest somewhere and decided to try it – the Dollar store version!  I’m realistic – this is a plastic bag filled with goop that I’m giving my kids – I know it won’t last long.  Cheap is great.

You will need:

  • 1 bottle of clear hair gel per bag
  • A gallon plastic bag with a zipper (or 2)
  • Color Sharpie pens
  • Buttons, beads, or other small, non-poky small items
  • Clear box tape



Take your color sharpies and draw a large circle matching the color of the beads or buttons you’re using.  For bag #1, I used the buttons in pink, purple, blue, and yellow.  For bag # 2 I used the sequins in red, orange, and yellow.

Bag #1 has 4 circles, bag #2 has 3.  I wrote each color’s name inside the circle.

Squirt 1 bottle of gel inside a bag – carefully, the bags tend to tip over – and add the buttons or beads.

filling the gel

Fold the bag over and squish the air out before you zip it up.  Lay it flat and mix the gel and buttons together.  Enlist a kid to help mix it if you trust them with an open zipper.

Grab your box tape and lay a piece of tape on the zipper – half on one side, half on the other.  Press it down and secure it, and test to make sure the zipper won’t move.  Add more tape if needed.  Toddlers are inventive – they want that gel out and squishing in their fingers.

tape it shut

Repeat if doing a second bag.

tape it shut purple

Playtime!  Kids are supposed to slide the beads or buttons into the proper color circle.


In reality, my kids squished the gel a bit and moved the buttons around.  Then they promptly got bored and ran off to do something more interesting.  Oh well.  It makes a good sensory toy.

Total cost for 2 bags: $4 plus a little for tape.  Not too bad!

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