I almost can’t even write a tutorial for this because it’s so easy…find a bunch of stuff and dump it in a bottle.
Just kidding. But seriously, this is such a simple and fun little craft or toy for your kiddos!
A sensory bottle is basically just a bottle full of fun little items. Hudson and I made a couple and he really likes them (or I guess I should say he likes them ok, they hold his interest for a few minutes and then he moves on just like with most of his toys because, hey, he’s a toddler).
To make one you need a clear bottle (we used Coke bottles for our first few) and then some items to go in them. I literally just went my craft stash and pulled a whole bunch of random things out for us to use. For the first one we made we used glitter, tiny round beads, star shaped beads, and pom pom balls. We put a little in the bottom of the bottle and filled the rest of it up with water.
It’s really fun and soothing (for me) to shake the bottle and watch the glitter and items swirl and settle. I think some people use these for older kids as “calm down” bottles where they can concentrate on the glitter and watch it and it kind of helps them get control of their emotions. Hudson’s not quite old enough for that though so he mostly just shakes it a lot.
(it’s really hard to snap a picture of glitter before it settles so sorry for the poor quality here)
For the second bottle we used some dried rice, dried beans, and a few of the colorful star beads. We didn’t add water to this one so it makes noise when you shake it and Hudson likes that a lot! He also likes to shake it around and point out the stars. I’ve seen people make bottles like this with lots more rice/beans and quite a few more random objects and then use it like a seek-and-find. The child shakes the bottle around and tries to see what objects they can find among the rice.
For the third bottle I put water with blue food coloring in about 3/4 of the bottle and then vegetable oil in the rest. The oil floats on the water and makes a cool ocean-like effect. This is definitely Hudson’s favorite because he loveeeeees bubbles and this one makes bubbles when you shake it.
I’m part of a playgroup where we meet once a month at someone’s house and the mom in charge does a little themed lesson with crafts and snacks. This month was my turn; my theme was fall leaves and pumpkins so for our craft I decided we could make fall-themed sensory bottles.
I got the small (8oz, I believe?) water bottles thinking it would be perfect for little hands and while the size is pretty good for toddlers/preschoolers I don’t recommend them for sensory bottles. Part of the cool effect of the bottle is that there is enough room for the items to swirl around and fall to the bottom. When you use such a small bottle like I did it doesn’t quite work as well. I definitely recommend going with 16oz or 20oz bottles (or whatever size a “regular” water bottle or coke bottle is).
But other that the size these were so perfect and adorable!
I got orange glitter, some orange/brown/white beads, pom poms in fallish colors (red, black, gold), some googly eyes, and then my favorite thing: leaves. I *really* wanted to have leaves in the bottles so that it would look like fall leaves falling to the ground. The size of the bottles doesn’t exactly allow that to happen but the leaves are still cool anyway. I found them at Hobby Lobby and they were perfect!
Since we were doing this with several kids at once I went ahead and had the bottles full of water then we set out all the “ingredients” and let them add in whatever they wanted. I’m pretty sure Hudson is the youngest of all the kids who attend and he was easily able to pick up stuff and shove it in the top of the bottle so this is definitely appropriate for his age (21 months) and older.
Once you’ve made your bottle I recommend gluing the cap on. We put them on pretty tight but I was still nervous that Hudson would somehow unscrew it and dump glittery water (or blue food coloring water!) all over the carpet or couch so Michael used some Gorilla Glue (super glue would work too) in the cap to keep that from happening.
And that’s it! Sooooo easy! You can make all kinds of fun things with the stuff you have lying around the house. You can also do themed bottles like I did – think about silver glitter and white pom poms for winter or red and green objects for Christmas. Lots of possibilities!