Sensory bottles are great for babies and toddlers, but older kids will also love their calming and soothing effects.
Make a homemade sensory bottle with these easy tips, tricks and ideas for the perfect sensory discovery bottle.
Sensory bottles are a great DIY toy for babies and toddlers. They are fun to play with but they are also great for your child’s development. One of the best thing about sensory bottles is that they are great for children of all ages.
Benefits of Sensory Bottles
We’ve all heard how important tummy time is for babies, but keeping them happy on their tummies can be tricky sometimes. Having a sensory bottle to look at and reach out to can be a great way to encourage the important skills and strength developed during tummy time.
It’s important for a child’s development that they crawl. Crawling is important for physical development, and also the cross patterning action (opposite hand to foot) used in traditional crawling is important for brain development. If a baby misses out on crawling it can sometimes cause problems later on with things like upper body strength, co-ordination, reading and writing. Playing with a sensory bottle and rolling it across the floor is a great way to encourage a crawling baby.
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Sensory bottles are a great way to encourage exploration and a sense of wonder, especially for toddlers and young children who still put things in their mouths. A sensory bottle is a safe way to explore small objects.
Depending on what’s in a sensory they can also be a great tool for practicing skills in all learning areas, from language and literacy to numbers and maths.
Sensory bottles are also a fabulous tool for self regulation for kids of all ages, and adults too. Sensory bottles are a great calm down tool, helping kids learn to self regulate and focus. Watching items swirling around the bottle is calming and gives kids something to focus on. Encouraging kids to take slow deep breaths until the items in the bottle settle is a great calm down activity.
How to Make a DIY Sensory Bottle
Making a sensory bottle can be as quick and easy, or as fancy and complex as you like, it’s up to you!
To make a basic sensory bottle all you need is a clean plastic bottle with a lid, some super glue to attach the lid, and something interesting to put inside the bottle. It is as simple as filling the bottle, gluing on the lid and you are ready to play.
The Best Bottles for a DIY Sensory Bottles
The best bottle to use for a DIY sensory bottle will depend what you want to put in it and how you want to use it. If you are making a heavy sensory bottle, stick with a small bottle so it is not too heavy to lift. If you are planning to roll it across the floor for your baby to crawl after, a larger PET soft drink (pop) bottle is perfect.
Voss water bottles are a great option as they have a flat, clear surface so it’s easy to see what is inside, and they can stand on either end. They also have a nice wide opening so you can put in larger objects. You can also buy a similar set of empty bottles if you don’t want the water.
For a smaller sensory bottle, these little juice bottles are a great size.
But the best bottle to make a sensory bottle out of is the one you have! You don’t need a fancy bottle, just grab whatever clear bottle is in the recycling, wash and dry it, and give it a go!
If you are using a bottle with a narrow opening a funnel is handy for getting everything into the bottle easily.
What to Fill Your Sensory Bottle With.
You can fill your sensory bottle with almost anything!
Keep is simple and just add rice, or sequins, or buttons and nothing else. Or make it fancy and experiment with liquids and different densities, or fill it with tiny themed items.
Get your kids involved in choosing what goes into your sensory bottle, and have fun experimenting and trying new things.
You don’t have to use liquids in your sensory bottle, but experimenting with different viscosity, combining liquids, or having items float or swirl in the liquid is super fun.
Here are some ideas for liquids to use in a sensory bottle:
- water coloured with food dye or liquid water colours.
- mineral oil or baby oil for clear oil
- cooking oil – whish has a slight colour
- clear glue
- glucose syrup or clear corn syrup
- liquid soap or shampoo – clear
- hair gel
When it comes to adding other items to a sensory bottle, you are only restricted by what you can fit into the top of the bottle, and your imagination!
Here are some ideas for items to add to a sensory bottle.
- rice – coloured or plain
- pasta – coloured or plain
- plastic gems
- beads – pony beads, perler beads, seed beads, alphabet beads.
- googly eyes
- pom poms
- water beads
- shredded paper
- mini animals or figurines
- aquarium gravel
- tumbled glass chips
- natural materials – shells, gumnuts, pebbles
Sensory Bottle Ideas
If you are looking for some sensory bottle ideas and inspiration, this list has lots of options. From quick and easy, to super cool and fancy, there is a sensory bottle idea on this list to suit all ages and interests.
- Sunken Treasure Sensory Bottles from Fun a Day
- Spooky Spider Halloween Sensory Bottle from Messy Little Monster
- Rainbow Sky Sensory Bottle from Kids’ Craft Room.
- Alphabet Sensory Bottle from the ABCs of Literacy.
- Color Mixing Sensory Bottle from The Chaos and the Clutter.
- Starry Night Sensory Bottle from The Craft At Home Family.
- Simple Calm Down Sensory Jar from The OT Toolbox.
- Simple Lego Sensory Bottle from Fun a Day
- Slow Motion Calm Down Sensory Bottle from Childhood 101
- Easter I Spy Sensory Jar from Natural Beach Living.
- Autumn/Fall Sensory Bottle with natural materials from Kids’ Craft Room.
- Hearts Sensory Bottle from Living Montessori Now.
- Winter Snowflake Sensory Bottle from Homeschool Preschool.
- Earth Day Sensory Bottle from Natural Beach Living.
- Dinosaur Glow in the Dark Sensory Bottle from Childhood 101
- Magnetic Sensory Bottles from The Best Ideas for Kids.
- Light Saber Sensory Bottles from Little Bins for Little Hands
- Seasons Sensory Bottles from Mama Papa Bubba.
- Monster Sensory Bottle from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
- Glittery Calm Down Bottles from Gift of Curiosity.
- Rainbow Water Beads Sensory Bottle from Mom Brite.
- Jack-o-lantern Sensory Bottle from Teach Me Mommy.
- Easy Glow in the Dark Sensory Bottle with water beads from Childhood 101
- Name Sensory Bottle from Preschool Inspirations
- Halloween Sensory Bottles from A Pocket Full of Preschool.
- Christmas Glitter Jars from Little Bins for Little Hands.
- Christmas Sensory Bottles with three options from Fireflies and Mudpies.
- Acorn Sensory Bottle from Inspiration Laboratories.
- Glowing ABC I Spy Sensory Bottle from Where Imagination Grows.
- Snowmen in a Snow Storm Sensory Bottle from Modern Preschool.
- Lava Lamp Sensory Bottle from Finding Myself Young.
- Christmas Sounds Sensory Bottle from Laughing Kids Learn.
- Scented Rainstick Sensory Bottle from Childhood 101
- Summer Sensory Bottles with five options from The Educator’s Spin on It.
- Butterfly Sensory Bottle from Rhythms of Play
- St Patrick’s Day Sensory Bottle from The ABCs of Literacy.
- Mini Rainbow Sensory Bottles from The Kavanaugh Report
- Minion Sensory Bottle from Little Bins for Little Hands.
- Glittery Ocean Sensory Bottle from Simple Everyday Mom.
- Galaxy Calming Jar from Natural Beach Living.
More Easy Sensory Play Ideas
If your kids love sensory play, try one of these easy sensory play ideas, or check out one of these simple sensory play ideas below: