sensory bottles

Sensory Bottles

I can’t even begin to tell you how many versions of these I have made over my few short years teaching preschool. These ones are the simplest and great for infants and toddlers as they go from just staring at the colors and moving pieces to begining their color recognition. I used the little water bottles that are 10 oz and at my grocery store could get 12 for 2.99. Not to shabby, I drank the water and got to re-use the bottles to make a few toys.

Beads, bobbles, and other objects to put in the bottles (I used beads and these flower vase fillers)
Food coloring

First I took the labels off of the water bottles and fill them up most of the way so that there is still some movement in the bottles.

Then add the food coloring, I made all six colors using the four colors of food coloring and then I mixed the orange and purple by using 1 drop each of red and blue for the purple and 1 drop of red and many yellow for the orange.

Next I added the clear beads and vase filler to the bottles as well as the glitter (I of course used my Martha Stewart glitter so matched the glitter to the color of the bottle). The last step is to hot glue the lids on the bottles when you are finished filling them so they can’t be open. I like to put these on window sills so the sun shines through them and casts the colors on the floor. I know Avery is too young for them now but in a few months they will at the very least be interesting to stare at and then to shake as her motor skills develop.

Another type of sensory bottle to make is oil and water ones, for these I just used colored water then poured oil on top and added some glitter and sealed off the bottle. Here is the progression from the shaken bottle to when the oil and water separate again.

Other versions include:

Ocean in a bottle- blue water and some oil, Easter grass makes great seaweed and you can either put little fish in the bottle or fish stickers on the outside.

Music bottles- when the bottles are empty, dry them out and then put marbles, beads, buttons, rhinestones, aquarium rocks, or other items that will make interesting sounds.

I spy bottles- in these you can put various items; button, marble, rock, shell and so on until you have many things and make a list of what you put inside. Then when you give it to your child they have to look for all the items on the list. To make it harder, fill with sand instead of water so you have to move the bottle around to find the items. This one would be great to have on hand at the doctors office or other places you need to wait for a period of time.

11 Responses to Sensory Bottles

  1. Brittanie March 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Cute idea!! Our kids have Ispy pillows, but a bottle would be easier to make!!

  2. Bossy Betty March 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Love this idea! One of these bottles could keep ME busy and entertained for hours!

  3. Mommy of Two March 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Very cool, I am going to have to buy food coloring and water bottles the next time I go to the store and we are so making these.

  4. Miller Racing Family March 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Wow, these are such a great idea. We will have to make these as we are always looking for ways to help teach Trey about his colors. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  5. Chatty Crone March 13, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    These bottles with different things - sensory and all - we used to use a lot of them. Believe it or not - they can teach kids a lot of things. Very interesting.

    And your body will spring back - it took nine months to get this way and it will take a few months to get it back.

    No worries.

  6. Lauren September 1, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    I can’t believe someone else in the blogging world has a post about sensory bottles! We MUST be preschool teachers! ?

  7. Sarah September 4, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    GREAT idea! I’m doing this for our preschool this week. Thank you for the idea!

  8. Fun On a Dime Lady September 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    I’m going to try out the oil and water versions. We’ve made plenty of music ones, but I forgot about oil and water!

    Thanks for the tips!

  9. Angelyn&Camilo March 4, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    I work at a daycare with 18mo - 24mo kids, and I’m always looking for new activities that are age appropriate, educational, and entertaining. Not always an easy task, but these sensory bottles are the PERFECT idea! I’m sure my kids will by memorized by the bright colors, and glitters, and I’ll have a new color naming game to play with them. I saw your comment on The Mommmy Diaries, and started following you cause I loved your blog.


  10. Rose July 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Very cool idea. I have a bunch of drink bottles that I knew I was saving for something important. Now I know what it was!

  11. BigBearswife July 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    very Neat