Sensory bottles (or calming bottles) seem to be all the rage now, so I had to try my hand at making some. They are great for distracting kids during a meltdown or stressful time as it gives them something else to focus on. Kids can help you make them or you can make them yourself. There are so many variations in the ways they can be made that the possibilities are endless!
I made smaller versions for my first attempt and I think these will be great for throwing in purse or book bag to take with you. I read that some people like to use the bigger VOSS water bottles. I found some clear plastic travel size bottles at Walmart – 7 approximately 3 oz. bottles in a package. They have 4 different colored lids which could be great for keeping track of which bottle belongs to which kid. 😉
Bottles can be filled with liquid (clear glue, hair gel, baby oil, etc) for allowing items to float around or they can be filled with dry ingredients like poly pellets, white rice, sand, etc for searching for hidden items. If you’ve never used poly pellets before, here’s what they look like:
I started off making 2 Alphabet Bottles. Using the poly pellets and letter beads, I sorted out letters to include the entire alphabet in one bottle. Very young children can have fun just turning the bottle over and watching the pretty colors show up, while it can also help preschool kids learn their letters by looking for each letter in the alphabet.
I found using a funnel the best way to get the poly pellets into the bottle. You’ll want to make sure you glue the lid shut (these bottles have flip up tops) and glue the lid to the bottle, so little ones can’t get the tiny pieces into their mouths. I used a hot glue gun to glue mine shut. Leave a little empty space at the top of the bottle so there is room for movement inside.
Next I made a Beach Adventure Bottle. I had tiny seashells saved from a Florida vacation as well as some clean sand that I combined with a bit of blue glitter. I put in 2 of each color/type of seashell I had. This would be a great way to use some of the shells kids love finding on the beach during vacation and they would have a special reminder of that fun time.
I had a bag of all kinds of sequins so those went into the next 2 bottles along with poly pellets. Shall we call them Sequin Search bottles?
I found 2 of each sequin I wanted to include in order for the 2 bottles to be identical. My idea is for 2 kids to play together while finding the matching items in their bottles.
I also took a picture of the items so I can print it out (and maybe even laminate one) so the kids can see what all they need to find inside.
For bottles 6 and 7, I wanted to try using a liquid in the bottle but discovered that is a little bit trickier. Different items weigh different amounts and different liquids have a different viscosity. So after a bit of trial and error, I created the Sparkle Alphabet Bottle. I used a little of Elmer’s purple Glitter Glue and some clear liquid school glue. I have realized now…after I already glued the lid on…that I should have added a little bit of hot water to thin it down. The letters move a little too slowly in this bottle. So a word of caution, let your bottle sit for a bit, then go back and check later to see if it’s the way you want it to be BEFORE you glue the lid on! LOL (Live and learn, right?) At any rate, it looks cool and can still be entertaining. Perhaps use it as a game of trying to make word out of the letters you see.
Last but not least, I made a Ring Catch bottle. For this one I used the little colored rubber bands, baby oil and a wooden golf tee. I glued the golf tee to the inside of the lid, added the rubber bands and baby oil. The idea of this bottle is to try to catch as many rings on the golf tee as you can. Or maybe try to catch a certain color…or only one…or maybe two…you get the idea. 😉 Turn the bottle over after each try to start again or to let another person try their hand at it.
It was a fun project for me on a day that I needed to stay inside out of the yucky winter weather. I hope you enjoy these ideas and have fun trying to make some of your own!