Sicily loves stealing…yes stealing…our water bottles. Watching her play with one that she stole from her “buddy” (soon to be step dad), I started remembering back when I taught preschool. I used water bottles to make sensory bottles for my students. I used them in two places: the

science center and the calm down area.

Sensory bottles are great science experiments for all ages. Sicily is only 10 months old, so at this age, the science is just exploring with her senses, especially sight and sound. As she gets older I will create more for science skills such as sink/float, density (oil, soap, water), and magnets. When she is a bit older sensory bottles are good for I Spy games. You can fill it with letter beads or special toys and have your little one spy a certain letter or toy.

I also used sensory bottles in the calm down area because watching the stuff move around in the bottle is very calming. I especially like sensory bottles with glitter. I find these the most calming for me 🙂

Related: The Toddler Experience: A Hands-On Toddler Curriculum

Sensory bottles are so easy to make. All you need is an empty water bottle and some “stuff.” You can put anything imaginable in a sensory bottle. Some ideas are glow sticks, small toys, googly eyes, marbles, ribbon, soap, oil, sand, shells, pompoms, pipe cleaners. For some bottles, I add water. Others I just add the “stuff.” It all depends on what you want the bottle to do. For example, if I was exploring with sound I may not put water in the bottles. The water is great for the calming bottles.

Some people get all fancy and buy certain bottles that look nice. I’m all about cheap, so I used whatever bottles we had lying around. I also used duck tape to seal the top shut, so Little Miss Fingers doesn’t open the bottle.

Here are some that we made today.

I made three today. The green one has water and beads. Sicily likes when I shake this one because it makes a funny sound. The one in her hand has water and purple glitter. This one looks cool when you shake it up. It would be great for a calming bottle. I’m a bit disappointed that some of the glitter clumped though. The red one is red colored water and oil. This one looked awesome when I first did it. I put the food coloring in last, so the oil caught the coloring. There was red oil bubbles floating around, but they dissolved as the day went on.


This is Sicily trying to eat the lid off of the one I made a few days ago…hence why I put duck tape on it now 🙂 This one just has jingle bells. They don’t jingle as much as I hoped, but Sicily loves to shake it. She gets mad because she can’t shake it as loud as me.


We are concentrating very hard! I love how these bottles have many educational purposes. Sensory bottles enhance senses, fine and gross motor skills, learning colors/shapes/sizes, and self-regulating with the calm down bottles. These little things are great for babies to explore small items without having to worry about choking hazards.

[Tweet “Sensory bottles enhance senses, fine and gross motor skills, learning colors/shapes/sizes, and self-regulating with the calm down bottles.”]


Do you see the yellow bowl off to the left? That bottle was full of snackies! Sicily learned that if she stands the bottles up and knock them over onto her bowl then her snackies will fly across the kitchen (cause/effect). Sicily thought it was a fun game before she learned that the bottles roll! Her and Buddy spent 15 minutes rolling the bottles across the floor after dinner tonight!

There you have it Mama! Sensory Bottles are the ultimate DIY toy for children of all ages. Happy creating!

Your Turn:

What have you put into a sensory bottle? I would love to hear your ideas.

Happy experimenting!