Playing with sensory bottles can be a fun activity for kids of all ages. These bottles can stimulate their senses and help them improve their learning abilities. Most importantly, the effects that these bottles create can be very soothing and calming for kids suffering from Autism or ADHD.
I always considered Sensory bottles as sensory visual items until I came to know they’ve some real purposes too. When I made these sensory jars for the very first time, I never expected that my little ones would take that much interest.
Also, I’ve observed that when my kids are looking at them, they become somewhat unaware of anything else. At that very moment, they look so calm and focused that it makes me pleasantly surprised.
It is quite an easy task to make a sensory bottle at home. You can always make one which you know your kid will surely love. I mostly make slow-motion sensory jars since my toddlers love those. However, recently I started experimenting with other different types of sensory bottles one can make. You can also involve your kids in this activity.
Before getting into “how to make sensory bottles,” let’s have a look at the purpose, benefits, and different types of these sensory bottles.
What are sensory bottles good for?
As I mentioned earlier that I always considered them a visual sensory tool, but when I looked for their purposes, they were more than merely a sensory toy. They had some real purposes too.
- These bottles are called calm-down bottles for a reason. They are a great aid in calming down an overstimulated child or stimulating a sluggish child. I’ve tried them in both ways, and it worked fine every time.
- They can be helpful for preschoolers as they can enhance their learning skills and help them in alphabet recognition.
- These bottles can be a relief for moms as well. Since playing with a sensory bottle is a noise-free and mess-free fun activity that can engage toddlers and kids even for hours.
- Kids like slow-motion sensory jars more because they love to keep flipping them to observe the moving items. Also, it can help your kid get a grasp of the basic sink/float concept.
- They leave a crazy soothing effect on kids. The kids lay back and relax and observe what is happening in the bottle. It calms their minds and provides them a much-needed screen-free mental break.
Basic supplies needed to make a sensory bottle
Making these jars at home is quite an easy task. They almost cost me nothing as we have most of the ingredients at home. You can also purchase one or two just for the kids to like them.
To make a basic sensory bottle, you’ll need
- A plastic bottle
- Food color
However, you can add as many fillers as you want.
To make a sensory bottle, any bottle or container is fine as long as it is transparent and has a cap. You can use baby oil or vegetable oil. You can skip oil altogether and replace it with clear glue, corn syrup, liquid hand wash, or hand sanitizer.
Fillers offer even more freedom and creativity. You can add seashells, marbles, water beads, plastic letters and numbers, plastic animals, gems, or any item of your choice. Last but not least is glitter. Add plenty of it, and you are good to go.
Instead of liquids, you can fill the bottle with dry ingredients too. Take some sand or rice in a container and hide blocks or alphabets in them. You can dye rice with different colors for a brighter effect.
Different types of sensory bottles you can make yourself
Sensory jars are fun to make. Make sure that you’re using quality products to make them last longer. There are thousands of ideas to rock on. Pick those who are more feasible to you.
1. Slow Motion Sensory Bottles
These sensory bottles are my personal favorite. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that they are the best of all. These calm-down bottles can make a great option if your kid has ADHD. These bottles will help slow down their extra fast minds.
However, making a slow-motion sensory bottle the right way might be a bit tricky task if you’re a first-timer. I know because I have been through the same. Sometimes, the fillers used to fall too quickly, or sometimes too slow.
To formulate the perfect recipe, I experimented a lot and finally came up with a balanced one.
So just follow my below-given blueprint to make the best slow-motion sensory bottles for your kids!
Things you’ll need
To make slow motion sensory bottle, you’ll need
- A plastic bottle
- Hair gel
- Warm water
- Fillers of kids’ choice
- Super glow
- Combine warm water and hair gel in a bowl. The ratio should be one part of gel to 6 parts of water.
- Allow it to cool down, and then shift the mixture to the bottle. Use fennel for a neat process.
- Fill the bottle partially. Now, it’s time to add fillers. You can add Lego blocks, plastic alphabets, or mini toys.
- If you don’t want to add some big objects, try adding glitter, stars, sequins, or beads. You’ll be amazed to see the results along with your kid.
- Pour the remaining mixture into the bottle and shake it.
- See if you’re fine with the consistency. If it feels too runny, add some gel. Alternatively, add water if the liquid moves too slowly.
- Now the most important thing; seal the bottle cap with glue and keep it where kids could find it easily.
2. Ocean Sensory Bottles
My kids are huge fans of these bottles. To convince them to get back so that we may return to home, I always tell them, “let’s go home so that I may make you an ocean of your own with the seashells you have collected.” I’m talking about the jar-enclosed ocean here, everyone’s favorite, Ocean sensory bottles!
Below I have shared my method of making the ocean sensory bottles.
Things you’ll need
To make an ocean sensory bottle, you’ll require;
- A plastic bottle
- Baby oil
- Blue food color
- Seashells or some fish toys
- Fill half of the bottle with water.
- Add some color to the water and mix it. You won’t want the color to be too strong as kids will not be able to see anything. Just a drop of the color would be enough. However, you can add a drop more to get your desired shade.
- Now add seashells or ocean toys you have. You can add fish toys as well to make it a mini aquarium.
- Add baby oil to fill the bottle to the top. Secure the lid with glue.
- Shake the bottle well. It would be fun for kids to see bubbles and waves in it.
Fun fact: It turns into a fun science experiment as oil is denser than water, so the color added to the water will not get into the oil. Thus, it creates a realistic “ocean effect.”
3. Water Beads Sensory Bottle
This one is the easiest to make. Water beads are used in it. Again, they are a big hit among kids. They are incredibly satisfying and provide an addictive sensory experience.
Though kids love to play with these, but to be honest, it can get pretty messy and difficult to tackle. So, you can put them into a lid-enclosed bottle for a mess-free sensory experience.
Things you’ll need
- A plastic bottle
- Clear glycerin or glue
- Water beads
- Fill ¾ of the bottle with clear glycerin and the rest with water.
- Give it a good stir and add beads.
- They take some time to expand in water. But watching them grow is a fun part in itself.
- If you add presoaked beans, it could be a challenge to transfer them into the bottle. For the best experience, add them directly to the water without soaking. Don’t add a lot of them as they will expand.
Making Sensory Bottles: A Fun Activity for Kids
While making the sensory bottle, try engaging your child depending on the age. Younger kids will need your help, while older kids would like to make it all by themselves.
Try to make the bottles as per their liking. If they like animals, add some animal toys. If they like ocean and sea life, add fish, tortoises, and seashells. If they love dinosaurs, add a few of them. The possibilities are endless; you can go as creative as you want.
Tips and Precautions
I have made sensory bottles multiple times and also have suffered from many disasters and not-so-good upshots. It takes time to perfect yourself, especially if you’re not into DIYs.
Since now I’ve made sensory jars multiple times, I’ve got a kind of good hand on it. However, there are a lot of things I learned in the process, which I think would have benefitted me if someone had told me beforehand.
Below discussed are those tips I wish I knew earlier.
Add Colors Cautiously
Start by adding a few drops of it and add more only if you feel. Sometimes a single drop is enough. If you add color too much, it will become darker, and kids won’t be able to see anything, and your whole effort will lose its purpose.
Don’t forget to seal the cap with glue to save it from your little one’s curious tiny hands, even if you think that your toddler won’t be able to open it. Believe me; it’s a straight disaster.
Also, don’t seal before testing. Make sure the consistency is just right, and you don’t feel like adding more stuff. Gluing or taping the cap makes sure that kids and parents enjoy a mess-free activity.
Choose bottles with wide tops as it will be easier to pour water and other items. I’ve found that bottles with wide tops give a sleek look and can be also be kept upside down.
Best Sensory Bottles You Can Buy Online
Not in the mood to make one? No worries. Below I have enlisted a few amazing sensory bottles you can buy online.
1. JRLAJRL’s Sensory Bottles
This liquid motion bubble timer comes in a pack of three. The oil droplets in the jar create two different colors. It can be quite a soothing toy and a great option for kids with Autism, anxiety disorders, and ADHD.
The product won the hearts of customers. They praised the quality of jars as they were durable and made from quality material. They also found it helpful to kill boredom and relieve stress among kids and adults alike. However, a few of them complained of the timer not being accurate or leakage of the product. But, overall, it was a reasonable product as numerous buyers gave five-star ratings.
2. Lemostaar’s Sensory Bottles
These bottles, too, come in a pack of three and are an incredible stress reliever. They are available in different eye-catching bright colors. Every pack has a wide jar with a whirling wheel in it, and the falling droplets make that wheel spin as soon as you flip it over. Also, these bottles are packed reasonably, making it an option to consider as a birthday present for someone.
Since the daily grind makes most of us down and stressed, these bottles can prove themselves to help a lot. So, not just kids, as adults you might like them just the same.
Those who bought these bottles were pretty happy with the liquid bubble timer. They loved the products due to their durability and beauty. The proper packaging is yet another prominent part, as it holds the product in a secure manner and prevents it from breakage. The customers were pleased with the price and quality and were willing to buy again.
3. Hand2mind Sensory Fidget Tubes
These sensory fidget tubes come in a set of four, unlike the others on my list; a glitter tube, a fidget tube, a reverse hourglass, and a gravity spinner. These tubes leave therapeutic effects and are suitable for children with stress and anxiety disorders. Being slim and sleek, these tubes are fairly easy to grip.
The tubes, generally, offered a fine user experience. Being colorful and captivating, they were the favorite of kids and parents alike. Users were happy to get such great stuff at an astonishingly low price. However, a few of them reported either not getting the right product or getting a defective one. Apart from that, the customers loved buying them due to the variations the fidget tubes had to offer.
4. YoYa Toys Liquimo Penguin
This penguin-themed timer can make a great home, office, and kitchen décor. In fact, this fun science gadget can be a sure twist to any boring place. It contains two cute penguins floating there with no qualms about the outside world.
It comes in an hourglass shape where the liquid goes from one section to the other. It is pretty much the shape of the ancient sand timer with a modern touch. The dripping of the liquid is just right, not too fast or not too slow. Any penguin lover would love to have it as a gift.
It comes in a diamond shape which gives the effect of a “double bubble.” Also, it seems durable and leak-proof. The material is of good quality, and the edges of the diamond are seamless. No doubt that your kids are going to love it!
Customers found them pretty helpful in calming a child for a more extended period. Since it is made from strong plastic, it didn’t crack even after several falls – the customers reported. It looks small, but the recommended age for usage is 5. Most of the customers, who bought the product, left five-star ratings!
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Sensory Bottles
Q. What is the purpose of a sensory bottle?
Answer: Sensory bottle or any form of sensory play ensures that a child is active and engaging their maximum senses. It is vital for their developing brains as it creates connections between their brain and body and helps them with their cognitive abilities, language acquisition, memory, and problem-solving skills.
Q. What liquid goes in sensory bottles?
Answer: You can opt for anything from a large variety of options; shower gel, hand sanitizer, liquid hand wash, oil, glue, and glycerin. To make running smooth consistency, however, don’t forget to add water.
Q. How do sensory bottles help kids with Autism?
Answer: Sensory bottles are used to calm children with Autism and to help regulate their emotions.
Since these kids face difficulty in processing their sensory experiences, therefore they feel overwhelmed at times due to not being able to process the information they receive from their surroundings. In such conditions, these bottles help them relax their minds.
Q. What bottles should you use for sensory bottles?
Answer: You can use any plastic bottle to make a sensory bottle. Look for tough plastic such that it could survive a few falls. Also, go for the bottles that have wide tops, just so you can transfer the material into them without any hassle.
Lastly, don’t forget to check if the lid is firm or not. You wouldn’t want your child to spill all of it in first use.
Q. Which is the best sensory bottle?
Well, it all depends on personal preference and also what your kid would like. In my opinion, “Slow motion sensory bottles” are the best of all.
It doesn’t matter whether you make a jar at home or buy one from the market, just make sure to provide enough sensory play to your child since it is vital to nourish their mind and skills.
Although making sensory bottles might seem a super easy task, but when things get real, you might struggle with balancing the consistency of the liquid or preventing the fogginess. To help you guys out, I have discussed how to make sensory bottles in detail in this article, along with the tips and precautions you must keep in mind beforehand.
Lastly, if you’re not a DIY person, unlike me, the option of buying some creatively manufactured sensory bottles or similar toys can make a handy option for you.